PUPILS at a Southampton school have joined the battle against knife crime by producing a hard-hitting rap video.

Filmed by Year 10 students at St George Catholic College, the video aims to deter youngsters from arming themselves with a bladed weapon when they go out.

It warns that people carrying a knife “for protection” are more likely to be stabbed themselves - and also run the risk of being prosecuted.

One of the characters portrayed in the video is shown being handcuffed and led away by a police officer after ignoring warnings issued by fellow teenagers.

The film - NeverChooseKnives - is part of Southampton’s contribution to a national anti-knife crime campaign which starts today.

Police forces across the UK will increase the number of stop and search operations as well as staging test purchases to identify shops which sell knives to people too young to buy them legally.

Hampshire, in common with other counties, has seen an increase in knife crime.

In 2018 more than 300 children and young people under the age of 25 were caught carrying bladed articles.

Over the past three years Hampshire Constabulary has seen a year on year increase in the number of offences committed by people in that age group. The figure for Southampton has risen from 42 offences in 2016-17 to 69 in 2018-19.

Earlier this year Hampshire police, in partnership with Southampton City Council and the Saints Foundation, launched a competition to find ways of tackling the issue.

Secondary schools across Southampton were encouraged to take part in a competition aimed at raising awareness of the risks of carrying knives.

The winning entry was created by five pupils at St George - Kitone, Jamie, Elizabeth, Somi and Euan.

Shot in black and white to achieve the gritty realism required, the two-and-a-half minute video uses music to help get the message across.

It was screened at the SeaCity Museum in Southampton - and received a thunderous round of applause from guests at the ceremony.

Cllr Dave Shields, cabinet member for healthier and safer city, said: “The city council is 100% behind NeverChooseKnives.

“One of our top priorities is to work with our police colleagues and others to tackle violent crime and - especially - the worrying rise in knife-related crime.”