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Following the success of the scheme earlier this year, Merseyside Police has “sworn in” 16 young people as Trainee Detectives.
Developed alongside Everton in the Community, the official charity of Everton Football Club, the Trainee Detectives scheme is designed to help young people make the right decisions for the future and to equip them to recognise the signs of criminal exploitation.
Funded by the force’s Project Medusa team, Everton in the Community (EitC) and Steve Morgan Foundation’s Impact Model - the week-long programme, last week, saw the ‘trainees’ given their own fictional knife-crime case to solve. Guided by trained detectives, the young people were required to interview the ‘suspects and witnesses’ over the course of the week and eventually bring the ‘suspect’ to Liverpool Crown Court.
To learn more about the impact of knife crime, the young people met with former police officer and gang expert Dean Coady and Nurse Clinician Rob Jackson - who talked about the knife crime injuries he has seen and operated on during his career.
Finally, the trainee detectives were invited to Liverpool Crown Court, where they were given an overview from a representative of witness care and an introduction to the criminal justice system and court procedures.
The programme has been designed to raise awareness of criminal exploitation and demonstrates how young people can be manipulated and exploited by those causing suffering in communities through criminality and violence.
Jimmy Belmar from Project Medusa said: “We want our young people to be informed, so they can make the right decisions and maybe choose a better path for themselves.
“The scheme has been designed to give the young people an insight into how criminals use and exploit people for their own gain. They also learn about the impact of criminality and violence and the massive effect it can have on a victim’s family, friends, the local community and health professionals.”
He added: "This is the fourth time the force has ran the scheme and we know from previous students, it gave them a better understanding of the impact of crime on families and communities and the dangers and consequences of serious violent crime on our streets.”
Sue Gregory, Director of Youth Engagement for Everton in the Community, said: "The Trainee Detective Programme is an incredibly important initiative which aims to raise awareness of criminal exploitation, as well as the dangers and consequences knife crime can have on our communities.
“Our continued relationship with Merseyside Police is allowing us to provide young people with a visible representation and insight into serious issues within our community."
This scheme is part of the on-going Project Medusa operation and aims to equip young people with the ability to make the right lifestyle choices, which keep them, their families, and their local community safe. The ultimate aim is to show young people there are other choices they can make that are within the law and without the dangers that come through becoming involved with organised crime groups.