The government’s latest plan to tackle knife crime is getting a roasting

Fried chicken box with #knifefree branding
Support us and go ad-free

The Home Office has launched a new wheeze to tackle knife crime. Judging by the responses, though, it could be one of the worst ideas it’s ever had.

Certain fried chicken stores are replacing their usual packaging with special boxes. Bearing the hashtag #knifefree, the boxes also feature “real life stories to show people how they can go #KnifeFree”.

Racist?

London-based writer George Luke spotted what might be going on, making reference to the racist stereotype that ‘Black people love fried chicken’:

Gamer GonzoKRS went further, calling the scheme “racial profiling”, and drawing a comparison to the recent announcement about stop-and-search powers:

And Labour MP David Lammy suggested the campaign had more than a whiff of Boris Johnson about it, given that the prime minister has previously called Black people “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” (again, echoing racist imagery):

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, meanwhile, denounced the chicken box plan as “crude, offensive and probably expensive”. She also said the Home Office “would do better to invest in our communities not demonise them”.

Investment vs wasting money

Academic and former youth worker Adam Elliott-Cooper appeared on Sky News to discuss the chicken boxes. And he highlighted the background of Conservative cuts:

at a time when over 100 youth centres have been closed across London, this really is an insult to see these kinds of resources being put on chicken boxes instead of real, tangible youth services.

He then described how one of the stories on the boxes talks of a young man growing up with few opportunities. His message to the government was clear:

Well here’s an idea. Instead of writing a story about a young man who grows up in a community with not a lot of opportunities, and putting it on a chicken box, why not make more opportunities in those specific communities? Why not re-invest in those kinds of youth services that have been cut, why not invest in those kinds of mental health provisions that have been cut, why not invest in the educational maintenance allowance which has been scrapped?

And he finished by saying:

I think it’s a profound insult to these young people as well, when these opportunities are being taken away, that you’re putting a story about this lack of opportunities on the back of a chicken box.

Adam Elliott-Cooper on Home Office's knife crime chicken box ads

It's an insult that the government is putting resources into chicken boxes while cutting vital youth services.Adam Elliott-Coope on Sky News on the offensiveness of the Home Office plans to tackle knife crime via chicken boxes.

Posted by New Economy Organisers Network – NEON on Thursday, 15 August 2019

Featured image via Twitter – Home Office

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us