By Christine Lavelle
TEENAGERS will be the focus of a ‘No Knives’ campaign being launched in Edinburgh tomorrow.
They are focusing on the North of the city which accounts for a third of all knife crime in the Capital.
To kick off the No Knives Better Lives campaign, local teenagers from Leith will play a five-a-side football tournament in Montgomery Park.
They will then meet Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to talk about the new initiative.
Mr MacAskill said: “We are working in partnership with the council, police, schools and young people in Edinburgh to create very local No Knives Better Lives campaign that is tailored to the community and supporting the good work they are already doing.
“Far too many lives are lost and people are injured though mindless acts of violence – often because of the knife culture that blights some communities.
“That is why we are working to change the culture around violence in Scotland.”
The north of the city has been targeted because research shows the number of knife-related incidents in the past year sits at 228 – making up a third of those across the capital.
Young people are to be taught about the dangers of carrying a knife and the consequences that can result from carrying one in the first place.
Councillor Paul Edie, Community Safety Leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This is an important project for the city as it sends out a simple, yet hard-hitting message, that this type of crime is not acceptable within our society.
“It is also important to reassure the wider community that the partnership is doing everything it can to educate these young people, so that knife crime can be reduced and that these crimes can become a problem of the past.
“I am sure this new and exciting initiative will teach young people that carrying a knife can have a devastating affect on their future.”
Research also shows in nearly half of all incidents it was found that the victim knew the offender and that alcohol and drug misuse are major contributing factors.
Superintendent David Carradice from Lothian and Borders Police, said: “Using a knife, or even carrying one, is extremely dangerous, and has serious consequences for everyone involved – it is essential youngsters understand this.
“The most effective way of delivering this message is through education, and events like this will undoubtedly prove useful for engaging with the younger members of our community.
“I am keen to talk to the youngsters taking part today to hear their thoughts on knives and the associated dangers.”