SWINDON could go the same way as London if the authorities don’t get a handle on youth knife violence, it has been claimed.

Speaking ahead of a knife crime rally in the town next month, youth worker Aaron Webb said of knife crime involving teen gangs: ”It’s a knock on effect from these major cities. We’re five or six years behind London and we’ve got to try and nip it in the bud.

“I know in London at the moment they’re seeing more acid attacks, because they’ve moved on from knife crime.

“We don’t want to deteriorate into what London’s having. In five or six years time we might be getting these acid attacks.”

Last year, police probed an incident in Swindon town centre after two teen boys was sprayed with a pepper spray-like irritant on steps between Dixon Street and Stafford Street.

But Swindon is yet to see a problem with acid attacks.

However, the town has seen a number of recent high-profile incidents involving knives. Last Friday, a 15-year-old boy was sliced in the back of the head on Swindon Road, Stratton, in what locals described as an unprovoked attack by one group of lads on another. A member of one of the gangs was said to have been armed with a machete. No one have yet been made and police said yesterday their enquiries continue.

Now, two youth workers are pooling their talents to put on a day-long event aimed at educating youngsters and their parents about the dangers of knife crime.

Held at John Moulton Hall, Penhill, on June 17, it will see talks from a former gang member, a qualified first aider and support offered by the police, Swindon youth offending team and local youth workers.

The event is the brainchild of Aaron Webb, a youth worker with Central Swindon North Parish Council, and Voluntary Action Swindon’s Jo Roberts.

Aaron said: “We want young people to understand the consequences of knife crime and gang culture – and to understand where to go if they need help and support.”

“They need some guidance and positive role models. A lot of them aren’t aware of all these different organisations and agencies out there. Not a lot of them are aware VAS and youth clubs exist. They just think police are their only port of call.”

Jo, of VAS, added: “At the moment we are in the centre of two massive places dealing with knife crime. You’ve got Bristol and you’ve got London. We’re only five years behind that.

“We’re also trying to educate people about County Lines [the name given to city drug dealers moving in on smaller towns]. We’re on the M4, we’re on the route of a major train line.

“Fundamentally, young people need to understand the choices and consequences. They are groomed, it’s glorified in the media and through drill [rap] music.”

One of the highlights of the daytime session, aimed at school groups, will be a simulated fight. Two people armed with red marker pens and dressed in white t-shirts will try and “stab” each other. First aid trainer Stacey Wood will then explain the consequence of each and every mock wound.

“There’s a rumour among you people about where is it safe to be stabbed,” said Jo. “Fundamentally, there’s no safe place to be stabbed.”

In the evening, from 5pm to 7pm, Aaron and Jo will host a drop-in session at John Moulton Hall for parents, carers and other interested adults, to find out more about knife crime and what to do if you suspect your child might be carrying a knife.

Jo said: “If we can educate these young people, we know we can change things. It’s about having that informed approach.”

For more, contact Aaron Webb at Central Swindon North Parish Council on 01793466499 or email: youthworker@centralswindonnorth-pc.gov.uk.