I originally posted this in a private Facebook Group, but one of my real-life friends (I do have a couple) suggested that it deserved a wider audience. So, if you’re reading this for the first time you can thank Dot.
Just a quickie before the Nurse comes to sedate me again, is it just me?
More and more and more over the past 2(?) years I have seen more PCs on the news, soaked in some poor kid’s blood, whose life they have either just saved, or tried to save before the experts arrived. Never in my service did I see, or even hear about, so many fine acts of compassion and giving. Every day there are maybe 2-3 stabbings, frequently fatal, and most of them statistically involve young BAME kids (can I say Black without being witch hunted?). Frequently the first officers on scene are required to, and do, administer emergency First Aid way beyond the Triangular Bandage that I used to struggle with, or the freshly ironed handkerchief. Those magnificent officers will have to go back to the nick, go home, or whatever, quite often literally covered in someone else’s blood, explain to their families, and pacify them, and probably suffer who knows how many sleepless nights because they failed to save that life or are simply haunted by the trauma of what they have just dealt with. Later that night they will turn on the telly box and have some opinionated t**t spout on about how the whole of the Police Service is corrupt and racist and should be ‘defunded’ or the newspaper they pick up will be full of the negative stories, some of which aren’t even news, and devote maybe a column inch to the fantastic life saving that seems to go on on an almost daily basis. Apart from being totally unfair to the magnificent work being done on the streets by our successors, this does nothing more thatn severely dent the already drained morale, savaged by Theresa May, and, now she’s gone, the MSM seem intent on carrying on her ‘good’ work. Well done to all of you still serving. Seriously, you deserve it, and Thank You.
You ARE appreciated, even by the dinosaurs amongst us.
Following on from last week’s post about Murders in London, I hope that this will be the last time I feel compelled to address the subject. I promise not to buy any more crayons for a while. London is a big place so I thought it might be useful (and hopefuly interesting) to break the problem down to a more local level.
Panic ye not, having looked at the above chart, I’m only going to aim my microscope at the top 3 Boroughs, in order, Lambeth, Newham and Southwark. Anything more would just take too long and send my loyal reader into a deep coma. However, if you live or work within the M25 feel free to send me a PM/DM/Carrier Pigeon and I’ll try and give you some perpsective about where you live or work. All applications for more than one Borough must be wrapped around a bottle of fine single malt.
Between 2003 and end of March 2020 there were 146 offences in Lambeth that were classified as Murder. Given the complexity (and volume) of the data, I believe it works out like this.
Shocking. Rest your eyes on Chart 2 for a few moments. Nearly 40% of the people charged with Murder in the Borough of Lambeth between 2003 and 2020 were in the 13 – 19 age group. 40%! let that sink in. That is OUR youth. All of us.
The Afro Caribbean population is the largest group in both Victims and Accuseds.
65% of the persons charged with Murder in Lambeth between 2003 and end of March 2020 were of Afro Caribbean origin. 65%. A significant majority.
Between 2003 and end of March 2020 there were also 146 offences in Lambeth that were classified as Murder. Broken down they look like this
Chart 5 once again showing a different profile to Lambeth, the majority of the Accuseds are under 34, but covering a fair spread from 13-34.
Chart 6 shows a somewhat different profile of those being charged with Murder compared with Lambeth. 13 to 19 year olds still form the largest single group (30%) , but 25 to 34 year olds are not far behind on 26%.
Again, Chart 7 shows a somewhat different pattern to Lambeth, Black and White more or less evenly represented, and Asians becoming far more prominent
Chart 8 shows that almost twice as many Black people were charged with Murder than Whites, followed closely by Asians
Slightly lower than the two Boroughs above at 134, not a huge difference over 17 years though.
Chart 9, sadly, clearly shows that the age group with the biggest problem is 13 to 19 year old, closely followed by 25 to 34 year olds. However I find the 0 to 12 year olds disturbing.
Chart 10 closely resembles Chart 2 (Lambeth) in that the largest age group for people charged with Murder is once again 13 to 19 year olds.
Chart 11 shows that once again, the Ethnicity group most affected by Murder, either as an Accused or a Victim, are the Afro Caribbeans, followed closely by the Whites, very similar yo both Lambeth and Newham.
