EVEN though violent crime is of continuing concern to police chiefs, and law-abiding members of the public, here in Yorkshire, it is London where gang warfare appears to have spiralled out of control.
As the number of murders this year in the capital approaches 120, it appears there is a perfect storm of neglect as a breakdown in family life, and eight years of austerity, results in a generation of disillusioned and disenfranchised young men.
The consequence is children as young as nine being caught carrying knives as parts of the UK are turned into the “Wild West” according to Assistant Chief Constable, Jacqueline Sebire, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead officer for serious violence.
Yet, while the Home Office denies that the rise in violent crime is linked to reductions in police numbers which las led to Yorkshire’s forces losing over 3,000 staff since 2010, the public appears to disagree. They believe cuts to community policing have now gone too far and should be reversed.
However this is only part of the solution – there needs to be a far greater understanding about why young men are arming themselves with dangerous weapons in the first place and just what can be done to take these knifes, and guns, out of circulation.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, says it could take a decade to reconcile this conundrum. Yet, by then, it will be too late – London’s reputation will be such that international visitors stay away from the capital, and Britain, because they no longer feel safe in a city which welcomed the world as recently as 2012 when it hosted the Olympics to global acclaim.