THE Home Secretary will be asked to consider a pilot prevention programme in a bid to tackle knife crime.

The new chairman of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Katy Bourne is to seek a meeting with Priti Patel to discuss the idea.

Mrs Bourne, who sits on the National Policing Board and is also the police and crime commissioner for Sussex, hopes wider use of the programme could help quell the crisis.

She said the scheme has already seen success in Sussex and has the potential to be rolled out nationally.

She added: “I’m hoping to invite the Home Secretary down for a presentation about it.

“I’ve also spoken to the policing minister about it.”

Known as Reeboot, the early youth intervention programme was set up in Sussex using £891,000 in Government funding.

It sees police working with health professionals, charities and youth offending teams to turn children away from antisocial behaviour and encourage them to take part in constructive activities and develop interests and hobbies.

Since April more than 300 children aged 10 to 17 have been referred.

It is a five-stage project which begins with police sending a letter to parents about a child’s behaviour to act as a deterrent.

If this does not work, they are referred to a youth mentor scheme and a mental health nurse and later asked to enter into a behavioural contract with police.

Children continuing to cause problems will be referred to a youth offending team or made the subject of a civil injunction.

Mrs Bourne was less enthusiastic about the Home Office’s latest #knifefree campaign idea to print prevention messages on fried chicken takeaway boxes and she could “understand” why some people disagreed with it.

But she added: “If you take it in isolation and see it as the answer then that’s the wrong way to look at it. It’s got to be seen as part of a campaign.

“It’s not going to be the one answer for everything but it might just get under somebody’s skin and get the message home.”

Last month, The Argus revealed there was a rise from 853 recorded knife crimes in 2017 to 2018 compared with 990 in the same period of 2018 to 2019.

Police chiefs say tackling knife crime is a priority and more officers are being recruited.

Previously, Brighton and Hove’s three MPs signed a joint letter to the Home Office calling for a taskforce to tackle violent crime.