Chart 12, clearly showing that just over half of the persons charged with Murder in Southwark Borough were of Afro Caribbean origin, approx twice as many as Whites who were allegedly responsible for just over a quarter of the total offences,
What does all of this tell us? Quite frankly it scares the crap out of me. Our (predominantly) young men, and in some cases children, are either killing or getting killed on the streets of London. These are not Domestic Disputes gone wrong they are Gang Related, Drug Related or even Post Code Related. Party politics need to be cast aside and ALL parties work together to work out what can be done for Children and Young Persons in London (and elsewhere) such that can stop killing each other.
We have heard a lot in the last few months about Black Lives Matter. Yes they do, ALL lives matter, but sadly a number of members of the Black population don’t seem to have a problem with taking Black lives. This is WRONG, all killing is wrong obviously, but how can BLM expect society as a whole to take BLM seriously when the Black population don’t stop killing each other? Anybody with any kind of suggestion whatsoever should pester the Mayor, the Commissioner, your Local Council, anybody who may have an interest and be able to work together with others to stop the killing.
Finally, let’s take a look at the three Boroughs most affected between 2003 and 2020. What werwe the most common methods for killing? Chart 13 gives us the answer, far and away the most popular are Knives, or similar, followed at some distance by shooting. Let that sink in for a moment. Stabbing, slashing or shooting all require a weapon of some kind to be carried through the streets by somebody. Look at the charts again, and then tell me that Stop and Search is bad and should be abandoned.
Last night my attention was drawn to this tweet from Norman Brennan.
BREAKING NEWS; This message has just arrived by DM from a very Senior Serving Officer (Confirmed who he/she is) Quote; “Norman Stop & Search in London is 25% Down Since BLM Violence is up 25% with Knife enabled Injuries Going to go Mental” This is from a caring officer in DESPAIR
Are things really that dire in Londinium, and if they are, why?
I must warn you, this is going to get very numbery, and I need to try out my new crayons. Let’s start by having a look at Stop/Search in London over the last 2 years.
So there we see the beginnings of a potential problem, or is it? There has indeed been a fall in the total number of Stop/Searches, in the order of 13,652 fewer (or 31%). BUT, the May figure was in itself a spike and the numbers in June have more or less returned to normal. I have no idea what, specifically, was going on in London during May, but something has caused a spike. Possibly increased ‘Proactivity’ during a period of Lockdown? I don’t know, maybe one of the serving officers can tell me.
There has been a lot of fuss in the media over the past few days about athletes getting stopped and the Met were accused of Racism and Racial Profiling. How do the Stop/Searches over the past 2 years break down?
Well to be fair there have been a few months when the proportion of Black people stopped and searched has gone up, for whatever reason, but for most of the two year period, when one ethnicity gets stopped nore frequently, so do the others. In the very last set of data, June 2020, there were actually1,428 fewer Black people stopped than Whites. Once again, I cannot provide a reason for that, but that is what the stats show. Racially prejudiced or Profiled? I can’t see any evidence to support that accusation.
How do the figures stack up when it comes to Positive Outcomes? i.e. the number of occasions something was found as a result of the Stop and Search? Any racial bias there?
Interpret that any way you want but when one Ethnic Group rises they all rise, when one falls they all reduce. In recent months the total number of Positive Outcomes for Black people stopped has been lower than for White people.
What does the long term pattern over two years show us?
Before I leave Stop/Search and move onto Crimes, for the sake of completeness and transparency, we may as well include age and gender (there are only 2 genders because that all is the Met provide stats for).
Males are far more likely to get Stopped and Searched than Females, and the 15-25 year olds are streets ahead of any other age group. Not surprising I suppose, there isn’t much chance of having sufficient grounds to Stop and Search many 75 year old Grandmas.
Almost at the end now. How have the Knife Crime stats looked over the last two years?
The red/orange line representing the 2 year average, it is plain that Knife crime in London has slowed dramatically in 2020, way below average. However this could be the results of CoronaVirus Lockdowns, increased numbers of Police on the streets or anything else.
Knife Crime with Injury. A separate set of stats, how does that shape up in London?
Once again, below the red/orange Average line at the moment.
In conclusion, looking at the bald statistics and with no current, personal knowledge of what is going on, it would appear that there HAS been a large drop in Stop Search during June, but only dropping back to the current baseline figure. Why the spike in May is currently a mystery. Has this alleged lack of Police activity caused a massive rise in Knife enabled crimes and Injuries caused by Knives? I don’t think that the statistics bear that out at all. There was an increase in both types of Knife Crime in May 2020, but still significantly below the two year average.
