Crimestoppers bars Norris strap

Conservative London mayoral candidate Steve Norris has abandoned plans to use his 'crime-stopper' campaign slogan on all his publicity material after the charity Crimestoppers complained about the branding on his campaign bus.

The campaign bus bears the huge message: "Don't Just Ring Crime-Stoppers.

Vote for One", alongside a 40ft mugshot of Norris' face. He is using the phrase to emphasise his tough stance on crime as part of his 'Safer London' campaign.

In 1988, Norris founded the Crime Concern Trust, and chaired the organisation for a while, but is no longer involved. The bus was unveiled on 1 June to carry the message all over London for nine days in the run-up to the elections.

But the timing could not have been worse for Crimestoppers, coming in the same week that the charity relaunched its identity to dispel the public's perceptions that it is a government-run organisation (Third Sector, 2 June).

The charity has 90 per cent brand recognition, but its own research shows that 25 per cent of the public are unaware of its charitable status.

A recent NOP poll found that only 2 per cent knew that Crimestoppers is a charity. Most people assume that the charity is either part of the police or connected to the TV programme.

A Crimestoppers spokeswoman said: "The bus slogan has nothing to do with us and we had no prior knowledge or agreement."

A spokeswoman for the Norris campaign said: "There might have been an initial misunderstanding as to whether we had permission, but it was used entirely innocently and we have decided to abandon plans to use the phrase on other publicity materials after the charity contacted us."

The campaign team was going to use the slogan on thousands of leaflets to be handed out in the streets, but withdrew them at the eleventh hour to respect the charity's requests, despite the slogan being its punchiest tagline.

The spokeswoman said that the leaflets were easily created by running the artwork used for the bus wrap through a colour photocopier and would have amounted to "less than £100" in wasted costs.

The Norris 'crime-stopper' leaflets were replaced with some that said: "Crime on the street is the Mayor's responsibility. On June 10, it's yours."

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