VRU Commitment pledge
Students across Kent and Medway are signing up to a Commitment Pledge to help keep themselves and others safe from knife harm and violent crime.
The Pledge is a Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) and Kent Police Schools Team initiative which was developed after the VRU funded 25 school trips to The Ben Kinsella Exhibition in Barking & Dagenham.
The exhibition was set up in collaboration with Ben Kinsella’s family following his murder in 2008 to educate young people in the dangers of knife crime and to help them make positive choices to stay safe.
Young people from schools across the county have been visiting the exhibition and taking part in workshops.
If you want the VRU Commitment Pledge in your school, college or place of work, contact us and someone will be contact to make this happen.
‘The feedback we have received from students who have visited the exhibition has been excellent. We wanted to continue to promote knife harm awareness within schools following the trips and we came up with the idea for a Commitment Pledge."
VRU Director, Chief Inspector Lara Connor
The VRU Commitment pledge for schools and colleges
The Pledge states that the students promise to safely dispose of any weapon, not to use or carry weapons, to behave in a non-violent manner, to ask for help if needed, and to support their friends to act the same.
The Commitment Pledge is presented to schools in either a classroom environment or a school assembly and is normally done by the Kent Police Child Centred Policing Team with support from the VRU.
Once students understand the promises, the headteacher or staff member signs it on their behalf and it is displayed in a prominent location. Each school is also offered VRU support to run an awareness campaign later in the year, to keep the pledge high on their agenda.
By committing to the pledge, the member of public is saying:
- If we are in possession of a weapon, we will dispose of it safely
- We will never wield, or use, a weapon of any type that could cause harm to anyone
- If we feel we don't have options, we will ask for help
- If someone we know has a weapon, we will report it
- We will always strive to behave in a non-violent manner
- We will encourage and support our friends to join us in these promises
"We are extremely proud to be the first school in Kent to sign up to the Pledge, all of our students are committed to keeping both themselves and their peers safe. After our trip to Ben Kinsella, one student told me: ‘‘It made me feel very sad but the whole day opened my eyes to the dangers of knife crime and made me think about my own safety when I am out by myself and with friends”.
"So, this pledge is an important part of our school curriculum to help our pupils make informed choices, aspiring to be the best versions of themselves, taking and accepting social responsibility and contributing positively to their communities."
Headteacher, Fiona May
"Pledges work. Research shows that people who publicly pledge to do something are more likely to follow through than those who don’t".
"By committing to this pledge, young people in Kent will create a social pressure within their peer groups to make knife carrying unacceptable.
‘Young people have a critical role to play in helping us to stop knife crime, and this pledge helps to amplify their voice to influence others to stay knife free".
Patrick Green, CEO of The Ben Kinsella Trust
VRU Commitment Business pledge
We are now launching the VRU Commitment Pledge into businesses across Kent and Medway.
The Commitment Pledge is free and shows the community that your business supports local residents and wants to help keep them safe by signing this public promise:
- As a responsible business we will ensure all our knives will be displayed safely.
- Our Staff will use the ‘Check 25’ Policy when selling knives to verify the customer is aged 18 or over.
- We will not tolerate threatening abusive behaviour or openly carrying a weapon within our store.
- We will continue to work with partners and strive to make our Community a safe place to be.
If you have a business and want to be part of the pledge to help your community, please contact us and someone will be in touch with the details.