Facebook film warns young people:

You do not have to wield the weapon to be convicted of the murder

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'Who Killed Deon' is the Metropolitan Police Service’s new anti-weapons advertorial aimed at 13-15 year olds.

The campaign is an interactive online film to help educate young people about Joint Enterprise. It has been running unbranded live on Facebook and You Tube since Monday 30 August to help create intrigue and drive traffic to the site.

The film aims to engage young people through an interactive story about the risks of getting involved with weapons. The message is simple: if a person's presence, knowledge or actions lead to a killing, they could be charged with murder under Joint Enterprise. Those who lend encouragement and approval to a crime can be charged with the same offence as the chief perpetrator and could receive similar prison sentences.

The film uses the ‘who dunnit’ idea to show how five characters are all guilty of murder. When a user visits our online page (www.facebook.com/whokilleddeon ) they will initially be met with a trailer and the scene of the murder. There are then six character films to view. Each story shows a different connection to the murder and explains why the character was charged with murder even though their involvement may appear to have been minimal.  Only one of the characters has no involvement in the murder.

Commander Simon Foy, head of the MPS Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "The hope is that once young people appreciate the way the law operates, they will think twice about their involvement with groups and gangs and walk away before any trouble starts.

"If we can get young people thinking about what they're doing, we're well on our way to educating them. We are tapping into something which young people in particular just haven't thought about."

Joint Enterprise has been successfully used by detectives to convict multiple defendants in a number of high-profile murders including the killings of teenager Ben Kinsella in June 2008 and 16-year-old Kodjo Yenga in 2007.

The film is part of a series of activities that have taken place over the summer months to raise awareness and understanding of Joint Enterprise.

This has included engaging with young people via street teams before and during the school holidays.

The MPS has also aired advertisements on commercial radio stations to reinforce the message.

David Bilson Borough Commander of Hounslow Police Station said “ When violence happens, they too can be imprisoned because of the law of joint enterprise. Parents - help us to keep your young people safe. Help the young people in your family to know about the danger of knives, to think about the people they are with. Help them to make their own positive choices, and to be aware of the consequences that follow such serious crimes".

The activity has been backed by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who agrees that the consequence of Joint Enterprise is something most young people do not consider. It is hoped that highlighting the grave consequences will help in the drive to cut knife and gun crime.

Boris Johnson said: "Be warned, there are no excuses for anyone involved in horrific gang violence. If you stand by whilst a friend commits a serious crime, you are as guilty as them in the eyes of the law. Hanging around with people who carry weapons and get into trouble could result in a long prison sentence regardless of your involvement. My advice is think twice, don't get involved or you could spend the rest of your life regretting it."

Commander Steve Rodhouse, Territorial Policing lead for serious youth violence said: "The MPS will be relentless in its efforts to target, investigate and prosecute anyone who carries or uses one of these potentially lethal weapons."

August 18, 2009