Chicken boxes carrying warnings about the dangers of carrying a knife have been sent to chicken shops in England and Wales by the Home Office, and the idea has backfired, badly.
More than 321,000 boxes will be sent out to replace standard packaging at a number of fast-food outlets across the nation, including Chicken Cottage, Morley's, and Dixy Chicken, reports the BBC.
Printed inside the boxes are first-hand accounts of young people who have opted to pursue hobbies such as boxing and music instead of pursuing knife crime.
Policing minister Kit Malthouse said:
These chicken boxes will bring home to thousands of young people the tragic consequences of carrying a knife and challenge the idea that it makes you safer.
The Government is doing everything it can to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatising communities and claiming too many young lives, including bolstering the police’s ranks with 20,000 new police officers on our streets.
Many social media users, however, have slammed the campaign, calling it 'racist' and 'offensive'.
Taking to Twitter, shadow home secretary Diane Abbott wrote:
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.
Instead of investing in a public health approach to violent crime, the Home Office have opted for yet another crude… https://t.co/hoKpbH8DfG
The Home Office is using taxpayers’ money to sponsor an age-old trope.
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.
I know it might cost a bit more time, effort and money, but I would love it if you would announce a programme of investment in our local communities instead of spending five minutes on a harmful gimmick.
Other social media users were equally as outraged.
I want the Fortnum & Mason Hampers with warnings about not engaging in tax evasion or predatory capitalism, and the… https://t.co/1R5t3ed4p3
According to the Home Office, the #KnifeFree campaign aims to change the attitudes and behaviors of young people aged between 10 and 21, and it follows a series of government pledges to tackle serious violence, reports the BBC.