The mobile phones of young people across Inverclyde are to be targeted in new tactics to get the message across about the dangers of carrying knives, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced today.
Bluetooth technology is to be used to beam anti-knife messages onto the mobile phones of young people at key locations and hotspots throughout the area in a pilot.
If successful, the use of the technology could be rolled out to other areas across Scotland.
The announcement was made as a fresh push in Inverclyde gets underway as part of the No Knives, Better Lives initiative which has seen knife carrying drop by 35 per cent.
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said:
“The combination of tough enforcement on the streets, backed by education through the No Knives, Better Lives campaign is having a real impact on knife crime and the figures we are seeing show a downward trajectory across the country.
“You only need to look at the recent figures from the pilot of this initiative in Inverclyde showing a 35 per cent reduction in knife carrying to see the positive effect it is having.
“However, despite the good progress being made we cannot be complacent.
“We’ve got to continue to look at new ways of getting the message across to young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and this new mobile phone initiative gives us the opportunity to do just that. You’d be hard pushed to find a young person who doesn’t own a mobile phone and that is a huge audience we can potentially reach through these tactics.
“The No Knives, Better Lives initiative has already been extended to cover other areas using the successful experiences from Inverclyde as a blueprint for action. These latest tactics give us the opportunity to test something new and if successful, the use of the technology could be rolled out to other areas across Scotland.
“More and more young people are getting the message that carrying a knife is not worth the risk. These latest tactics will build on that work and working with the police and local partners across the country, we are united in a shared aim of putting an end to knife crime wherever and whenever it occurs.”
Inverclyde Area Commander, Chief Inspector Graeme MacDairmid said: “The No Knives Better Lives campaign has played an integral part in our fight against knife crime and targeting knife carriers in Inverclyde. Educating and changing the attitudes of how the young feel about knifes is paramount in achieving any real long term success.
“Running in tandem with this successful education programme, my Officers are focussing on targeting both known knife carriers, and hot spot areas where knife crime is prevalent. Never before have Police Officers in Inverclyde carried out so many searches for weapons, yet at the same time found so few. We will continue with this robust and firm style of Policing and continue to tackle all aspects of Violence in Inverclyde.”
In addition to the mobile phone initiative, a new advertising campaign begins – involving series of ‘Choose Life, not a knife’ posters, chalk stencils, and advertising boards at youth football pitches – and running in tandem with this will be a police drive to target known knife carriers and hotspot areas.