South Yorkshire: Family of young air weapon victim help create film about the dangers

Thousands of school children across South Yorkshire are to be shown a film about the dangers of air weapons.

Marie and Kevin whos son was a victim of an air weapon incident with Chief Constable David Crompton and Deputy Crime Commisssioner Tracy Cheetham
Marie and Kevin whos son was a victim of an air weapon incident with Chief Constable David Crompton and Deputy Crime Commisssioner Tracy Cheetham

The courageous family of a Alex Cole, from Conisborough, who died when an air rifle was accidently discharged, has worked with South Yorkshire Police to create the film.

The film aims to teach people about the dangers of air weapons and is based on a real incident.

The Guns and Knives Take Lives team (GAKTL) are growing increasingly concerned about the number of incidents which they attend that are related to air weapons, and wanted to raise awareness of the dangers.

Since January 2010, there have been 756 offences where air weapons have either been carried or used across South Yorkshire.

Of those offences, 581 involved an air weapon being fired, of which 130 resulted in an injury to a person and 416 resulted in damage to property.

The film, which has been funded by the Sheffield City Council, through the Home Office Ending Gang and Youth Violence team, will form part of the presentation that the GAKTL team deliver to every secondary school across South Yorkshire.

The GAKTL initiative, which started in 2005, is ran by a small team of officers from the force’s Firearms Support Group who deliver a impactive anti-gun and knife crime presentation to every year eight year group in South Yorkshire secondary schools.

Chief Constable David Crompton said: “The work carried out by the GAKTL team is vital in helping us tackle gun and knife crime in South Yorkshire. The unique work of the team enables them to reach vast numbers of young people across the county in order to raise their awareness of the dangers and consequences of carrying weapons.”

“By being able to produce this latest film it brings home, in the saddest possible way, the consequences of carrying air weapons.”

“I admire the strength and determination of the family for being prepared to relive their harrowing experience of that incident. It enables us to reinforce to young people the dangers of air weapons and helps us in working to avoid a similar incident occurring to another family in South Yorkshire. We are very grateful to the family for their assistance in producing this film.”

Alex’s family said in a statement: “We are devastated by the tragic loss of our son. Our life completely changed on that fateful day and we continue to miss him every day. You do not expect your children to go before you and especially in these tragic circumstances.”

“Whilst it has been difficult to relive our experiences, we hope by working with South Yorkshire Police on a film to educate young people of the dangers and consequences of air weapons we can help prevent another person getting injured and a family having to go through the pain that we continue to go through on a daily basis.”

South Yorkhsire Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, thanked the family for being so corageous, adding: “I can only hope that every young person that watches this moving film thinks long and hard about the consequences before entering into any life of crime.”