Sorry Norman, on the basis of the Met’s published statistics I cannot agree with your Senior Officer.
Whether ANY of this has anything to do with Black Lives Matter I can’t possibly say, but at least we have the cold, dry stats to form an opinion on.
I do love a good set of numbers. You can prove whatever you want with numbers, but, by themselves, they don’t really lie, it’s what you do with them that forms opinion. Believe me, opinion is truly divided on this one and I’m ready for the abuse and condemnation that will no doubt come my way, my ‘Block’ button is fully serviced and ready for action.
Way back in 2018 Sky News published a rather informative article on the subject, and if it didn’t take so long, I would happily do some work to update it, but as FOI responses, even in normal times, can take anything up to 18 months to come back (yes I’ve had a couple take that long) that will have to wait for a future update.
It has widely been reported for a long time that the black population are disproportionately the victims of murder on the streets of our country, London gets a really bad press for this. What is not shouted quite so loudly is the ethnicity of Murder Suspects. Maybe there’s no political mileage in that. Personally I do, and always have, preferred the reality, be it good, bad or indifferent.
Sky News submitted FOI requests to every Police Force in the England, Scotland and Wales requesting some stats on their murder victims and suspects.
Apparently, back in 2018 London was 60% White, yet only 35% of Murder Victims were white and 24% of Murder Suspects. However the figures for the country as a whole suggest that maybe London is not completely representative, and maybe that’s not actually a surprise. In the rest of the country white folk made up 86% of the population, 89% of Murder Victims and 81% of Murder Suspects, suspects and victims being very much in line with the population as a whole.
I’m completely happy to acknowledge that Sky News is my source for the data in the following charts, however, as it was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act it is, by default, in the Public Domain.
When it comes to ages of those concerned, it really does look like London has a problem emerging (has emerged?). 18% of the population of London is under 21, but 32% of the Murder Victims (all races) were under 21 and 45% of Murder Suspects. It looks to me as though the youth of London have running rampant. Yes, I acknowlege that this data is 18 months old, but personally my impression is that the situation has not improved, but I will try and get updated info.
Unsurprisingly possibly, males accounted for 81% of the Murder Victims in London, and 94% of those accused, and yet again the largest group was Black Males.
Other figures for areas of the UK possibly more closely represent the population as a whole. In the rest of the UK Males comprised 49% of the population, 69% of the victims and 92% of those accused.
So there we have it, or at least how it was in 2018. I’ll do my very best to obtain up to date and current info, and publish a new post to update this one. The activists are quite right, Black Lives do Matter, I believe it’s unpopular to say it but All Lives Matter, but London seems to be completely out of step with the rest of the country. I fully accept that Black Lives Matter everywhere, but it seems to be an inescapable fact that in London Black Lives are mainly being taken by Black People. Is it racist to say that? I don’t think so. It’s my interpretation of the figures. I will make it a priority to obtain up to date info for London at least, the rest of the country seems pretty well balanced. Not only do I not think it’s racist to point it out, I also think that ALL agencies on both all sides of the argument need to sit down and thrash this out once and for all, and that includes the Mayor of London, whoever he is. This CANNOT be simply nothing more than a tool to bash the Police and other agencies with. Young Black Males are dying, killed, mainly, by young black men (or at least that’s what the figures say to me) but no doubt there is an Academic somewhere out there who will point out where I have gone wrong. I have said it many times before, I don’t care what colour the victims or suspects are the killing SIMPLY HAS TO STOP. No more dancing around trying to score points. STOP THE KILLING.
Finally, thank you to my good friend @obbsie for the following two montages of some of the murder victims in London over the last few years. he did send me a third one representing last year but as it contains names and other personal details I have elected not to use that one.
Tom, as we know, later went on to become Head Fred at Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, despite never having served in the Police Service at any rank. I wonder what Her Majesty made of that. Even later he became Sir Tom, for reasons that elude me.
Whilst the Police Service was still reeling from the recommendations of Winsor’s ‘Independent’ Reviews they were hit by two sledgehammers from Theresa May.
1. Police budgets will be cut due to #Austerity (yeah, right) which, to date, has resulted in the loss of approx 21,000 warranted Police Officers with a lower number of PCSOs and Police Support Staff, and the closing of approx 650 Police Stations.
2. In her 2014 speech to the Police Federation Theresa May issued an edict that Stop and Search must be curtailed, or there would be ‘consequences’, because certain members of the population were unhappy about it.
