Report on weapons

Cash & Carry?
Young people, their friends and offensive weapons. 1996, 82pp. £5 (incl p&p)

This is one of our series of monographs about young people's lifestyles, compiled from data collected using the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire.

It is an introduction to the findings being made by the Unit with respect to young people carrying weapons. Data collection began in May 1995, before the level of potential violence in and around schools was highlighted by the fatal stabbing of headteacher Philip Lawrence and the Dunblane massacre.

The report, based on questionnaire responses from young people aged between 11 and 16, is divided into two parts, entitled Young people, fear, and self-protection and Making connections.

In the first part it is shown that...

A quarter of all the young people rated safety in their home neighbourhood POOR OR VERY POOR after dark.

More than a quarter of the 12-13 year olds sometimes, often, or very often FELT AFRAID OF GOING TO SCHOOL because of bullying.

When they went out, a half of the 14-15 year olds FELT AFRAID OF BEING PHYSICALLY ATTACKED sometimes, often, or very often.

Almost a third of the 14-15 year old boys sometimes CARRIED DEFENSIVE OR POTENTIALLY OFFENSIVE ITEMS for personal protection.

The second part examines the 14-15 year old group in more detail and uncovers links between carrying personal protection of the potentially offensive variety (gun, knife, etc.) and other lifestyle characteristics.

For example, it is found that people likely to carry protection are also...

* More likely to have a girlfriend or boyfriend
* More likely to smoke
* More likely to drink alcohol
* Less likely to do homework after school
* More likely to worry about various problems
* Likely to have a higher `income'
* More likely to play on arcade machines
* More likely to have experimented with illegal drugs

This research, which is continuing, is believed to be the first large-scale investigation in the UK into an uncomfortable weapon-carrying dimension within the younger strata of our society. The hope is that these data will support positive action towards creating safer environments everywhere.


Comments about SHEU

"The data from the 2018/19 survey is still in heavy use here, the physical activity related findings were pivotal in changing the relevant strategy recently to target less active groups like girls towards the end of secondary school, and I’ve three fairly hefty jobs on the to-do list that will use the data with other sources to identify target schools for mental health and physical activity projects, and another looking at community safety. I call it the gift that keeps giving and that certainly seems to be the case!"

Senior Public Health Specialist (Intelligence)

We were all very impressed with the spreadsheet and can see that an incredible amount of work has gone into creating this!

Health Improvement Specialist

I would just like to say thank you very much to Angela, yourself and all of the SHEU team for making the [survey] so successful. The survey has been well received and we are using data in new ways to help support work on local Public Health priorities.

Senior Public Health Specialist

"You and the team have the evidence to show how young people's behaviour has or hasn't changed over time." 
Tribute from a Health Education Co-ordinator to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005

Health Education Co-ordinator

"As a result of the survey we reviewed and amended PSHE schemes of work, we are currently working on a "Green Travel Plan", a morning breakfast club was established and we further developed 6th Form mentoring."

Health Education Coordinator

"I have valued greatly the work I have done with the team in Exeter, it has been a highlight of my years here." Health Promotion Specialist

Health Promotion Specialist

"Thank you very much, David, for another excellent survey.  We look forward to receiving our reports."

Healthy Schools Co-ordinator

"Over the last twenty years you have achieved much. The surveys and subsequent reports have painted the clearest picture we have of what young people are doing and what they think." Tribute from OFSTED to John Balding, presented at his retirement lunch, May 2005


Thank you for following up with schools the comments that caused concern. It is very sad to hear that some of our children have these thoughts and feelings and I am so grateful that you were able to make the schools aware of this so that they can attempt to offer some support.

This is another reason why I am so pleased that we have been able to work with you to offer this survey.

Health and Wellbeing Adviser

"This is amazing! Thank you." (school report)