A major new campaign to teach young people about the dangers of knife crime has been launched in Glasgow.
Glasgow Community and Safety Services (GCSS) is working in partnership with the Scottish Government to deliver the No Knives, Better Lives campaign across the city.
The aim of the campaign is to make young people aware of the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife. It also incorporates youth diversionary activity, community engagement, social advertising and a structured programme in schools. No Knives, Better Lives is a multi-pronged campaign which aims to educate young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and the devastating personal consequences it can have on their future, as well as on their family and friends.
The campaign has been running in Inverclyde since June 2009 and, despite double the amount of police searches in the area, knife carrying went down 23 per cent during June 2009 to January 2010. Due to its success in Inverclyde area, the campaign is now being rolled out in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Clackmannanshire.
Starting this month No Knives, Better Lives will directly target young people in Glasgow through the launch of GCSS’ new STUFF football leagues, together with ongoing diversionary activities, including the STUFF multimedia bus and mobile basketball.
The official launch of the campaign took place on Thursday, July 22, at the new community centre in Wyndford, and young people competed in a STUFF football league on the day.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:"Far too many lives are lost and people injured though mindless acts of violence - often because of the knife culture that blights too many communities. That is why we are working to change the culture of violence in Scotland through education and tough enforcement.
"We are taking tough action on those who carry and use knives, doing more than ever before. We've seen jail terms for knife carrying increase by almost two-thirds over the past two years and we've delivered a record number of police officers – over a thousand extra - to catch offenders, with recorded crime in Scotland now at its lowest level for nearly 30 years.
"Courts have been given powers recently to impose four year sentences just for carrying a knife, and we are sending out a strong message that if you use a knife, you will be punished and you will face a lengthy prison sentence.
“But as well as tough enforcement, it's important that young people are taught about the dangers of violent behaviour and weapon carrying.. The No Knives, Better Lives campaign has had a real impact and has already led to a 23 per cent reduction in knife carrying in the pilot area of Inverclyde.
“Glasgow has long suffered from a culture of knife carrying stretching back decades and we want to change that. We are working in partnership with the council, police, schools and young people in Glasgow to create a very local No Knives Better Lives campaign that is tailored to the community, supporting the good work already being done to tackle the issue.”
Councillor Shaukat Butt, vice chair of Glasgow Community and Safety Services, said:“Violence and crime can have a devastating impact on our communities, and we need to send a clear message to those who break the law that their behaviour has no place in our society.
“Glasgow Community and Safety Services is supporting the Scottish Government by providing educational programmes in schools, together with a range of diversionary activities for children and young adults throughout the city.
“It is important that we work together to educate young people on the dangers of carrying a knife and the devastating personal consequences it can have on their future.”