Please note the two charts below. I will deliberately NOT claim that there is any correlation between the datasets, I merely present the facts. After the lashing I got from Dr Ben this week I must bow to his undeniable superior intelligence so I will leave it to him and the other Academics to explain them.
Figure 1 shows the total number of Stop/Searches conducted in England and Wales against the total number of Knife-Related Murders.
Figure 2 shows the total number of Police Officers in England and Wales against the total number of Knife-Related Murders.
Three FACTS are apparent from these two diagrams. Two of the FACTS are directly related to Theresa May’s policies.
Stop and Search has REDUCED
Police numbers have REDUCED
Knife-Related Murders have INCREASED.
With facts like these staring them in the face, the College of Policing, UK Home Office and anybody else who can actually achieve anything should get off their arses, stop having nice chatty meetings and actually commission some proper research to
a) Establish if there is any correlation between all three of the FACTS
b) Identify, and put into action, a proactive, multi-agency plan to put an end to the carnage on our streets. We have had too many young people slaughtered already, we don’t need any more. I will say it again, I don’t give a stuff what colour or ethnicity these young people are, the killing simply has to stop.
In conclusion, do I think that the Tory and Coalition governments have blood on their hands? Yes I do, and Theresa May was the worst offender. I really don’t know how her, and all the politicians and Police Chiefs who sat by and said nothing can sleep at night.
In my opinion Theresa May’s policies have been directly responsible for many young lives being lost on our streets.
It is no secret that Central Government funding of the Police is steadily reducing and has been since 2010 when that Camoron person just about scraped home in a General Election.
The other thing about Police Budgeting that pisses me off is the way the government fudges the figures to make themselves look better.
I have heard it mentioned several times that the Police Budget is in the order of £12 Billion and the government frequently state that they have increased funding to the Police for this reason or that.
Oh look, Police Funding has gone up. Except for two things. The graphic above includes both the Council Tax precept funding (that has increased over the years) and a Counter Terrorism Grant (yes, that has gone up too).
Since 2015/16 our generous government has increased central government core funding to the Police from £7.101 Billion to £6.962 Billion. Except for the fact that’s a decrease obviously.
Since 2015/16 total Police Funding, including Counter Terrorism) has increased from £11.94 Billion to £12.997 Billion. This represents a true increase but not much more than half of it comes from Central Government in traditional funding. The balance is made up of an increasing Council Tax precept (and some will say that means they’re paying for the Police twice) and various assorted grants or IT funds etc. A big chunk of it is also the rising CT funding. The only figure that seems to be going down is the government’s Core Funding.
For the current financial year the figures look like this
Core funding has actually risen slightly to £7.108 Billion but the Council Tax Precept has also risen to £4.147 Billion. Total Police funding (excluding CT payments) has reduced from £12.269 Billion to £12.136 Billion.
But hey, a reduction of £0.13 Billion isn’t very much surely? Just £133 Million that’s all. Sounds a lot more like that.
The long and the short of it is that for the last 5 years the government’s Core Funding for Policing has been of the order of £7 Billion and total funding in the order of £12 Billion.
Happy with that? End of Part One.
Overseas Aid. What is it?
How much do we pay in Overseas Aid?
In the 2018/19 financial year the Overseas Aid Budget was in the order of £14.5 Billion.
How much do we contribute compared to other countries?
So there you have it. Our government spends approx £2.5 Billion MORE on Overseas Aid than the total funding, from all sources, on our beleaguered Police Service.
How do they get away with it?
Brexit is the answer. It’s been in the papers but everyone is so fixated by the cock-up affectionately known as Brexit that this sort of news is simply hidden.
Everybody will have their own view as to which is more deserving, but it is true that in this country we have a Knife Crime crisis at the moment that, in part, seems to have been caused or worsened by Tory cuts to resources and various Youth Services. Overseas Aid is very noble, but personally I would prefer to see some kind of meaningful impact on the Knife Crime statistics by using some of that money to properly fund a multi-agency effort to stop the killing and maiming. Once that has been achieved we can consider the size of the Overseas Aid Budget again. Quite simply “The killing has to stop”.
Certainly anyone carrying or wielding a knife without a reasonable excuse or lawful authority is to blame.
Government silliness might make you think that Teachers or the NHS are to blame for failing to report crimes or suspicions to the Police. What a load of cobblers. You can agree or disagree with me, that is our right, but in my opinion it is quite clear.
