Police and Crimestoppers use distressing testimonies in knife crime campaign

Grieving mothers whose sons were stabbed to death are at the heart of an emotive campaign by the Metropolitan Police and Crimestoppers urging people to come forward with information about knife crime.

The five mothers taking part in the 'Hard calls save lives' campaign
The five mothers taking part in the 'Hard calls save lives' campaign

Five mothers have agreed to take part in the new ‘Hard calls save lives’ campaign. In a series of short films, the women relive the aftermath of the murders of their children – recounting the first calls they made after learning of the deaths of their sons.

The campaign, launched this month, aims to encourage people who do not want to deal with the police to contact crime prevention charity Crimestoppers with any information about knife crime.

Its central premise is that while picking up the phone to Crimestoppers may be difficult, it could prevent someone else from having to make a far harder call after the death of a loved one. 

The anonymity of callers when contacting Crimestoppers is one key message, while another is that no piece of information is too small, and that it could be used to help shape a wider picture to prevent crime or save someone’s life.

The campaign is backed by ads across radio, popular websites, social media and on-demand viewing.

Communities living in areas of high crime in London are being targeted, as are female relatives of those on the periphery of knife crime.

The campaign is using a mix of traditional and social media channels, along with internal comms among police staff, and collaboration with partner organisations such as charities and local authorities, as well as influencers.

James Helm, director of comms at the Metropolitan Police, said: “We have worked closely with Crimestoppers to support the efforts of five incredibly brave women who tragically lost their sons to knife crime. Their determination to prevent others from enduring the pain which they continue to face every day is inspiring. It is a targeted and powerful campaign which is driven by insights and partnerships.”

The Met is polling target areas in London to track awareness before and after the campaign, and assess reaction to the campaign and message penetration. It is also looking at whether calls and online reports to Crimestoppers have increased.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick commented: “This campaign would not have been possible without the strength and courage of these mothers, who have relived the traumatic calls they had to make in the hope that it will prevent other families suffering as they have.”

She added: “I have no doubt that these tragic accounts will resonate with Londoners, and will hopefully encourage them to pick up the phone and call Crimestoppers, anonymously, with any information they might have.”

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