Police chief in gang murder inquiry says book advert glamorises violence

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Police commander investigating a spate of gang murders has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about a publicity campaign for Penguin books, which he says glamorises gun violence.

A Police commander investigating a spate of gang murders has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about a publicity campaign for Penguin books, which he says glamorises gun violence.

The nationwide campaign, which included posters and press advertisements, featured two American teenagers.

One has an automatic pistol that he is casually slipping inside his jacket while the other looks on. The photograph, entitled "Rat and Mike with a gun", was of two street youths in Seattle and is accompanied by the slogan "Be Here".

The campaign has been attacked by a leading Scotland Yard detective, who said it was irresponsible and that it was helping to spread the "American gangster ethos" and promote the idea of guns as "fashion accessories".

Commander Mike Fuller, the head of Operation Trident, the 160-strong squad set up to investigate black-on-black Yardie-influenced shootings in London, yesterday wrote to the ASA to complain about the use of the gun image.

In his letter Mr Fuller said: "I find the advert both disturbing and irresponsible ... Portraying the use of guns as a way to settle disputes and using them as fashion accessories only serves to attach a glamorous and acceptable image in the minds of young people."

He was particularly scathing about the billboard display of the poster in Hackney, north-east London, where several of the gun-related murders have taken place. He said: "This is distasteful and offensive, not only to the victims and their relatives but also the communities who are already fearful of the callous gunmen who carry out these shootings."

Since 1999 there have been 29 drug-related murders in the capital, six this year.

The advertising campaign, which has now ended, has prompted a number of complaints, and the poster in Hackney was covered over in July.

A spokesman for Penguin books said: "[Penguin] has not selected these images gratuitously ... The pictures make an undeniable claim: books remain the only true conduit to different worlds, different cultures, different emotional experiences."

Comments