EVEN THOUGH Amber Rudd is perceived to be a safe pair of hands, the Home Secretary’s response to the outbreak of violent crime fails to provide the necessary reassurance.
Not only has she not read critical analysis prepared by her own department which cites cuts to police numbers as a factor, but – by her own admission – she’s not met any of the grieving families of the 50 people killed in London this year to date.
And while Ms Rudd will be hoping a £40m clampdown on the possession of offensive weapons, and corrosive substances, will have the desired effect, the crisis is immediate. She needs to consider the following. First, police should resume stop and search tactics. Though Theresa May scaled backed back this approach because of concerns that ethnic minorities were singled out without good reason, police officers are now fitted with body cameras which reduces any concerns still held by civil liberty campaigners. After all, those Labour politicians demanding a return to this method of policing are the same individuals who were calling for it to be halted.
Second, Ms Rudd – and local police chiefs – need to realise that drugs are the source of many of the bloody gang feuds being fought out. Not only this, but they need to make a far harder line, at a far earlier stage, with those caught in possession of offensive weapons.
Finally, Ms Rudd should remind chief constables – and crime commissioners – that they have responsibility for implementing crime prevention strategies tailor-made to the specific needs of their local communities. It’s not just the Home Office with questions to answer. If this means the reallocation of police resources, priorities and budgets as a short-term response, then it’s a small price to pay to stop this cycle of violence spiralling even further out of control and creating the impression that the Tories – the supposed party of law and order – have gone soft on crime and its causes.