There are TWO groups of people directly responsible for the stabbings and knife crime in general.
The first are the children, young people and adults that are carrying knives about our streets. Whether they be for offence or self-defence it is unlawful and must STOP. We do, however, have to agree a method of making it stop, the politicians just seem to want a series of meetings about it.
It is quite obvious from newsreel footage that many of the knives being carried for self-defence are quite capable of inflicting a lethal injury.
The other group of people directly responsible is Theresa May and all of the members of Parliament who voted in support of her ‘Reforms’. I hold Theresa May personally responsible, because she made it personal with her vitriolic attacks on Police.
She then set about a series of cuts in the name of #Austerity that saw the Police Service reduced from 143,734 officers in March 2010 to 122,395 in September 2018. Not forgetting of course equally savage cuts to Police Staff and PCSOs. Even the unpaid Special Constabulary has shrunk.
Cuts of this magnitude cannot possibly be carried out without consequences. In my opinion the consequences in relation to total crime are quite clear.
To my way of thinking it is quite obvious that once the cuts began to bite total crime levels rose. It was slowly reducing until about 2012/13 when it began to go back up again.
The second unforgivable act by Theresa May personally was her insistence that Stop and Search is in some way wicked and must be reduced. In a speech to the Federation in 2014 she said
And I am determined that the use of stop and search must come down, become more targeted and lead to more arrests.
Well it did come down. What happened to Knife Crime?
Copyright Alan Wright Copyright Alan Wright
As Stop and Search came down then both Knife-related homicides and Knife Crime in general went up. 2014 she made her speech to the Federation demanding a reduction in Stop and Search. 2014 the number of Stop/Searches began reducing drastically. 2014 Knife Crime started to go back up again.
I know Gavin doesn’t necessarily agree with me (I haven’t changed my mind Gavin) but looking at the two charts above I am compelled to believe that there is a link between the two ‘curves’. I have yet to see a set of data that suggests putting more officers on the streets or increasing Stop and Search causes the crime rate to increase.
It is an absolute requirement of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act that officers have ‘grounds’ for conducting a search under s1 of the Act. s60 Stops are very different and can currently be authorised by an officer of Superintendent rank or above. No innocent person should fear being stopped by Police. It should be carried out courteously, with dignity and the officer should have a valid reason for carrying it out. You are always entitled to receive a written copy of the official record of that Stop/Search. In my experience people who object to being stopped and searched either have something to hide or are being whipped up by one or more of the professional agitators who pop their heads up every so often.
I have heard it stated by people who really should know better that the Met has a 20% ‘hit rate’ for Stops and Searches, i.e. a Target to be achieved. To my mind this is what they ‘hope’ to achieve, to make it a hard ‘Target’ would be both unethical and unlawful, but people still claim that is the case, but I don’t actually believe it.
One ‘Target’ we should be aiming for is 100%. We should aspire to remove 100% of those illegal weapons off of our streets. Every life that has been lost (vis a vis knife crime) and every injury inflicted has been caused by a knife unlawfully carried through the streets. More Police Officers on our streets making more use of Stop and Search has the ability to detect those knives, arrest the person(s) in possession of them, possibly act as a deterrent, and simply save lives. Compared to a life lost is it really a huge inconvenience to be erroneously Stopped and Searched? Provided that the grounds exist (or a s60 Order) of course.
The same applies to firearms although I do accept that there are other factors at play there.
To implicate the teaching profession or the NHS as somehow being at fault is totally unbelievable and inappropriate. Add into the mix cuts in Youth Services, Local Authority budgets, Teaching and Probation and it must be very close to a ‘Perfect Storm’.
There is one primary person at fault here, the person who said this:-
Any attempt to divert the blame to anybody else is just more Smoke and Mirrors, but we’ve come to expect that from her.
You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not going to regurgitate much of what I have previously written about Stop/Search or Knife Crime. Any or all of that is available in previous posts.
This really concerns the views of the Twitterati on the subject.
I posted a Poll on Twitter seeking people’s views on Stop/Search in relation to Knife Crime. I had no control over who responded to the poll and I requested that people retweeted it, so that it wasn’t solely my followers who responded and it became as random as possible.
It was set to run for just three days. Now the results are in.
