A teenage girl who called police when she saw someone with a knife has been praised by officers for her brave decision.
On Monday 22 July, the 13-year-old girl was out socialising with friends in Watford when she noticed a group of teenage boys in the Harebreaks Recreation Ground.
One of them lifted up his top and the girl saw that he had a black-handled kitchen knife in his waistband.
She immediately called police and told them what she had seen, so officers attended the area straight away.
They stopped a teenage boy on Middle Way and after conducting a search, seized a knife.
The boy, aged 17 and from Watford, was arrested on suspicion of having an article with a blade or point in a public place and taken to custody. He has been released under investigation while officers continue their enquiries.
Officers located the girl near to the scene and took her home to ensure she was safe. She told them the reason she made the call was because she had recently received the #LivesNotKnives presentation at school, where she and her peers had learned how to reject knife and gang culture.
Today (Monday 29 July) the girl and her mum visited Watford police station, where they met and spoke with Watford Chief Inspector Matt Phillips.
The girl was presented with a framed certificate of achievement and a £50 gift voucher as a thank you for making the right decision.
Chief Inspector Phillips said: “It was an absolute pleasure to meet this young lady who displayed great courage when faced with a difficult situation. It’s not often an easy decision to dial 999 but she did absolutely the right thing because it enabled us to act quickly and make an arrest. I believe that her actions could potentially have saved someone’s life.
“I’m sure the public will understand that we do not want to reveal her identity as her safety is of paramount important to us, but I would like to take this opportunity to publicly say a huge thank you to her. She is a credit to her family and they should be very proud of her.
“The presentation she heard was delivered by Youth Crime PCSOs Keith Sayers and Daisy Jenkins, who work within Watford’s Community Safety Unit (CSU) based here at the police station on Shady Lane. Their positions are joint-funded by Chessbrook ESC.
“The CSU has recently completed its second Peace Week – made possible thanks to funding from Watford BID and the intu Centre – where they worked in partnership with youth violence intervention organisation The Safety Box. Throughout the week, they delivered interactive workshops and presentations to students at two secondary schools, as well as their teachers, their families and the wider community.
“It’s so heartening to see that my team’s intensive preventative work is having a truly positive impact. We are committed to building relationships with young people to ensure they know we are here to help them. Our message to young people is loud and clear: you have a choice. Please don’t carry a knife. It is against the law and leaves you more vulnerable to being involved in violence. Make the right decision.”
If you have a reason to believe someone you know is carrying a knife, don’t approach them and instead talk to someone you trust.
You can report information to police at herts.police.uk/report, speak to an operator in our Force Communications Room via online web chat here or call our non-emergency number 101. If you believe a crime is in progress, or someone is in immediate danger, always dial 999.
You can report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org