Knife crime battle turns to Facebook

Government PR professionals have been urged to place a greater focus on social media in order to communicate the dangers of knives to teenagers.

Granatt: social media needed
Granatt: social media needed

Former Whitehall comms chief Mike Granatt said previous Home Office tactics of knife amnesties and advertising were not the solutions to the problem. Charities also called on the Government to talk directly to young people.

The Government has been urged to step up its efforts in the war against knife crime following a week of extensive media coverage. The recent deaths of Shakilus Townsend, Ben Kinsella and David Idowu have taken the toll of teenagers who have died violently in London this year to 19.

Luther Pendragon partner Granatt said: ‘It won't make any difference having an article in the Daily Mail. They need to be speaking to them on MTV and Facebook and using the media that they use.'

The Prince's Trust also said media coverage in the nationals was only effective to a point.
Deputy comms director Rob Cope said: ‘Media coverage is used to communicate to the public who we rely on for fin­ancial support. Word of mouth from other young people who have been on our programmes is the most effective way to communicate with them.'

Crimestoppers communications manager Hannah Daws said there was a need for ‘young ambassadors to go into the community and speak to young people and talk on their wavelength'.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is planning to roll out a campaign in the autumn designed to highlight the consequences of knife crime.

Chief press officer Ed Stearns said: ‘We are going to start publicising the senten­ces young people will face if they commit a crime to get them to understand the consequences of their actions.'

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