Here's a controversial one. People of Britain:- should the Police increase Stop/Search activity in an all-out attempt to defeat #knifeCrime? Please Answer and RT
Quite a comprehensive result, only 3% think that Stop and Search doesn’t have a part to play and should not be increased in some way. HOWEVER, that is just the beginning. The majority of people who responded to the poll don’t seem to have a problem with Stop/Search within the context of Knife Crime. We have just seen the whole of Birmingham subject to a s60 PACE order for a few consecutive days. Did we have any significant complaints against that decision? No, I don’t think so. Did we see rioting on the streets of Birmingham in protest against it? No we did not. Therefore, I assume, that under the current crisis the majority of the public are broadly in favour of the tactic. The modern Police Service should be trusted to carry out Stop/Search ethically and lawfully, and they should be supported in so doing, not threatened like Theresa May did in 2014.
There are some people who think that I am promoting Stop/Search as some kind of silver bullet. I am not, but before I leave the topic I thought it would be useful to examine the long-term correlation between Stop/Search and Knife Crime.
Stop/Search data relates to s1 PACE only
Knife = Knife, Bladed Implement, Pointed Article
Stop/Search data relates to s1 PACE only
Knife = Knife, Bladed Implement, Pointed Article
I cannot state from pure data that there is a direct correlation between certain crimes and Police Numbers, but there is a distinct upturn in Knife-Related violence following Theresa May’s edict about Stop and Search in 2014, that is simply a FACT.
Do I think Stop/Search alone is the solution? Most definitely not. It is a complex problem and will require a bit of joined-up thinking before it is resolved. Dare I suggest a holistic, and multi-agency approach?
What has caused this problem? It didn’t used to be like this.
In my opinion, in 2010, something very significant happened. David Camoron became Prime Minister with Theresa May as his Home Secretary. Between them they dreamt up ‘Police Reform’. They engaged a man with no experience whatsoever of Policing to conduct a number of ‘independent’ reviews and come up with the cure. In tandem with this we conveniently had #Austerity. Just one result of that policy was the culling of approx 21,000 Police Officers. However, that is not the end of the problem. Alongside the cuts to Policing we witnessed cuts in Education, Justice, Probation, NHS and probably many others. We saw blind allegiance to the principle of privatisation in as much of the Public Sector as possible. Were sound, experienced, knowledgeable voices listened to when they spoke up against it? No they were not. The Tories were on a roll and not about to listen to anyone.
In short, all of these cuts and reductions of services has created a void, a ‘Perfect Storm’ which means that no single agency can tackle the problem alone.
Stop/Search has two main benefits, properly and lawfully conducted. It can increase the detections of these weapons. They are all carried through the streets and are ‘in play’ to be found. Secondly, the mere fact that Stop/Search is being conducted should act as a deterrent to youths carrying these lethal weapons. We should see a return of ‘fear’ on the streets. Not fear of being given a kicking by some bullyish Police Officer, but a fear of the consequences of being caught.
Sentencing is woeful. Long, strong sentences just for merely carrying a knife should be introduced and enforced. If you actually use a knife the sentence should be doubled, at least.
What has happened to Youth Clubs, After School Clubs and similar? Gone, another lamented victim of ‘the cuts’.
More and more kids are being excluded from school because the kids get frustrated and the schools don’t have the resources to adequately deal with them.
An absolute eternity ago, when I was a Community Bobby, we had any number of ways of engaging with the local youths. I worked in Brent at the time. It doesn’t get more multi-racial and multi-cultural than Brent. Did we have a problem with youths stabbing and killing each other? No we did not. Why not? Possibly because we engaged with the children at an early age. We were invited into schools and gave talks, and showed videos on the perils of playing near water, playing on railway lines, and other such dangerous pursuits. Were we laying down the law and forcing them to “do as I say”? No. I spent a week at a Teacher Training College learning how to talk to children. This was followed by an attachment to a school. We were not trying go bully them we were trying to educate them and save their lives.
Was I lefty, liberal officer that let the kids get away with everything? No. Ask anyone who knew me or worked with me. There was a line and if you crossed it you got nicked. I would happily hold my performance up against any other officer of my era, confidently. There is nothing wrong with being ‘busy’ but at the same time caring about the safety and well-being of the kids on your patch. Whatever their ethnicity, who knows what they will grow up to be, and become? They deserve to be taught how to stay safe and not to kill or injure others. We invested time, often our own, in the youths. In the main it paid off. Some invariably strayed from the path, the majority (from all cultures and backgrounds) did not. I am not aware that any of the youths I or my colleagues were involved with went on to kill or maim anyone. Knife fights and stabbings in general were almost non-existent, and it most certainly was NOT the norm to carry a ‘blade’.
