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UK's Home Office branded 'racist or unfathomably stupid' for anti-knife crime ads on chicken boxes

A UK minister said the messages will “bring home” the consequences of knife crime to young people.

A NEW CAMPAIGN by the UK’s Home Office that seeks to reduce knife crime with ads on chicken boxes has been criticised as “racist or unfathomably stupid”.

The initiative sees 321,000 chicken boxes distributed to 210 outlets in England and Wales that have a “#knifefree” message.

“The insides of the boxes are printed with real life stories of young people who have chosen to pursue positive activities, such as boxing or music, instead of carrying a knife,” the Home Office said announcing the plans.

The UK’s Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said the chicken boxes would: “bring home to thousands of young people the tragic consequences of carrying a knife”.

A number of well-known UK chicken shop chains are participating in the campaign but it has been criticised by several opposition politicians and people online. 

Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott MP said the initiative demonised communities and wasted money.

“Instead of investing in a public health approach to violent crime, the Home Office have opted for yet another crude, offensive and probably expensive campaign. They would do better to invest in our communities not demonise them,” Abbott tweeted.  

Party colleague David Lammy MP told The Guardian that the idea promoted racist tropes in linking black people to fried chicken.

“Boris Johnson has already called black people ‘piccaninnies with watermelon smiles’. Now his government is pushing the stereotype that black people love fried chicken. This ridiculous stunt is either explicitly racist or, at best, unfathomably stupid,” he said. 

Knife crime has been a persistent problem in the UK with over 5,500 people injured in knife crime incidents in London alone in the 12 months to last October, a record figure which includes over 90 killings.

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Rónán Duffy

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