Home Office – It Doesn't Have to Happen

Principal Author: Emily James – RKCR/Y&R

Contributing Authors: Rebecca Fleming – RKCR/Y&R; Kathryn Hughes – Manning Gottlieb OMD; Emma Roberts – Home Office; Megan Thompson



This is the story of how a pioneering anti-knife campaign gained credibility with young people, raising awareness of the consequences of possession and building their confidence that thousands of others reject carrying. Since the campaign launched there have been 1515 fewer recorded knife related offences amongst under nineteens. The reduced cost of knife culture to society has been calculated at a saving of £31.7m over the campaign period.

Co-created by teenagers with experience of violent crime, the It Doesn’t Have to Happen Campaign provides an invaluable body of new learning on the benefits of co-creation, crowd sourcing and peer to peer communications. In particular this paper shall consider the challenges and rewards of such approaches when targeting disenfranchised social groups.

Increased knife crime: a self fulfilling prophecy?