Theatre Company Delivers Virtual Reality Programme to Help West Midlands Police to Reduce Knife Crime

Birmingham- based theatre company, Round Midnight Creative Arts is working with West Midlands Police to help reduce knife crime within the region.

While knife crimes have fallen by 8.5%* in the West Midlands throughout the pandemic, the region still has the second highest knife crime rate in the country behind London, according to official figures.**

As part of its Virtual_Decisions Universe, Round Midnight was commissioned by the West Midlands Police to create a new virtual reality (VR) film called Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES, following the success of its award-winning film about gang cultures. The new knives film explores the reasons why many young people carry a weapon and the consequences of this, and the film is designed so participants can choose their own path and make decisions at different stages, each having a different outcome. Once the participants have taken part in the 11-minute virtual film, they then take part in a specially designed creative workshop that explores their decisions and the consequences of their actions, allowing for an open and honest discussion.

The VR in education is currently being trialled with three schools, including Hamstead Hall Academy in Handsworth Wood, Greenwood Academy in Castle Vale and Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy in Oldbury. The three schools also provided the actors for the knives film so have been involved in the production. A second trial will take place in four schools in the Lozells and Sparkbrook areas of Birmingham before it is officially rolled out at the start of the new school term in September across the West Midlands.

Lucy Kirwan, temporary chief inspector from West Midlands Police which has funded the VR programme, commented: “It is essential that we educate youngsters on the dangers of knife crime as too many people are seeing carrying a weapon as their only option and too many lives are being lost.

“The Round Midnight team has created a really engaging way to educate young people on social issues that could have a real impact on their lives. The Virtual_Decisions Universe has proven to be impactful, and we saw through the first Virtual_Decisions: GANGS, how this way of educating children, which allows them to be the decision maker, can drive positive change.  With the new knives film, we are hoping for the same success so we can continue to reduce knife crime across the West Midlands.

Sami Cornick, development manager at Round Midnight Ltd, commented: “We have seen that using theatre and VR helps educate young people on important subjects within personal, social and health education has resulted in real change, so we are really pleased to be working with West Midlands Police on such an important issue.

“Our Virtual_Decisions: GANGS programme worked really well so we know educating children on these social issues can help them throughout their lives, show them how to make the right decisions and most importantly save lives. Also, the way this has been created means that hopefully this can be rolled out across the UK, with other police forces, neighbourhood police units, in schools and in prison services as part of rehabilitation programmes.”

Round Midnight has worked with Professor Peter Langdon from The University of Warwick who works in the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research to create the VR videos and the supporting workshop materials.

Peter commented: “Round Midnight’s Virtual_Decisions Universe is providing a real solution to help with some extremely serious social issues. Educating our children in this way shows them the repercussions of their decisions and actions and it has the potential to help save lives in the future.”

Round Midnight Ltd, is an award-winning theatre group, which has been delivering high quality education and creative arts for over 30 years and tackles important subjects within personal, social and health education for both primary and secondary schools. It has recently picked up three Digital City Awards, including VR/AR Project of the Year, Best Use of Technology and The Tech for Good Award for its Virtual_Decisions in education about gang culture.

For further information about Virtual_Decisions visit  or email [email protected]
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