Bid to slash horrors of knife crime

Make a point: Kenny MacAskill, at the drive's launch with Jenni Baillie and Chloe Troup. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Make a point: Kenny MacAskill, at the drive's launch with Jenni Baillie and Chloe Troup. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A HARD-HITTING campaign aimed at educating young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife is being rolled out into communities across west Edinburgh.

The “No Knives Better Lives” scheme has already been credited with a reduction of up to 35 per cent in knife-carrying where it has been introduced.

Now the campaign, which has already operated in north Edinburgh as well as Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, will be trialled in the west of the city after Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said he was doubling the funding of the scheme yesterday.

Initiatives include targeted advertising in areas where young people are known to congregate, “diversionary” activities and work in schools.

Mr MacAskill said: “There is a culture of knife crime in parts of Scotland which stretches back decades and communities continue to be blighted by the scourge of knives. We want to do everything we can to educate the next generation of young Scots and stop them going down the wrong path.

“The key to tackling knife crime is a combination of tough enforcement, backed by early intervention and education.”

He added: “The No Knives Better Lives education campaign has been a real success during a pilot in Inverclyde, with significant drops in the number of people carrying knives in the area.”

Last year, the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime found that almost a third of teenagers in Edinburgh claimed to have walked the city’s streets carrying a knife.

Funding for the campaign in west Edinburgh was welcomed by community safety leader Councillor Paul Edie, who said: “We fully support the No Knives Better Lives campaign, which deals with the terrible consequences of knife crime.

“In west Edinburgh, we have a proven track record of engaging with young people through diversionary activities and this programme allows our young people to focus on positive choices, not crime.”

Superintendent David Carradice, of Lothian and Borders Police, said: “The No Knives Better Lives campaign is a welcome addition to the existing work in west Edinburgh aimed at tackling violent crime. We are confident that the initiative will go a long way to helping young people make the right choices when it comes to knife crime and choosing not to carry a knife.

“Knife crime affects everyone and for too long has adversely affected communities across Scotland.

“It simply will not be tolerated on our streets and residents should be reassured that we will be unrelenting on this issue.”

gedwards@edinburghnews.com