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Cadets launch campaign to empower Londoners to #ChooseALifeNotAKnife

News   •   May 24, 2016 06:00 BST

Met's Youth Council have created a number of posters illustrating the impact of knife crime

An online pledge by Met Police cadets aims to get thousands of Londoners to pledge their support to stop knife crime and #ChooseALifeNotAKnife.

Pledge your support to stop knife crime: 

I will not carry a knife

I will discourage my friends or family members from carrying a knife 

I will not get involved in knife crime 

I choose life

Hard hitting posters and a video highlighting the impact of knife crime, designed, shot and produced by cadets from across London were unveiled at New Scotland Yard today, Tuesday 24 May.

Fed up with seeing people their own age die from knife injuries two groups of cadets embarked on campaigns that they felt would speak to people their own age and discourage them from picking up a knife or getting involved in knife crime.

One group, the Met’s Youth Council came up with a poster campaign which they hope to get displayed in schools across London. The posters combine a powerful image and a call to action whilst subtly illustrating the impact a stabbing can have well beyond the families of the victim and the perpetrator.

As the concept began to take shape the cadets realised they wanted to go beyond creating awareness, they wanted to empower young people to show their support to stop knife crime and the on-line pledge was born.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh of the Met’s Youth Council said, “This project came about as they like many Londoners have had enough of violence. They wanted to create some energy and through informed discussion discourage people from carrying knives. Speaking to their peers and former gang members they realised that if the message came from young people, rather than the police, they would be more likely to get heard and those who carry knives might listen and take notice.”

“They designed and choreographed the photos that underpin the poster campaign and all they ask is, for every young person to start having a discussion about how we stop the needless violence and tragic deaths of young people. If this campaign stops one person from carrying a knife it will have been a success.”

In another project a group of cadets from Redbridge set out to make a video with accounts from people that have been affected by knife crime. They filmed interviews with first responders from the police and London Ambulance Service, a member of a victim’s family and an ex-offender. Afterwards they cut these in with separate sequences they shot of two young people, one a victim and the other a perpetrator, and their very different journeys.

The full video can be viewed on our YouTube channel:

The cadets story boarded and shot all the sequences themselves with equipment that was leant to them by a local school in Redbridge that also provided editing facilities and professional assistance. They plan to deliver the video along with a presentation to school children across Redbridge to highlight the issue.

Police Constable Sand Gakhal from Redbridge who worked closely with the cadets on the video said, “The initial idea for the project was prompted by one of the cadets that knew a lad who died as a result of a stabbing. Other cadets in the group knew of the victim and they were keen to make a positive difference and help change young people’s attitudes towards knives.

“The cadets have worked really hard to make this happen, they’ve given up weekends and evenings. We have all learnt a great deal about the process of filming and how sad and humbling it can be to listen to the accounts of those affected by knife crime, especially family members of victims. Hopefully young people that see the video will also feel the same way and will join us and encourage their friends to join us in pledging their support to stop knife crime.”