Last year I wrote a post titled pretty patterns about the rise of gang culture. This centred on the relatively young ages of the children involved, the level and viciousness of their criminality and my concerns for their futures.
Another youth murder committed by schoolchildren hits the headlines and nearly 20 youths are arrested having allegedly been involved in a gang fight at Victoria train station in the midst of the rush hour. Let me hazard a guess as it's not been reported, and state here now that at least 80% of those involved are from a visible ethnic minority. Is is not only a couple of weeks ago that there was massive negative press about stop and search figures where police were criticised for stopping black youths disproportionally? This is what happens in reality when these kids have it out in public.
After I wrote that post there was relative peace in my shopping centre, at least on the days we had a police presence. There were the odd days when it was different. When you got two opposing groups the atmosphere was electric waiting for it to kick off. Having police uniforms right there on the scene didn't ease that and it wouldn't have stopped the groups clashing. There had to be a dominating presence from our side to remove the smaller group from the area. It would be fair to say neither group had any fear of police or any sanctions including arrest that might have been considered. Making arrests would in fact kick it off, and although some might have seen our responses as overbearing towards youths believe me - it was the right way to maintain the peace. Once they'd chilled over the following days we all got on just fine again.
It was a prophetic post in many ways and no doubt replicated across the metropolis. Young black youth are dying on the streets but still the police are battered for being institutionally racist. I've read the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and found it tried to be helpful in finding answers, however the conclusions are open to interpretation. It has been written that, one of the greatest paradoxes of your physical senses, is that your eyes actually show you what you believe, not what you see.
It's time some people opened their eyes and understand what's happening on the streets and who is actually paying the price. The Met have impacted with their Operation Blunt where extra police are drafted in on PSU's to tackle the gangs through directed stop and search. It ain't pretty but it shows who rules the streets when they're out and no doubt it's saved a few lives.