Johnson’s cabinet has been mocked and criticized for the government’s campaign, meant to discourage knife crime, on boxes of takeout fried chicken.
Over 321,000 chicken boxes featuring the #knifefree campaign handle have been distributed “to tackle the senseless violence that is traumatizing communities and claiming too many young lives,” according to Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, Presstv Reported.
Angry responses quickly followed on popular social networks, as some claimed that ‘#KnifeFree watermelons’ were soon to follow – referencing Boris Johnson’s 2002 article in which he called black people ‘piccaninnies with watermelon smiles.’
Johnson announced, earlier this week, a major clampdown on soaring crime rates across the United Kingdom, consisting of a number of tough measures, including a pilot scheme to extend ‘stop and search’ powers across all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
Stop and Search is controversial on a number of grounds. Mainly, the power is disproportionately used against ethnic minorities, particularly, black people.
According to data published by the Home Office, in 2017-18 black people were 9.5 times more likely to be searched than white people.
In addition to being widely perceived as racist, there is hardly any consensus on the effectiveness of Stop and Search as a deterrent.
The United Kingdom has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world, but the government is failing to curtail the rise in knife-crime.
Official statistics show that offenses involving knives, or other sharp objects, have been on the rise for five consecutive years in England and Wales. Between April 2018 and March 2019, authorities recorded 43,516 knife crime offenses. That's an 80 percent increase over the period between April 2013 and March 2014, when 23,945 offenses were recorded in England and Wales.
Johnson’s recent announcement of increased crime fighting and prevention measures has rather backfired in this case, as it is pushing the ridiculous stereotype that black people not only love fried chicken but are committing the most serious crimes in the UK.
The funds portioned for the expensive anti-knife campaign on chicken boxes would have been better invested in the affected communities rather than being applied to demonize them, Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbot, said.