Why London is now a stabbing hotspot.

Author:Goodwin, Clayton
Position:LETTER FROM LONDON - London, England - Column

London has become notorious for a seemingly unending series of fatal stabbings. The perpetrators and victims are mostly black. What is behind this upsurge of violence?

London--with other major cities in the land--is in the grip of an epidemic of fatal stabbings. This news has become so commonplace that it is no longer news. A young person, almost always a teenaged boy, sustains lethal wounds. Victim, assailant(s) and witnesses are usually black.

The media describe the incident in detail. Specialists--often with no professional training--tell television audiences that 'something must be done'. Politicians pronounce opinion and judgement, blaming it all on their opponents' failed policies. Then everybody waits for the next violent incident to come along, which it does with the frequency of the arrival of London buses.

The public regard these deadly assaults by knife and, occasionally, gun, as being black-on-black crime and often gang-related. Why not that is how they are shown in the media coverage? As far as it goes, the reporting is the truth, frequently nothing but the truth--but, as we shall see, it is not the whole truth of what Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, has referred to as a "national emergency".

Too many young people from our readership catchment are paying the penalty for--what? No two people, it seems, can quite agree.

Theresa May, present Prime Minister and former Home Secretary with direct responsibility, denied that the reduction in the police numbers has influenced the rise in violence.

Commissioner Cressida Dick, the senior police officer in London, contradicted her. She went further and linked the killings to a cocaine epidemic in which young black lives in the inner-city are being sacrificed to feed the drug habit of middle-class white people living in the "respectable" county countryside.

Boris Johnson, former Mayor of London, weighed in by blaming the situation on "political correctness" and opposition to the stopping and searching of suspects. Incidentally, contrary to received speculation, I do not know any African/Caribbean person who objects in principle to the policy of "stop and search"--only to the biased manner in which it has been carried out, and to the failure to accept that as many young people carry weapons primarily for their own defence, society must be made safe simultaneously.

violence normalised

Violence has become so normal that few people pay it attention unless they are...

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