Wirral Council has teamed up with Merseyside Police and its partners to launch #BladeFree: a new campaign to tackle knife crime and make communities safer for the future.

Last year alone, four people lost their lives in Merseyside due to knife crime - something which has devastated the lives of so many families and friends.

Working with council partners at Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, and St Helens - alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner, North West Ambulance Service, Crimestoppers and the National Health Service - the campaign is designed to help young people steer clear of knife crime and violent crime by providing support and opportunity.

#BladeFree will work by promoting activities and initiatives such as sport, music, and theatre, to build confidence and aspiration and improve practical skills and employability for young people.

Cllr Tom Usher, Wirral Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “It’s so important to see groups across Merseyside working together to combat knife crime and protect young people, families and communities.

"The issue must be treated with urgency and with the resources it deserves.

“Youth services across Wirral do some incredible work - providing opportunity, inspiration and support.

"The #BladeFree campaign will highlight the wide range of activities available across all sectors, empowering young people further and offering hope for the future.”

Research has shown many of those involved in or at risk of being drawn into knife crime suffer from a lack of aspiration and belonging, often as a result of living in areas with few or no opportunities for young people.

Through #BladeFree, young people will be directed towards a range of local clubs and activities accessible across Merseyside, which will give them hope, aspiration and opportunity, and most importantly the knowledge and confidence to make the right decisions in the future.

This will be the first campaign for "Our Merseyside" which is a regional initiative to encourage people (young or old) and organisations to work together to bring pride and opportunity to Merseyside and help keep our people and our streets safe.

Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Using a knife as a weapon ruins lives and has a devastating impact on families.

"Sadly, we have seen too many times here in Merseyside the tragedy that can unfold when a knife is used to kill or injure. Just carrying a bladed weapon is an offence.

“We know people across Merseyside want to take action to prevent the use of blades of all kinds and #BladeFree will help us to join forces across all communities and age groups.

"I would ask everyone to use the hashtag, join the campaign, pledge your support, share its messages and play your part in making Merseyside a safer place for all.

“In particular, I would encourage all community, voluntary and youth groups working with young people to get involved.

"We know you are already doing great work and we want to support you to build a brighter future for young people free from blades and the widespread fear they can bring.”