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Simon Marcus: More police, less knife crime. But try telling our politicians that


In 2016 I explained that government cuts to stop and search would lead to rises in knife and gun crime. Earlier this year I explained how this steadily increasing death toll could be reversed. But the police are in a politically correct straitjacket, 35 teenagers have been stabbed to death this year and the problem is set to worsen.

The government is clueless. Dominic Raab, minister for courts and justice, thinks it is getting tough on knife crime. Police Minister Nick Hurd says the link between police numbers and crime ‘are not as clear as people think’, and Sadiq Khan is campaigning with rap stars, bloggers and poets using social media to tell youngsters not to pick up a knife.

I spent years working with excluded teenagers in Tottenham. It felt as if gangs and drug dealers owned the streets. We often had to put kids in taxis to make sure they got home in one piece. People didn’t feel safe. That is why so many carry weapons. Now there are even fewer police. Poets and bloggers won’t stop a knife in the belly, so their words aren’t much use.

Moreover, many politicians are ideologically prohibited from accepting the clear solutions to the problem, which are: a minimum 25 per cent rise in police numbers in England, sustained high levels of stop and search along with more accountability, life sentences for violent repeat offenders and better interventions and life chances for first-time offenders.

Politicians’ denial reaches epic proportions in light of the evidence provided by differences in policing between Scotland and England which, inadvertently, have set up a sad experiment that proves the point.

In Scotland, there are over 25 per cent more police per capita than in England, and stop and search reached a peak in 2015, with one in five youths stopped in the Greater Glasgow area. After years of this strong policing, knife crime in Scotland dipped to a 29-year low.

In England, Theresa May did the opposite. From 2014 she slashed both police numbers as well as stop and search levels. Further, violent repeat offenders continued to receive light sentences and returned to the streets in months. So knife and gun crime began to rise to the levels we see now.

The contrast is clear, but there is even more. In 2016, through a bizarre reverse logic, Scotland did a U-turn and followed England’s lead, slashing their levels of stop and search. The United Nations said it was a breach of human rights.

Can you guess what happened? In less than a year street and knife crime in Scotland has rebounded. In Dundee, crime involving bladed weapons has surged by 220 per cent.

The trend is set to continue as political correctness grips our institutions. The College of Policing provides an example of this in its recent study on stop and search. It focused on small areas – borough level in London, short timescales – ‘one week/month’, and failed to examine the impact of sentencing where a weapon was found.

Pseudo-research with these criteria is unconsciously designed to undermine stop and search. But while the College of Policing partially achieved this, it had to concede that high stop rates were ‘occasionally’ followed by ‘very slightly lower levels of crime’.

This conclusion is enlightened compared with its other recent guidance which advised police officers that the smell of cannabis alone was not sufficient reason for a stop and search. Whoever came up with that has never seen what synthetic cannabis can do to people.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the answers remain as clear as the pain caused by this avoidable crime wave. Following the 2011 August riots, public disgust at the breakdown of law and order forced the government to crank up the criminal justice system.  The police surge lasted for months, stop and search surged too, violent repeat offenders went to prison for longer (but not long enough), and crime fell through the floor.

Can you guess what happened when many of these violent repeat offenders were released in 2013? Crime went up again.

Between this case study and the English/Scottish experiences in policing you couldn’t get a clearer picture. A researcher should lap it up, but sadly our culturally Marxist academics can’t even join the dots. They are dedicated to proving that crime is due solely to inequality, poverty and racism. To them, tough policing is blaming the victim. Values and personal responsibility are irrelevant.

This is also convenient for Tory politicians looking to make cuts and bash the police.

The young gangsters I knew understood they had licence to continue. One of them said to me: ‘The police don’t care if we stab each other because we’re black’. I would say the police aren’t allowed to care because to do so could risk accusations of racism.

So the crime wave will continue, the poorest areas will suffer the most, minority communities will suffer in particular, tens of thousands of children will live in fear of leaving their homes and dozens will be maimed or killed as civic society retreats. Our intellectually and morally weak rulers don’t understand that these are the human rights that really matter.

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Simon Marcus
Simon Marcus
Simon is co-founder of the Boxing Academy and a former Government adviser on education policy.

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