Monday, 7 July 2008

Payback Time at last?

Not the solution to knife crime

The Met have formed a 75 strong squad to combat the knife problem in London. I assume these are coming from some centralised crime squads and will involve pro-active plain clothes patrols. I think these will have more impact then the knife search arches, which have just been renamed screening arches. No doubt some extra home office money has been made available.

6 or 7 years ago you couldn't mention gangs in partnership meetings, without being accused of racism, so at least we can now discuss the problem. I've already discussed my views in previous posts, and don't have all the answers. I can think of some short term solutions that could help. The police are a big gang, so lets tackle this in a way these youths do understand.

When I was on the riot squad several years ago, we could sort out problem estates easily enougth. We were tasked to a problem estate, where the local police office was getting stoned and the yobs were intimidating the local units. On day one we were given the faces, and I was on foot patrol with a female colleague. An approaching yob sneered and mouthed some obscenity at us, before wondering why he was face down in the gravel a few seconds later. He joined the rest of my crew in the bus for a fun journey to custody.

He was whinging like the little girl he really was. In custody he whinged to all and sundry and the Chief Insp came down to see the first body in the bin. He tore a strip off the yob and told him to send the message back to the estate, that they'd crossed the line and now was payback time. Good man him, went to high ACPO rank before retiring.

We had a fun couple of days, but thereafter as soon as our buses went onto the estate, mothers would come running out to get their kids in. They had got the message. It isn't pretty but it is effective. A few police buses fully manned up should just trawl about and throw the nets out in directed areas, intelligence led of course. This is important, the impact must be felt by the street gangs. I would put on board some community officers, to smooth things over with the "friendly fire" victims, but the vocal parents of the "faces" can get stuffed, people are dying here.

By actually imposing their new sentencing guidelines re knives they might just get on top of it for the summer.

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