This week the UK Home Office announced their latest attempt to tackle knife crime. The official Home Office Twitter account announced the release of 321,000 branded boxes destined for chicken shops across England and Wales which have #knifefree on the outside and positive stories of young people who have chosen other paths and activities over knife crime on the inner side of the boxes. MPs and the public began to share their thoughts and ideas on the recent campaign. Outlets such as Chicken Cottage, Dixy Chicken and Morley’s are some of the partners.
The campaign had been called out for being racist, crude and offensive, while others have commented that the funds and resources are misplaced and should instead be put into charities, community centers and grassroots organisations.
Diane Abbott, the Shadow Home secretary shared that the plan was “crude” and “offensive”.
Instead of investing in a public health approach to violent crime, the Home Office have opted for yet another crude, offensive and probably expensive campaign. They would do better to invest in our communities not demonise them. https://t.co/dGZBo3IypV
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) August 14, 2019
Recently appointed Home Secretary Priti Patel went as far as to defend the campaign and some would say play politics…
Shame to see @HackneyAbbott playing politics with knife crime. I will do everything in my power to stop it traumatising communities – recruiting 20k officers, empowering police to stop & search, communicating tragic consequences of carrying a knife. I will not apologise for that. https://t.co/1wsBF1IzZe
— Priti Patel MP (@patel4witham) August 14, 2019
Kelechi Okafor, Actress and Founder, of Kelechnekoff Fitness Studio raised that the MP was “…just anti-Black”.
You actually said “playing politics” when we all know you meant playing the race card. Why? Because knife crime is a political issue and you are clearly going to be on the wrong side of history with your trash heavy handed and tone deaf approach. Sad times.
— Kelechi (@kelechnekoff) August 14, 2019
Someone also pointed out this had been trialled in 2010.
The idea of warning people off knife crime by putting messages on chicken boxes is not only stupid but unoriginal. This is from 2010. Put me right off my three-piece variety meal. #knifecrime pic.twitter.com/DA9OPwZ3wl
— Rob Lyons, Esq. (@Robspiked) August 15, 2019
David Lammy Labour MP for Tottenham also shared his thoughts…
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) August 14, 2019
“I’m not interested in this background noise. It’s a useless marketing stunt. How much did this cost? This government is not interested in putting money where its mouth is. Where is the money for youth centres and youth workers? Where is the money for social care? Where is the money for educational support to stop unnecessary school exclusions? Where is the money for better childcare options for working parents? Where is the money for more community police officers that are building one-to-one trust with communities? Where is the money for training and employment initiatives? Where is the money?”
“This is woefully short-sighted and actually pretty offensive. Why chicken shops? I’d love to hear the reasoning behind this. Also I have to agree with Hirra Khan Adeogun where is the money that is needed to improve the lives of young people ? Young people – from every race – who have been let down by a lack of care. Money for CAMHS and schools is urgently needed in particular. Too many young people growing up believing that they have nothing to live and that nobody values them is the root of the rise in knife and gang-related crime. The Home Office would do better to spend a day listening to ex-gang members and realising what their lives were like before they were drawn in. No chicken box is gonna stop this issue until more is invested in young people who need support.”
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The tables have turned . . My take on the #knifefree campaign. Imagine if the campaign targeted a demographic of people with the assumption that they are ENTIRELY responsible for putting an end to prejudice. The knife free campaign targeting chicken shops is A) Creating an assumption that the footfall is more likely to be involved in knife crime B) Holding that demographic accountable for putting an end to it C) Framing this demographic as the problem. D) total waste of money . . Why didn’t the campaign target an assumed demographic that holds a large amount of institutional power structures that do not see their potential to make a difference by passing the mic and opening doors to create windows of opportunity to those who may not have direct access to that? . . #homeoffice #campaign #parody #prejudice #ad #advert #socialchange #socialimpact #fail #chickenshop #offensive #news #inthenews #foodforthought #chickenbox #perspective #perception #power #institution
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— Adnan R.Siddiqui (@AdnanRSiddiqui0) August 14, 2019
There are no actual words to describe the mess that is the chicken box #KnifeFree campaign. This government has wasted millions, millions that could have been invested into communities where poverty drives them to such lengths. How anyone can support this government is beyond me.
— Tobi Oredein (@IamTobiOredein) August 14, 2019
— Gearoid Maguire (@maguire_gearoid) August 14, 2019
I expect the coded racism but the bad maths? 45% + 45% + 45% = 135% (also how that relates to the 70% sum also baffles me)
Well there you have it folks. This campaign was made by idiots. Massive racist, well paid idiots. https://t.co/0r1oGzl1kf
— Coco Khan (@cocobyname) August 15, 2019
— Donya (@donita_applebum) August 14, 2019
— Laura Brosnan (@hyperfrank) August 14, 2019
Imagine thinking that partnering with chicken shops to tackle knife crime via packaging was the go to instead of investing in youth services and education. Our government is clapped example #957393. #knifefree
— Susuana ♡ (@Susuana_Xx) August 14, 2019
#KnifeFree chicken boxes?? Did Home Office actually pay someone our tax money to come up with this insulting and vacuous idea? If this is the best Priti Patel can come up with for tackling #knifecrime we’re well and truly screwed under this govt 😱 https://t.co/lbTKkdAhT7
— Dr Zubaida Haque (@Zubhaque) August 14, 2019
I was going to commit knife crime until I read *squints* 'Sean's true story' on a takeaway chicken box.
— ≛ (@chrishowell__) August 14, 2019
Co-founder of Amaliah amongst many other roles. Selina is passionate about empowering those around her and just trying to be a better person. She loves looking after plants and a good cuppa because motherhood and running Amaliah.com is not for the faint hearted. She is also Co-founder to Aishah and Eesa and currently a one digit mother, Alhamdulilah. You will find her in the local charity shop, garden centre or park with her kids. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at [email protected]
By Sheeza Shah