Their parents supported us too. When the politics of the local council changed we were no longer invited into the schools as the ruling councillors had a problem with that. Was that the end of the programme? No it was not. The parents clubbed together and hired the local church hall for a session outside of school hours. Were those children resentful? No. Some of our number played football with them or coached them. In the streets it was “good morning Mr Smith” or whatever. They had respect, for us, and more importantly, for each other.
I was even invited to join the Board of Governors of the local Secondary School, so somebody outside of the Police Service must have thought we were doing something right.
Can we reintroduce this policy/practice? No we can not. Not any time soon. Even if there is a political and social will to do it, we can’t because we have lost 21,000 officers. We don’t have enough officers available to function at that level any more.
In short, the government have caused this. Specifically David Camoron and Theresa May. They have created all the factors that have led to the Knife Crime Crisis. Government policies have created a hole, a void, a vacuum that we cannot now fill. No, or little, intelligence now comes out of the communities to tell us who are responsible for these horrific crimes.
Increase Stop/Search? Yes, but that will not cure it alone.
Recruit xx000 more Police Officers? Yes, but they will not hit the streets for approx 6 months and then need to get up to speed on the streets, so that won’t be a quick fix. To replace the experience already lost will take literally years.
Give the Police £xx Million? Yes, but again, that will pay for certain things, but it certainly won’t cure the epidemic overnight.
Bring back Youth Clubs and After School Clubs etc? Yes, but where are the resources to allow it, and that won’t change children’s mentality/culture overnight.
Education? Vitally important to educate the children about the consequences of Knife Crime. Not “this is illegal, you must not do it” but a bit of a shock with graphic, if necessary, examples of Knife Crime, addresses from the various charities set up to help the victims of Knife Crime etc.
The government have starved many different services of resources. Some joined-up thinking needs to happen to identify how these shortages can be reversed. However this will not happen until Theresa May stands up and says “Sorry Britain, we got it wrong”. Can you see that happening?
This is not a quick fix problem. This is not a single agency solution. Anybody who thinks I was ever suggesting otherwise doesn’t know me very well. It shouldn’t really be a political football. Our children are being massacred, and the people who created the circumstances in which that crisis thrives are saying and doing precious little about it. I don’t care what ethic origin the kids are, neither the offenders nor the victims. The majority of them are children or young people and whatever they may have done, they do not deserve to die.
I am quite clear in my mind who is responsible for this disaster, and I have a reasonable idea what it will take to begin to end it, a combination of education, robust Policing, tougher sentencing and an appropriate level of resourcing, what I don’t know is how the hell we’re ever going to achieve it, and if we do, how long it will take.
The chart above tells the tale of Stop and Search across the 21st Century. I have my views but I’m sure that others more highly qualified than me will tell us that all is well.
“I have to tell you that this kind of scaremongering does nobody any good”
“This crying wolf has to stop.”
“No direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”
All of these quotes come from Theresa May. Since her disastrous time at the Home Office she has clearly no intention of changing her views. For years she has bashed the Police Service and now she is Prime Minister, no subsequent Home Secretary has been very successful at doing right by the Police Service.
No direct correlation? I’m not totally sure what she means exactly by ‘direct’ or what evidence she has to support this claim, but lets’s take a look at some lovely figures.
Total Knife Crimes in England and Wales have risen slowly from 2014, and then more steeply after 2016. Anything significant happen in 2014?
“I want to make myself absolutely clear: if the numbers do not come down, if stop and search does not become more targeted, if those stop-to-arrest ratios do not improve considerably, the government will return with primary legislation to make those things happen,”
Theresa May addressing the House of Commons in April 2014
Let’s take a look at what happened after that cracking little speech
It is possibly no surprise that the reduction in Stop & Search steepened after Mrs May’s 2014 diktat. Police Reform so far has Stop/Search declining and Knife Crime rising. How do mortalities look?
Initially peaking around 2008, then a steady decline until 2014 when the figure rises to its highest since 1977.
Let us not forget that all of these offences are reported and investigated by Front Line Officers, how have they fared?
Not very well perhaps.
