Year six primary school pupils across Nottinghamshire are to be offered a new education programme addressing risky behaviours associated with knife crime, hate crime, drugs and alcohol.
Over the ten one-hour sessions, the DARE 25 programme will equip youngsters - aged 10 to 11 - with increased awareness and allow them to practice strategies to make better decisions and reduce the risk of harm.
Using a range of teaching methods from role play, video content and interactions, it will cover bullying, peer pressure and the use of social media and show young people who they can turn to for help and how to avoid violence, abuse or other harmful behaviours.
A total of £308,000 funding has been allocated to the programme over three years - allowing charity Life Skills Education to offer it to all schools for 50 per cent of its cost.
It started this September and it is hoped that as more schools sign up it could become self-sustaining in the longer term.
Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “The programme will address the aim of the Nottinghamshire Knife Crime Strategy to work even more closely with schools to ensure knife crime is addressed appropriately and reduce the likelihood of young people offending.
“We believe that if young people are given the skills to understand knife crime - the causes, the triggers and the impacts – they can think ahead in a safe, classroom environment about how they might act to avoid getting into dangerous situations.
"It means if they are ever presented with such a situation in real life they don’t jump in without thinking because they already know how to react.
“Skills like this could be extremely valuable in preventing knife crime and reducing incidents in the long-term.
“The programme will also address our hate crime prevention work in primary schools which will be a substantial step forward, especially post the Nottingham Citizens’ study last year, which found more than a third of Nottingham residents surveyed had experienced hate crime.
“Again better awareness at an earlier age can have a big impact on the rest of people’s lives.”
The DARE programme has a 25-year history of delivering drug and alcohol awareness in schools across Nottinghamshire.
The DARE 25 programme, named to reflect this anniversary year, has been specifically tailored to have a focus on knife and hate crime, whilst retaining its some of its input on drugs and alcohol.