Knife crime and gun crime

Do you think a friend is involved in knife or gun crime?

Carrying weapons is a crime, so if you think a friend is involved you should do something about it.

To them it might seem that it makes them look good or they might be doing it because it makes them feel safer, but the truth is that someone could end up getting seriously hurt or killed. If they are found with a knife or gun in their possession, they will be prosecuted.

Why are they doing it?

If you ask your friend why they're getting involved in knives or guns they are likely to give a few different reasons:

  • fear
  • to gain respect
  • protection
  • to steal
  • to intimidate or harass
  • peer pressure or being pressured into carrying it for someone else
  • defence

Whatever the real reason, it is always likely to have something to do with fear. Even if they don't admit it, a friend getting involved in weapons will be frightened and continuously looking over their shoulder. They'll be waiting for the police to stop and search them, or to be confronted by others, and in the end will be grateful for a ‘way out’.

What can you do?

  • You might think talking to your friend will make them angry or put you in a difficult position, but you should try.
  • If you don't think you can talk to your friend, you should talk to an adult you know you can trust about it.
  • If not your parents or another member of your family, then a teacher or your Safer Schools Officer. They will know what to do.
  • You can also speak to a professional in confidence. Get in touch with ChildLine for example on 0800 1111.
  • The most important thing is that you don't just let it go - the longer your friend is involved with dangerous weapons the more likely it is that someone is going to get seriously hurt.

If you think the situation is getting really bad, perhaps you feel you need to report it, even if you know your friend will get into trouble. It's better they get into trouble than get seriously injured or even killed:

Getting more help

For more information about knife and gun crime visit our ‘Get the facts’ or ‘More help and advice’ pages.

For other related topics take a look at our other sections on bullying and gangs and group violence.

Knife and gun crime