Justice Secretary Michael Matheson today joined teenagers from Glasgow to launch a hard-hitting new film designed to educate young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.
The powerful film, which is part of the No Knives, Better Lives campaign, stars young first-time actors from the streets of Glasgow who hope it can change the attitudes of their peers towards carrying a knife.
It shows that the consequences of knife crime go far beyond the victim and perpetrator, and has been shaped by extensive research with young people who may be at risk of picking up a knife and discussions with parents and knife crime prevention experts.
Connor Newall, who took centre stage in the leading role and now has ambitions to act professionally, was able to draw on personal experience for the film, having lost a relative to knife crime.
Launching the film, he said: “Knife crime is a big problem for some teenagers here in Scotland. My cousin was murdered in 1996, stepping in to break up a fight in Govan.
“Although times have changed and fewer numbers of people carry knives, my family knows first-hand the hurt and devastation knives and violence can bring.
“I hope when other people around my age see the film, they learn from it and they don’t make the wrong decision and pick up a knife. If they do, they don’t just affect themselves, they affect their family and others around them.”
The short film will be available online and distributed to No Knives, Better Lives local partners, who will use the educational tool in the heart of communities most affected by violent crime to challenge the culture in which some people think that carrying a knife is acceptable.
Speaking at the event, Justice Secretary Michael Matheson, said: “We believe that the best way to tackle violence is prevention through education and it is hoped that this short film will play an important role in showing knife crime can devastate not only an individual but also their family, friends and their community.
“A special mention must go to the lead actor, Connor, who has shown great strength in using his own real-life personal family tragedy as the inspiration to send out a strong message to other young people about the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife. He’s got aspirations to now become a professional actor and he’s definitely got the talent.
“The scenes in this film are hard-hitting and the actors do not shy away from tackling the difficult issues as the research carried out with young people and parents during its production concluded that this bold approach is the most effective way to get the message across to a hard to influence age group.”