Thanks to Theresa May’s ‘Police Reform’ it is incontrovertible that Police numbers have shrunk dreadfully. I believe that there is a direct correlation between Theresa May and Police numbers. Stop and Search numbers have fallen off the cliff, but don’t be fooled by the ‘better arrest ratio’ argument, a higher percentage of a much smaller number equates to less prisoners in the bin, and that is NOT an improvement. In parallel with this Knife Crimes are at some kind of record high. All those knives are carried through the streets, and even if there are no deterrents left, fewer Stop/Searches means a reduced opportunity to seize the weapon and arrest the offender. I heard a Professor from Loughborough University state that increased Stop/Search did not work, it merely criminalised more people. Carrying knives through the streets makes them a criminal before they ever get stopped. For these reason I believe there is a direct correlation between reduced Stop/Search and increased Knife Crime (but I’m no professor).
Just before I close this post, in an attempt to inject some context and corroboration into my piece, a few more (final) charts.
Stop/Search down, Knife Crime up, albeit only a 3 year study.
Total Crime also started to increase after 2014
Police Strength down, total crime up.
The population is steadily rising.
The number of officers per 100,000 head of population is steadily decreasing. Not to worry, we’re Great Britain, we’re still OK, surely? Really?
24th out of the 27 European countries studied in 2016, and since then the population has increased and Police numbers have shrunk further.
I have heard Theresa May described as ‘deluded’ or ‘delusional’. I don’t think she is. She is intelligent enough to know that she has caused this crisis, and she is arrogant enough to never say “Sorry, I screwed that one up”. She has got many things wrong during her political career, but I have never heard her once own up to it and set about putting it right.
I have no idea if there is a direct correlation between certain crimes and Police numbers, but I believe that there is. I also believe that there is a direct correlation between Theresa May’s policies and increased Knife Crime (and crime generally).
I would now like to see Theresa May personally address a conference hall full of Knife Crime survivors and the families of deceased victims. Would she dare to accuse them of ‘Crying Wolf’ and ‘scaremongering’? I suspect that they would rip her to shreds, metaphorically speaking.
In the meantime the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, is having an urgent meeting today with some NPCC types. I bet there isn’t one single practitioner in the room. Way to go.
My thanks to @julieanneda for bringing this article to my attention. Our Home Secretary Sajid Javid has finally got off his arse and done something about the rapidly escalating Knife Crime sweeping the country. He is apparently proposing Knife Crime Prevention Orders.
What are the main features of these Orders?
The measures will place curbs on suspects, such as limiting their use of social media to stop gang rivalries escalating online.
A breach of the order, which can be issued to anyone aged 12 or over who is believed by police to routinely carry a blade, will be a criminal offence that could result in up to two years in prison.
The knife crime prevention orders could also include restrictions relating to social media use. That should be particularly effective. Anybody prepared to carry a blade and stick it into another human being will definitely stay away from Twitter and Instagram if they’re told to.
The Home Office has also announced a £500,000 fund to help trading standards teams secure the prosecution of retailers who repeatedly sell knives to under-18s. I can’t help but think they’re targeting the wrong people here. Yes, it is wrong, they should definitely not be selling blades to youths, but they might eventually work out that they could just take one out of the kitchen drawer
Youths subject of such an order could be required to abide by curfews and geographical restrictions, and attend knife crime awareness courses. Knife Awareness Courses might work to a degree, education is never a bad thing, but curfews? In my humble opinion curfews only work in company with a programme of Curfew Visits designed to make sure that little Johnny is actually abiding by his curfew. Knock on his door and speak to him, don’t just take it for granted that he will abide by it. This won’t happen though for two reasons
Some Human Rights lawyer somewhere will decide this isn’t a fair tactic (I don’t see why not).The government has culled 21,000 officers so the Police Services no longer has the resources for proactivity such as this. This is what a Conservative government under Theresa May looks like.
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said Javid had missed the opportunity to significantly reduce the problem.
“The government is simply tinkering around the edges of this highly complex and very serious issue. While I cannot fault Mr Javid’s intentions I do not hold out much hope that these measures will have the dramatic impact I am sure he is hoping they will.”
Sarah Jones MP, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on knife crime, said:
”Knife crime is an epidemic which the government has failed to grip. Ministers have listened to our calls to intervene with young people at an earlier stage – but this proposal is flawed.
Analysis commissioned by the Guardian also showed that searches of black people were less likely to detect crime than those conducted on white people, and most stops found no wrongdoing. I would love to see that piece of work.
A weak proposal in my opinion. Street criminals now have no fear of being arrested. They know that resources are stretched and their chances have improved.