Student Commission
on Knife Crime in London

Student Commission
on Knife Crime in London

The Student Commission on knife crime in London was a large-scale project in partnership with leading colleges, which gave young people a collective voice on this serious issue. Knife crime affects young people disproportionately and the Student Commission put young people from the most affected demographics at the heart of finding solutions.

Leaders Unlocked built this project from the ground up, based on our extensive networks within the Further Education sector. We successfully engaged seven colleges from across the capital who were: Barnet & Southgate College, Lewisham and Southwark College, London South East Colleges, New City College, Newham Sixth Form College, West Thames College and Westminster Kingsway College.

Working with the participating colleges, we recruited 30 passionate Student Commissioners and equipped them with the skills needed to research and present the views of their peers. These commissioners co-created a short film and education package, which reached a wide audience of at least 10,000 students.

“The Student Commission should be a catalyst to start something, inspiring people to not only discuss the issues but going out and doing something about it”

How it works

Recruitment: We supported the colleges with a 2-stage recruitment process to find 30 Student Commissioners. Student Commissioners were guided by Leaders Unlocked and peer mentors with lived experience of knife crime. Peer mentors were recruited through our existing networks, and those linked to the colleges.

Co-design meetings: There were four Student Commission meetings over the course of the project. These events brought together the group to share views and experiences, review college interventions, work with experts, and develop a film and education package. Throughout the project, Commissioners built their skills in research, public speaking and engaging other young people.

Short film: Working with a film production team, Commissioners took part in a creative session to build the concept for a short film. Young people involved in the project contributed their voices and experiences to highlight the influences on knife crime, misconceptions people have and solutions to end knife crime in London.

Education Package: With support from Leaders Unlocked and building on everything they have learnt; Commissioners have been delivering the education package to students in the partnering colleges. They have also been co-delivering training with over 500 college staff who will deliver the education package to 10,000 students aged 14-19.

Research and recommendations: Commissioners and staff delivered the education package to students and gathered their ideas on tackling knife crime. Based on these insights and their own experiences we co-developed viable recommendations around knife crime prevention.

Stakeholder Conference: The project culminated with a presentation to stakeholders and the press. The stakeholder presentation gave Commissioners a platform to open the eyes of those in the system who can make a difference


Young people in the 16-24 age group are at most risk of knife violence. The danger of dropping out of education or suffering from stress and anxiety are a burden that young people should not have to live with. It’s key to involve young people in tackling this issue.

Get involved

If you’re interested in getting involved with the work we do at Leaders Unlocked, please do send us a message via our contact us page. We are always keen to hear from young people who may want to take part in our projects, as well as professionals who may want to collaborate.

More than 65% of our
staff came from Leaders Unlocked projects

"There has been a real culture change at the top - this has been the biggest element. We had such a challenge as to how to engage thousands of young people in Nottingham, a massive generational gap, we spoke a different language, it was overwhelming. Leaders Unlocked has helped us to bridge that gap and now we understand each other more."