University of Wolverhampton student, Angely Khan, spoke exclusively to Assistant Police & Crime Commissioner Ashley Bertie about the escalating problem of knife crime on the city's streets and asked him what his team intended to do about it.
Angely originally approached the Commissioner's office for answers as part of her own investigation into the use of guns and knives; which formed part of her Investigative Journalism research in the final year of her undergraduate Multimedia Journalism degree in the Wolverhampton School of Art.
During her hour long meeting with Assistant Commisioner Bertie, he said that knife crime was a national issue which wasn't unique to the West Midlands and he felt that communities needed to be better educated on the dangers of carrying a weapon and the tragic consequences that often arose when youngsters opted to do so.
After the meeting Angely reported that the youngest Assistant Commissioner in the UK was incredibly well informed about the local picture for Wolverhampton and Birmingham. He was particularly interested in her perspective as a young person trying to improve the situation for others locally. A short video taster from Angely's interview is available below.
She said: "He was really interested in my questions and personal concerns and had compelling answers about the relevance of policing levels, educational exclusion policies and a climate of fear amongst young people around both religious hatred and racism on our streets. It's really great to have his input and guidance for my final year studies. The hour flew by really quickly but he made time to discuss things with me - He made a lot of sense."
At just 26, Assistant Commissioner Bertie is described as 'one of the brightest talents in West Midlands politics and policing' according to colleagues at West Midlands Police where he leads a Gangs & Violence Commission, all part of his passion for transparency, intelligence-led policing and fostering positive relations between the police and young people.
Senior Lecturer at the University, Jules McCarthy, said: "This is a great example of how our journalism students reach out to make a difference in the communities they represent. Angely is a determined and capable young journalist who knows how to ask the right questions of those in positions of power, so that they can help her report a situation holistically. She's certainly one to watch after graduation."
Investigative Journalism is just one digital module offered by the Multimedia Journalism course run from the University's City Campus. The course also includes multiplatform modules covering Radio, TV, Online and social media reporting skills. Anyone interested in studying at the Wolverhampton School of Art should register for the next Open Day on Saturday 15th June 2019.