Cuts, cuts, cuts!
This is by far the single largest contributing dynamic to the increase in this huge epidemic and can be proved by the increases in those crimes within a short period of any of the major government initiatives over the last few years. Taking a good look at the factors listed below, one can quite easily recognise the significance of those cuts by the government on those aspects, and a severe lack of attention in those other declining services, overseeing a near total collapse in the fabric of society that enables the knife crime epidemic to rapidly escalate to the proportions that we now have today.
Lower Police numbers, no more ‘local’ police stations, and fewer officers ‘on the beat’,
inconsistent sentencing by the courts and more relaxed laws on granting bail,
a lack of Borstals specifically used for detaining and correcting young offenders,
the mass closures of the youth centres and recreational facilities,
a lack of mental health facilities and the non-functioning care in the community,
relatively poor housing and depravation, poorer living standards for the large majority,
and last the decent education standards not being delivered rather than the adhering of those meaningless targets.
There have always been those fights and skirmishes with our mostly younger male members of society where one or more individuals, groups and gangs, and less often with the girls participating too, would have a fight and you could guarantee that someone would get a good ‘kicking’ but that was usually as far as it went. Today, allied with those conditions defined above, those same young people have both inadvertently and dangerously slipped unconsciously into a dark lawless nether region where few are comfortable and are now far too willing to use a deadly weapon like a knife to ‘protect’ themselves, more so than a fist or a boot as in the past, in order to inflict damage and exact revenge. I have also just received a valuable contribution from a good friend, post draft, who points out that ‘well brought up people don’t stab, regardless if there are no coppers & no youth clubs’ – thanks David Blue! I will add too that many families have no choice other than to have the only parent or both parents go out to work and leave the kids ‘Home Alone’, like Macaulay Culkin, to make ends meet, especially those multinationals facing impossible demands from our own government just to remain here, as my brother reminded me too! Had another suggestion that the justice system is also to blame for having inadequate deterrents and knife carriers would be discouraged by long prison sentences and so the problem will be half solved – thanks Mad Max!
Well you might say, kids will always be kids and there will always be fights and so likewise a confrontation is always inevitable, but sadly the weapon has become the first choice method of retribution due to this degradation in society caused solely by the politicians. Oh yes, one could also argue that both the parent(s) and the wider society are also culpable to some degree and in some cases they have indeed recklessly abdicated and abandoned their own responsibilities towards quelling this cataclysmic decline in moral standards, however, by contrast, the politicians are patently and woefully inadequate at every level and are totally neglectful by the severe lack of any real and positive action on their part, with recognisable outcomes that are both tangible and measurable and can stand up to public scrutiny.
There are many good local councillors and national politicians from all parties that are very able and can propose a series of decent measures that would have an immediate impact on this dire situation, but with every day that passes it also becomes so painfully obvious that this is not going to happen any time soon. Recently, we had the Prime Minister say that the cuts in policing did not have any bearing on the increase in knife crime, (a barefaced lie if ever there was), followed soon after by the head of the London Metropolitan Police acknowledging a direct link between the sharp increase in knife crime due to the cuts. They can’t both be right, but I know who I would trust if I had to choose!
Two days ago the Mayor of London, having been severely criticised for both going on a short holiday break during a crisis after the latest stabbing hit the headlines and also saying that the increase in knife crime was a national health issue – we then had some glib and rather pathetic Conservative Party politician promptly ‘rubbish’ the Mayor for not recognising that knife crime was first and foremost a criminal consideration. He simply could not resist the very public opportunity live on radio to ‘bash’ the Mayor, a member of the opposition Labour Party, without him then also realising that this was in fact the same conclusion reached earlier by a think tank and proposed policy initiatives within his own party and needing others to clarify his position as not being a departure from official policy.
This is why I personally believe that this mess can only have occurred as a result of the perfect storm created by the mad cocktail of a decline in standards due to the cuts, and the indifference from our politicians of all classes and their willingness to pass the blame elsewhere, and neither do I think that they are ever going to come round to recognising this any time soon. This is mainly due to the frequent petty and opportunistic ‘politicking’ and policies that are driven by ideology rather than the requirement and the need to protect the public first. Analytically, the reality of their solution to this is: first cut the police officer numbers, and then simultaneously increase the workload and demand a greater level of apprehending the criminal element – you could not even dream up a more nonsense position than this for a movie script without sounding quite so ridiculous and Sir Winston Churchill, as in the film Darkest Hour with Gary Oldman in the role, would surely have known better!
Only the politicians can deploy the required resources and bring forward a progressive programme of measures to make significant changes, more so than anyone else, and this is why I believe that we should firmly put the blame for this unholy mess, called knife crime, squarely at their door.