THE current upsurge in violent crime is deeply concerning, and the Home Secretary’s announcement today of measures to crack down on the carrying of knives and acid is to be welcomed.
Yet Amber Rudd’s assertion that there are sufficient police numbers to tackle the wave of violence emanating from a disturbing gang culture among some young people is open to question.
Labour is right to point out that police numbers have fallen in recent years, and that must inevitably put pressure on forces which are striving to both catch offenders and gather intelligence on gangs in order to prevent violence before it occurs.
Nevertheless, the nature of these offences, and the culture that lies behind them, does demand a new approach.
Deterring the young from carrying knives and acid is essential, as is extending the use of stop-and- search powers.
Concerns about civil liberties must not stand in the way of officers with reasonable suspicions searching a suspect for weapons.
But in concert with new measures targeting offenders, the Government should also be addressing the culture that is promoting violence. Some social media content glamorises gangs, and the platforms that carry it should either remove it voluntarily or be compelled to do so. There are groups of young people, particularly in deprived urban areas, who are being drawn towards gangs out of a misplaced sense of loyalty. If the violence is to be stopped in the long term, they must be guided away from this dangerous course and its tragic consequences.