Today (September 1) the Royal Borough of Greenwich has launched a new community inspired anti-knife crime campaign ‘Let’s Live #KnifeFree’.
For too long, too many families have been impacted by the devastating effects of knife crime. In Royal Greenwich alone there have been 1,197 knife offences over the last three years, and 12 people have been killed in the last two years alone – an average one life lost every eight weeks.
Recognising the important need to tackle knife crime in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the Council has worked closely with the community, young people and Police on a new campaign aimed at encouraging people to dream big and live #KnifeFree.
As part of the campaign, the Council has released a new short film, ‘Big Dreams’, which follows a fictional local teenager who has their whole future ahead of them; aiming to inspire young people and adults to remember the value of the life not yet Iived.
The film is being accompanied by an outdoor and digital advertising campaign with a call to action to live #KnifeFree. All content will link to a campaign landing page that shows what’s on offer locally – from apprenticeship and careers advice to how to hand in a knife and where to go to feel safe.
Cllr Anthony Okereke, Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:
“Everyone should be able to dream big but it only takes one knife to devastate a community and someone’s future. Our campaign, Let’s Live #KnifeFree, is not just an initiative but a lifeline for our borough that has been developed with community leaders, young people and families. Together, we can help tackle knife crime and put a stop to it, ensuring a safer and brighter future for all. Let’s live #KnifeFree.”
Cllr Ann-Marie Cousins, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement, said:
“We are committed to creating a safer community for all and tackling serious violence, which is a priority of Our Greenwich, the Council’s corporate plan. Through Let’s Live #KnifeFree we aim to place emphasis on the positives of life whilst acknowledging the seriousness of knife crime.
“Knife carrying can be seen as the “norm” in some communities, and some people carry knives because they think “everyone else is”, but this is not the case. Even with the excuse that you may never want to use it, carrying a knife will ruin your life. It will land you in prison and stop you from travelling freely. That (or those outcomes) can’t be worth it. Carrying a knife puts yourself and everyone around you in danger and limits your life chances.
“We will continue to work with the Metropolitan Police and our communities to do everything we can to help those who need it and to ensure procedures are in place to help our residents to help us prevent knife crimes from continuing to happen. Please contact us if you have any concerns so that we can help you to live #knifefree in the Royal Borough of Greenwich”
Hawa Haragakiza, mother of the late Tamim Ian Habimana, who was 15 when he was fatally stabbed in Woolwich in 2021, said:
“It’s hard to watch this story, as it is what my son wanted to do with his future – which was to be a lawyer or a businessman. This campaign is needed so we can save lives and put an end to knife crime once and for all.
“My mission is to make sure my son isn’t forgotten but also save young people and their families from going through what we are going through.”
Following workshops with young people and community groups, the Royal Borough of Greenwich commissioned Nice and Serious, a creative agency committed to making work with purpose and impact, to create the Big Dreams short film.
Serafima Serafimova, Film Director at Nice and Serious, said:
“It was important for us to show how knife crime impacts more people than those directly involved. The friends, families and wider communities of the victims, as well as the offenders, are forced to live with the traumatic aftermath which can often have a lasting and devastating effect.
“We developed a narrative that follows a young man daydreaming about his aspirations for life, depicting scenes of him exploring the world, getting into university and starting a family. By showing our lead at multiple stages of his life, we could simultaneously have young people, their parents and older generations empathise with him. When we revisit him laying down in the same position as we first saw him, it’s revealed that he’s alone in the street, dying.
“Our hope is that every viewer believes that this character could be their son, their daughter, brother or sister or partner, whose big dreams for life will never become a reality because of knife crime.”
The campaign forms part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Serious Violence workstream to prevent and reduce violence in Royal Greenwich.