London police launch big anti-knife ad campaign


Fri, May 30, 2008 - Page 7

London’s Metropolitan Police (Met) yesterday launched a hard-hitting poster campaign to combat escalating knife crime which has claimed the lives of 15 teenagers in the British capital so far this year.

Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, describing the level of knife crime as “unacceptable,” said ordinary kitchen knives were most commonly used in attacks.

He said more than 200 people had been arrested and almost 200 weapons seized in 4,000 stop-and-search operations over the past two weeks, in which arch metal detectors and handheld scanners were used to spot knife carriers.

“The most common knife involved in these deaths is a knife from the kitchen and we must have conversations about knife crime with teenagers,” Blair said as the Met unveiled its haul of weapons.

“To parents it is tough love time,” he said. “In addition to conversations about drink, drugs and relationships there are now conversations about knives.”

The Met will spend £3 million (US$6 million) over the next three years on a poster campaign showing graphic images of injuries caused by knives.

The ads, which will be run on radio, Web sites and mobile phones, will warn youngsters about the harsh physical and emotional consequences of knife crime. The campaign was developed and written by young people who have themselves been affected by knife crime.

Another series of ads aims to encourage mothers to talk about the issue with their children.

“I am in no doubt about the importance of tackling knife crime and this is even starker following recent tragic events,” Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said. “We know that many young people carry a knife because they are fearful and these adverts tell powerful stories about the dangers of going down that path.”