On the face of it, it seems like a good idea; the Government has recently launched an advertising campaign aimed at turning young people away from knife crime.
The campaign includes trendy displays, online adverts and TV commercials with the slogan: “Carry a Knife and Lose Your Life”. Very clever.
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. This campaign targets the small minority who break the law.”
Sounds good. Except we already know it’s a minority who carry knifes. Oh, and paying an ad agency and splashing out taxpayers money to develop a campaign to encourage thugs to leave their knives at home where they belong in the kitchen drawer seems a bit questionable. Particularly when we already pay the police to do just that.
This becomes even more apparent when you read what the brains behind this campaign had to say. Alistair Graham, a creative partner at Ogilvy, who created an anti-knife-crime ad for MTV, says: “For some people, carrying a knife is a way of life, so campaigns have to sneak up on you.”
No, what these knife-carrying neds need creeping up on them is not some trendy advertising campaign, but rather a big, burly policeman with an equally big burly truncheon in his hand.
You see, I doubt very much if the kind of slug who carries a knife as “a way of life” is going to pay much attention to an advert – assuming that he can actually read, of course. Does the Home Office really think that some bayonet wielding mugger is going to look at the clever-clever advert, say “You, know, I never thought of it that way before!” and drop his favourite blade into the bin?
Honestly, these civil servants must be having a laugh. At our expense.
What we, the public who are paying for this, want is to see is the thugs who would carry a knife – other than for pencil-sharpening duties – off the streets and locked up in a secure place where they are nervous about dropping the soap in the communal shower block. And for that, what we need is a police force who go out there and find them, then drag them off screaming to a damp cell.
Expensive, trendy advertising is the last thing we need. What we need is a Government and a police force that doesn’t mess around, and simply get the job done. All right?