OperationShutdown: Anti-knife crime protest outside YouTube HQ

OperationShutdown Image copyright PA/Ryan Hooper
Image caption OperationShutdown campaigners poured fake blood on their hands and their clothes

Anti-knife campaigners covered in fake blood have protested outside YouTube's London offices, accusing the site of being slow to remove videos which could promote violent crime.

OperationShutdown also targeted the King's Cross premises of Google, the social media network's parent company.

"We believe YouTube plays a part in the rising knife crime," campaigners said.

YouTube said it had "developed policies specifically to help tackle videos related to knife crime in the UK".

Organisers, including those who have lost family members to knife and gun crime, have called on the social media network to take a tougher stance against content which they believe promotes knife crime.

Image copyright PA/Ryan Hooper
Image caption The campaigners want YouTube to remove videos that could be seen as promoting gun and knife crime

Lucy Martindale said she had lost 11 family and friends to murder, gun and knife crime.

The youth worker from south London said: "I work with young people and every day they are reciting drill lyrics, talking about what they are going to do.

"We have approached YouTube several times and asked them to control their content and remove certain videos.

"Why is it taking them seven months to remove one video of men with knives and guns where they were saying 'we're glad your mother buried you and we're going to kill your other children'?

"That's not OK."

Figures released last month showed record levels for knife crime in England and Wales.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed an increase of 6% in a year and the largest total since comparable data began in 2011.

A spokesman for YouTube, which says it blocks videos in the UK where an individual brandishes weapons in a threatening manner, said: "We work with the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, the Home Office and community groups to understand this issue.

"We ensure we are able to take action on gang-related content that infringe our community guidelines or break the law."

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