The Metropolitan Police’s launch of a spoof video game as part of its effort to stem the tide of rising knife crime in London has been attacked by Labour MP Keith Vaz for being inappropriate and “distorting the message” it intends to convey.
Vaz, the Labour MP for Leicester East and a vociferous critic of violence in video games, has lambasted the campaign as the wrong way to warn young people about the consequences of carrying knives.
He says: “Video games are increasingly associated with violence and this can only distort the message. We need to polarise the difference between good and evil and this can be done using more far-reaching techniques, such as visiting schools.”
The Met is distributing a DVD featuring Knife City, a video game-cum-documentary that is designed to highlight the dangers of youths carrying knives (MW last week). The mock game depicts a hoodie-wearing youth armed with a kitchen knife. The boy gets into a fight, and the video shows the consequences for both attacker and victim.
Knife City, created by Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy, switches between video game graphics and documentary-style footage. A Met spokesman says that it is designed to talk to the target audience in a “language they understand”.
But he admits that the initiative is unlikely to influence those most prone to violence: “We are targeting younger teenagers, of 13 to about 16 or 17. This age-group is less hardened and more receptive to such a message.”