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Focused on tackling youth-related crime, Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion is funding an innovate initiative to engage young people across West Mercia.  

Using virtual reality to educate youngsters about the consequences of carrying a knife or becoming a victim of gang crime, ‘Virtual Decisions’ will be heading into classrooms and youth centres across West Mercia.  

Through the power of VR, Virtual Decisions: KNIVES and Virtual Decisions: GANGS – based on the needs of the school or centre – will give young people decisions to make as they navigate simulated real-world scenarios.  

Following the interactive session, there will be in-depth discussions and exercises helping to increase knowledge and raise awareness around the complex issues that lead to knife possession and affiliated behaviour.   

Funding the programme, this latest investment is just part of the PCC’s work to tackle the national rise in knife related crime and steer young people away from offending.  

PCC John Campion said: “I am committed to breaking the cycle of crime as I understand early intervention plays a key role in changing behaviours, which positively impacts a young person’s life and local communities. 

“We know that knife crime is a societal issue and while rates are low in West Mercia, I am not complacent. We have also seen a rise in gang-related crime, with young people too often being exploited by organised criminal gangs.  

“This investment, alongside the range of other services I support, shows my resolute commitment to have tailored measures in place to ensure intervention and prevention is at the heart of change in West Mercia.” 

Claire Downes, CEO and Founder of Virtual Decisions (formerly Round Midnight) said, “We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with West Mercia PCC and bringing Virtual Decisions to young people across the region.  

“Virtual Reality offers a unique way to explore the complexities of knife crime and gang culture in a safe and immersive environment. By putting participants directly in the shoes of someone facing difficult choices, we can encourage thoughtful discussions and help them develop positive coping mechanisms and decision-making skills. We believe these programmes have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of young people and contribute to safer communities.”