Police in Tower Hamlets have sent out more than 200 Christmas Cards to suspected gang members, urging them to turn away from crime.
Inside, there is a letter warning them that anti-social behaviour and gang-related crime will not be tolerated, and that new laws will see anyone caught brandishing a knife sent to prison.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Warnett said:
"This is no more than a means of crime prevention, by targeting suspects rather than victims. There is a clear warning - but also [an offer] of help to those who wish to break the cycle of crime and anti-social behaviour. "Knife crime and all forms of Anti-Social Behaviour and serious youth violence damage communities, destroy lives, cause pain, and rob families of hope. It is completely unacceptable and we will not stand by. We have a duty to the public to take a tough approach."
The full letter inside the cards reads:
Tower Hamlets Police are looking to ensure that this holiday period is one of peace and celebration for all sections of the community. As such we are contacting people like yourself, who we believe MAY be involved in Anti-Social/Gang activity on the borough. It needs to be made clear that these kinds of activities will not be tolerated, and anyone suspected of committing offences will be targeted. We would also like to make you aware of the new offence of aggravated knife possession. If you are aged 18 or over and threaten another with a knife you will serve a mandatory sentence of a minimum six months in prison. If you are aged between 16 and 18 you will serve a four month detention and training order. If you no longer want to be part of a gang or criminal activity we will help you. We work together with other agencies and can offer you: List(Ways out), List(Training and education), List(Employment opportunities) If you wish to speak to us please contact us, either by telephone 08:00-16:00 Monday-Friday, or discreetly by email. Regards, Tower Hamlets Gangs Unit