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New London billboards unveiled as part of national campaign to unite communities against knife crime

New London billboards unveiled as part of national campaign to unite communities against knife crime

HOME OFFICE News Release (208/2008) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 28 November 2008

The next phase in a new billboard campaign in London featuring young people standing together against knife crime was unveiled today by Home Office Minister Meg Hillier on a visit to Southwark.

The new interactive campaign will run throughout the next three months in urban and residential areas across England and Wales, including the ten areas involved in the Tackling Knives Action Programme. Young people are being encouraged to show their support by adding their own anti-knife photo pledges to the Bebo website. Their images have been included on the latest versions of the posters in the series.

Home Office Minister Meg Hillier said:

"We are all determined to tackle knife crime and I am personally committed to encouraging communities in London to stand united with us in the fight against knives.

"These posters, in London and across the country, send a clear message that people don't want weapons on their streets. There is an intensive programme of work taking place to tackle knife crime but we can't make a difference on our own.

"We need the help of local communities to spread the message that carrying a knife is not acceptable."

The new billboards are the latest step in the Government's £3 million national marketing campaign, "It Doesn't Have to Happen", which was launched in May this year.

The campaign created by young people and aimed at young people, has used radio and viral adverts to reach its target audience and direct them to a dedicated page on the Bebo social networking site. On the site young people can come together in the fight against knife crime.

Aron Jervis, a 21-year-old from London and one of the young people who helped develop the campaign said:

"I went to a creative youth summit back in May to come up with ideas for the campaign to stop knife crime. I wrote a radio script for the campaign and recorded it and it was aired on various radio stations including Choice and Kiss FM.

"I think it is really important that young people come together to find solutions to stop knife crime and these new posters will help give them a vote."

Over 60,000 young people have visited the "It Doesn't Have to Happen" page on Bebo and the site has over 6,000 friends. So far 9.6 million young people have seen the adverts on websites and 2.8 million people have heard the radio adverts.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. More details about the anti-knife crime campaign can be found at: http://www.bebo.com/itdoesnthavetohappen

2. The ten areas taking part in the Tackling Knives Action Programme are London, Essex, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Merseyside, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, Nottinghamshire, South Wales and Thames Valley. The Programme, which will run until March 2009, is delivering tough enforcement combined with education, prevention work and information campaigns designed to keep youngsters on the right track.

3. For PDFs of the billboards, please contact the Home Office Press Office Newsdesk on 0207 035 3535.

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