As I sat and listened to Amber Rudd this morning tell us that the rise in knife crime was nothing to do with the falling police numbers on the streets, I began at first to despair and then ponder on the wisdom of putting civil servants who are wet behind the ears in serious positions in the Government.
Having worked with a number of police forces across the UK, the US and in Europe, I can tell you now that the reduction of community policing and officers on the streets is not the only cause of a rise in knife crime. However, it is one of the contributing factors in a holistic issue that won’t go away until we have provided a multi-layered response to the way that we deal with the disaffected youth and growing demographic issues in our country. Yes, that’s the one, our “Little Britain,” as little we are in the bigger picture. But, however small we may be we still can’t deal with the major issues blighting our tiny isle.
How could Amber Rudd make such a faux pas in relation to the recognition that lower policing numbers were not one of the contributing issues to the problem when a paper produced by her own department said the contrary? This smacks of total incompetence and the view of someone who either lives in an unreal world or who is in total denial of the state that this country is in.
More police in the neighbourhood, liaison with community groups, education, using people who know the people responsible and the issues that need solving are just four of the ways in which we can approach this.
Listening to two ex-gang members on Radio 5 last week was incredibly humbling as they spoke eloquently about the real problems and how they could or should be solved. They identified that this is not just a male but a female issue as well, exploding the myth of the male blame culture that we keep focusing on. They pointed out that someone living in Kensington or Chelsea in a multimillion £ home does not understand the root cause of the problem. We need advisors from the estates where this is taking place. It is not about gangs but about a culture that has developed as the rich get richer and the poor are left to rot.
There is an antidote to this issue but it lies in a far more unpalatable and unpleasant answer for those motivated by money. It is to make Britain a fairer place to live and to spread the wealth and for once to look inwardly at ourselves and our greed which comes at the expense of others just trying to get by.
Our attitude stinks and the issue is never our lifestyle, it is always blamed on bad upbringing, poor educational attainment and home lives where the youth of today are left to their own devices. If you go down to Hackney or Poplar you see why we are in this mess. The unemployment, the no future and the lack of self-respect that people have which comes from the way we treat the so-called underclass that has developed because of our preoccupation with ourselves and the trappings of modern life.
This is not about education as we know it but the way in which we centralise money and the trappings of wealth as the focus of our lives. We forget experience, family and community life and turn to something that for many is only attainable by violence and the deaths of others, often innocent bystanders.
The key problems are the upper and middle classes and the politicians who won’t relinquish the minutest grip on the resources that could make our society work. If it continues we will all rue the day when those on the streets said: “We told you so”.
Do something now, make a difference and look to those closest to the issue to give help when it is needed. You don’t need a degree and a double-barrelled name to make policy just a brain and many politicians walking the halls of Westminster just don’t have a clue. Amber Rudderless needs to get a grip before it’s too late.