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Knife bins and media campaigns “might not help”

International research conducted by Home Office funded charity, the Youth Endowment Fund, has shown there is no evidence to prove the tactics have any real and lasting impact.

The Youth Endowment fund has said that knife bins and high-profile media campaigns may not make much difference in the fight against violent crime. 

It follows international research into the two approaches which are commonly used by forces in England and Wales.

Across the UK and abroad, the charity has said that there are too few reliable evaluations to show any “clear positive impact”.

Knife surrender schemes involve producing bins or collection points where individuals can drop weapons off under a “no questions asked” policy.

Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire when they have used the tactic each saw over 300 weapons being handed in.

Media campaigns often will accompany the initiative – possibly with adverts on TV, billboards or social media.

Two UK studies, one in London and the other in Glasgow, have suggested that knife surrender schemes may contribute to a “small reduction” in weapon-related offence – however they also showed that the effects did not last long – and that other tactics, such as stop and search, deployed at the same time may have also contributed to results.

There has also been UK evaluations on the impact of media campaigns which have actually shown instances where young people said campaigns increased the perceived threat.

Jon Yates, Executive Director, Youth Endowment Fund said: “Do amnesty bins and hard-hitting media campaigns make our children safer? It looks pretty unclear that they do. Until we know more, we need to spend public money on the things that have the greatest chance of saving our children’s lives.”

The two tactics have now been added to the Youth Endowment Fund’s ‘Toolkit’ – which ranks different approaches to reducing serious youth violence according to factors such as impact, quality of available evidence and cost.

Approaches currently ranked as ‘High’ impact include focused deterrence and CBT.

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