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Britain launches campaign blitz to end knife -

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ELEANOR HALL: In the UK, Scotland Yard is stepping up its campaign against knife crime with a
graphic advertising blitz.

There have been 20 fatal stabbings in London this year and the Government has responded by giving
police new powers to tackle the problem.

But opponents of the measures say it's a waste of government money that would be better spent on
helping abused children before they turn to crime.

Europe correspondent Emma Alberici filed this report.

EMMA ALBERICI: A teenage boy is getting ready to leave the house, he picks up his wallet, his keys
and his knife which he shoves down the back of his pants making sure it's well hidden by the cuff
of his bomber jacket.


EMMA ALBERICI: It's the multi-million dollar advertising campaign launched this week in the UK.

Part of a Scotland Yard attempt to crack down on knife crime.

(sound of TV advertisement - girl screaming)

EMMA ALBERICI: Operation Blunt 2 began in May after the death of Jimmy Mizen in south-east London.
The 16-year-old altar boy was stabbed to death with a shard of glass.

He was the 19th person to be killed this year in a wave of knife attacks that's shocked London.
Last weekend came number 20.

REPORTER: The latest victim Shaquille Maitland-Smith, just 14 years old and back from holiday. He
was killed by one stab wound.

EMMA ALBERICI: Commander Mark Simmons is the head of the police operation, he says he's confident
this campaign plus extended police powers to stop and search youth will reduce crime.

MARK SIMMONS: Absolutely, I think it will help to stimulate the discussion that we need to have
with young people, it will help to inform the kind of discussions they have in their youth clubs
and their schools, with their friends, with their families, hopefully.

And it helps us to stimulate the discussion we want to have with them. If it helps any small number
of young people think twice about the consequences of taking a knife with them when they go out the
front door then it will be absolutely worth the effort in putting it on.

CAMILLA BATMANGHELIDJH: They don't ask the question: why you, a nine or ten-year-old in the fourth
richest country of the world have got to the point where you feel you need to carry a knife. And if
the Government listened, the child would say, I don't feel safe.

EMMA ALBERICI: Camila Batmanghelidjh is the founder of Kids Company, a leading youth charity in
Britain. It has a staff of 300 who support more than 12,000 young people.

She's just released the findings of a mental health study that shows how abuse and neglect can
damage the brains of children and potentially lead them to crime.

She says the Government initiatives will do little if anything to curb crime and instead they
should focus on bolstering community services to help care for vulnerable youth.

CAMILA BATMANGHELIDJH: Now you can have a campaign against knives, but I can tell you now that the
emerging new weapon at street level is actually dogs. Dogs that are being treated badly, so that
they can become agents of attack in a dispute.

And the point is that we can have initiatives that tackle the symptom, either a firearm, a knife or
a dog, but if we don't get to the root causes and address the problem at that level then all were
doing is banning one weapon and immediately another one emerges.

EMMA ALBERICI: The new campaign to fight knife crime came on the same day the contents of a home
office document were released.

It states that violent crime will rise in Britain as the effects of the economic downturn take
their toll.

And with the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) overnight stating that
the UK will be in recession before the end of the year, the challenge for Scotland Yard looks like
getting even bigger.

This is Emma Alberici in London for The World Today.