Tackling knife crime: Redditch group at heart of major initiative - The Redditch Standard

Tackling knife crime: Redditch group at heart of major initiative

Redditch Editorial 25th Jun, 2021   0

A REDDITCH organisation dedicated to fighting knife crime is proving so successful it’s taking on extra coaches.

Redditch Self Defence Association helps up to 40 young people a week with free one-to-one mentoring and twice that number in group sessions.

In addition chief instructor Pete Martin visits schools across the region to address assemblies, sometimes of up to 900 children.

However he is keen to stress this doesn’t mean the town is facing a wave a knife crime.

“We have got to keep things in perspective. In our area we are not like Birmingham, we have not got such a big problem, but it’s a rising problem,” he said.

“If someone is carry a knife it’s not because they’re a drug dealer – although they might be, it’s not because they’re a robber – although they might be, it’s because in a lot of cases they are just scared.

“I call it the circle of fear. They get scared so they carry a knife, which increases the chances of someone getting stabbed, so more people carry a knife, and so it goes on.

“If there is no knife present, no one get can stabbed.”

Backed by West Mercia Police, Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire and both Redditch and Bromsgrove local authorities, Redditch Self Defence Association is currently in the middle of a major project providing positive activities for young people across the two counties.

“We’re offering free self defence or boxing classes as well as the one-to-one mentoring,” said Pete.

“And it’s not just about knife crime, it’s tackling anti-social behaviour, improving confidence and self-esteem and fighting obesity.”

Pete has been teaching self-defence since 1989 and spent lockdown achieving his Level 4 in Counselling. Earlier this year he received an ‘Unsung Hero’ award from the High Sheriff of Worcestershire.

Youngsters can be referred to him by a parent, teacher, guardian or police officer.

Classes are free and although he is backed by a number of organisations, the association relies on sponsorship to make ends meet.

“All our sponsors are on our website and we’ll take anything no matter how small – for instance £10 will pay for a one-to-one session,” said Pete.

For more information visit Redditch Self Defence Association on Facebook or visit http://redditchselfdefence.co.uk.

Pete can also be contacted on 07500 693452.

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