Government employs youth taskforces for second stage of anti-knife campaign

The Government is rolling out the second half of its anti-knife campaign to coincide with the Autumn school half-term.

Knife crime: new phase of campaign launch
Knife crime: new phase of campaign launch

A youth taskforce has been set up to communicate to their peers the high price of carrying knives. The group of young people, aged 15 to 20, are from communities touched by knife crime. They will spread the campaign message in areas including London, Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol.

As part of the campaign, a music video is being launched on social networking site Bebo called ‘Don't Shank Just Skank'. It features members of the taskforce and house music artists including Donaeo, DJ Luck and MC Neat spreading anti-knife messages through music and dance.

It is the second phase of the ‘It Doesn't Have to Happen' campaign, which was launched last year. The campaign is aimed to reduce the number of teenagers aged between 10 and 16 years old carrying knives.
Youth agency Uproar has been working with the Home Office on the youth element of the campaign.

It will also consist of a new set of adverts showing youngsters behind bars, which will carry the slogan ‘Carry a knife and lose your life'. The adverts will be displayed at bus stops across England and Wales.
The adverts will also run on TV and online. The first of these is based on the testimonials of real inmates at a young offenders institute serving sentences for knife offences. This advert will run on youth websites and TV music channels including Kiss, 4 Music and the Box.

Home Office minister David Hanson said: ‘The vast majority of young people are honest and law-abiding and won't tolerate violence in their neighbourhood.'
He added: ‘This campaign targets the small minority who break the law. We are sending out a clear message that people who break the law and continue to carry offensive weapons will face tough penalties.'
Since its launch in May last year millions of young people have been reached by the television, radio and online advertising and over 10,000 are friends of the ‘It doesn't have to happen' Bebo site.
‘It doesn't have to happen' supports the work of the cross-government Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP). TKAP operates across in England and Wales in the areas most affected by serious youth violence to change behaviour and attitudes among young people.

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