Now I know I’m not the first or the last person to speak about this subject, but it’s too big, too serious and too major an issue not to comment about.
According to the latest news headlines (of which there are many, I’m afraid), London police investigated more murders than their New York counterparts did over the last two months.
Stats published by London’s Metropolitan Police Service and the New York Police Department recently revealed that there were 15 murders in London in February compared to 14 in New York. Meanwhile, during March 22 murders were investigated in London and 21 reports in New York.
While London seems to be in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, it would appear it’s an issue that’s not isolated to the capital. Interestingly, the Office for National Statistics’ latest quarterly figures show that knife crime is on the rise UK-wide – by 21% over the last 12 months to be precise.
How did it ever get to this situation? And, more importantly, what’s being done about it?
Well, the political parties are using the problem as an excuse to argue about the Government’s reduction in police resource. Earlier this month, we heard how leaked Home Office documents reportedly revealed that cuts to the police ‘may have encouraged’ violent offenders and have ‘likely contributed’ to a rise in serious violent crime.
Yes, police resources do relate to the current picture that’s prevalent on London’s streets, but let’s get back to the real issue here guys, how to solve the problem.
The real problem here is undoubtedly centred around prevention.
If more time and more effort was put into investing in the social, economic and physical regeneration of offenders, then they may just have a greater chance of accessing the health, housing, care support and intervention services that they clearly need at an earlier stage in their lives. As the age-old saying goes, prevention is better than cure in most circumstances, and these circumstances are certainly no exception.
I say this because I know and have seen, first hand, so many amazing examples of social inclusion and national projects that are making a real difference. But these projects can only succeed, if people are prepared to learn from the experiences associated with them.
My concern is that it isn’t quite happening right now, which is a real shame a) because it’s undermining the efforts of all those who are involved in delivering these fantastic schemes and b) it’s not rocket science!
Right now, there’s far too much dependence on government and statutory bodies and not enough focus on social enterprises and community-led initiatives, there are so many positive community led initiatives out there to learn from and invest in.
Granted – knife crime and violent attacks aren’t going to go away by waving a magic wand (if only it were that easy), but the issue’s also not going to be solved anytime soon with tit for tat debates on subjects that are skirting around the main issues, while in the meantime, the murder rate continues to rise.
Collaboration, communication and more social and community intervention is needed. In some areas, it’s encouraging to see small pockets of progress are being made, now’s the time to step up these efforts, pronto.