Monday, June 02, 2008

Knife Crime

Well I'm only away barely a week and all sorts go on.

So the government will solve knife crime by a multi million pound poster campaign? Well, that'll work.

I am fed up of people asking me what we're going to do about it. I normally now just simply turn the question round and ask what they think we should do. This usually provokes a bit of a bluster and one of two responses- "I don't know, just something", or an indignant "I don't know, its your job to figure it out".

Well, no. It's everyone's job. Especially parents. Especially government and local authorities who need to give schools the proper resources- and I don't mean posters- to speak to these kids who look like they're certain to end up through my custody suite doors. I have relatives in the education system and the potential to stop a lot of children and youths going feral is clearly there, but the government and the Daily Mail readership is only obsessed with the three R's to the exclusion of everything else. Difficult kids are invariably seen as a drain and a diversion of resources and it is rare to find a school (through no fault of their own) prepared to put the time and effort into these kids to stop them becoming one of my regular customers.

So what would I personally do? Well, nothing more than I do at the moment. Legislation is sufficient and is actually fairly common sense. To not quote exactly, to have a pointed or bladed article without lawful reason is the offence, but the lawful reason is not specified and is open to interpretation.

It's a cliche but it isn't the knife thats the problem, it's the person carrying it. I have on my kit belt a multi tool with not one but three blades that should I ever decide to use it that way would cause horrible injuries, and is easily strong enough to penetrate far enough to be fatal.

Carrying it on my kit belt at work is fine. I've used it for a number of things including fixing door frames and sawing the tops off plastic bottles.

Take it down the pub with me, different kettle of fish.

This may be controversial, but police don't need to do any more. We could search more people, but that'd need the removal of the reasonable grounds to suspect clause out of the search legislation. At the moment, when we find people with knives, or screwdrivers, or anything else in circumstances we find dubious, we bring them in.

They go to court- and herein lies the problem. What deterrent is a £50 fine. Spin a yarn about they forgot it was in the car door or they left it in their back pocket after fixing a loose screw and off you go. Unless you are daft enough to talk in interview how you planned on using it against anyone whether self defence or not you'll never get a punishment bigger than a big saturday booze up.
Knife crime is one of those things where prevention is far far better than the too-late time when we happen to search them. However, the government is ploughing money only into something visible and something people can see and talk about. Utterly unsurprising. Putting the money where it'd be useful won't have the instant, visible, talk-about-at-the-next-election results the government quite clearly crave.

Next post- what's this I hear about Chief Constables officially going against the government grain and binning sanction detection targets?

(Useful website I came across: )