TWO Dudley teens have launched their own campaign to tackle knife crime in their community.

Emerson Hanslip, who attends Dudley Sixth Form and Georgia Whitehouse, from King Edward VI College, will be running workshops called Sharpen Minds Not Knives in schools and colleges around the borough to bring the danger of knife crime home to their peers.

Their work comes amid an 85% rise in knife crime in the West Midlands since 2012.

Emerson Hanslip said: “As young people, it is absolutely vital that we tackle knife crime head on.

“In the last 12 months we have seen a number of young people fall victim to knife crime. We want to play our part to educate other young people on the risks of carrying a knife.

“With this campaign we wanted to involve those who have experienced the effects of knife crime and those who deal with the aftermath

“The pilot workshops were hard hitting and we received excellent feedback. Now we are going to continue the campaign in schools across Dudley to educate other young people on the dangers and effects of carrying a knife.”

Georgia Whitehouse said: “Knife crime takes its toll on all of us. Seeing coverage of knife attacks makes us feel even more vulnerable being in an environment where danger lurks at every corner.

“We need to take on the issue, not just with information from the police, but also the knowledge of people and victims who have real, lived experience of knife crime.”

The pair have chosen to put on these talks in their spare time after a number of frightening knife incidents in Dudley and the West Midlands.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson added: “Emerson and Georgia are doing outstanding work in their community which I am only too happy to support. As young people themselves, they are well placed to connect with other young people.”

“They have taken the initiative to start this campaign focussing on the issues which are affecting young people at the moment and I am certain that when this is rolled out further, they will continue to be a success.”

Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner, Commander of Dudley said: “Emerson and Georgia’s leadership reflects the absolute imperative to involve and listen to young people as we focus on tackling and preventing knife crime.

“Their work supports the wider public health-based approach we are developing with partners across Dudley Borough to prevent serious violence ensuring our borough is a place of healthy, resilient, safe communities with high aspirations and the ability to shape their own future.”

The duo piloted the Sharpen Minds Not Knives workshops early this month and will roll it out around the borough.