Temporary working capital

Police met failed to overcome rise in knife crime due to over-reliance on checks and searches, study finds

“In recent years, the Met has relied too heavily on this one tactic alone, without gaining support for its activities from the communities most in need of help,” the report said.

“This is compounded by the failure to correct the misleading account of checks and searches claiming that some communities are subject to higher standards than others.”

“The real injustice is that young black men are nine times more likely to die from homicide in London than young white men, with that number rising to 24 times more likely across the UK.”

The report also found that more than a quarter of knife killings in the capital‘s gangs (29.4%) are linked to ultra-violent “exercise” music.

Adidas was named and humiliated in the report for promoting notorious rapper Headie One (Irving Adjei), continuing to do so even after being sent to jail for knife possession.

The Met said the stop and search resulted in 400 guns being taken off the streets each month, but added: “We are taking action to better listen and address concerns. We are working with our communities to improve our use of control and search, including involving them in improving our training through their lived experiences of being arrested and searched.

The Met must study the data to resolve the imbalance in its strategy

A young black man growing up in London is nine times more likely to be murdered than his white peers, which is 24 times more likely when you consider the UK as a whole. writes Sir Mark Rowley. Pause and think about why we don’t hear this number too frequently in the policing debate, but “Stop and Search Disproportionality” reports seem to be coming out every week. Why are we more concerned with criticizing police operations than understanding the reason for the tragic concentration of crime in a few communities?

I was brought in to collaborate with Policy Exchange on their insightful new report, Knife Crime in the Capital, to try to help break the dangerous deadlock in the debate over policing, arrests and searches and knife crime. .

Policy Exchange reveals that the temporary reduction in types of violent knife crime during the pandemic will only be temporary. Much of the reduction in knife crime since 2019 has been attributed to coronavirus restrictions, not an effective strategy to counter it.

Moreover, the widely reported fatal stab wounds are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to knife crime data. Under the surface, hidden in the most dangerous areas of the capital, hundreds of wounds are inflicted on young people each year by knives. It is only improvements in NHS trauma care that have kept the number of people killed with knives from skyrocketing in recent decades.

Policy Exchange has also provided a unique analysis of the different strategies used in major cities and finds that London takes a vastly different approach to West Midlands, Merseyside and West Yorkshire. Having policed ​​in Birmingham, Surrey and London and led national policing duties during my career, I understand how necessary certain differences in approach between police forces are. However, it seems extraordinary that the Met’s arrest and search rate is 5.5 times that of West Yorkshire, but the rate at which they apprehend drug dealers (usually recorded only upon arrest) is lower. one-third that of Merseyside, and the strength of Neighborhood Police services in London make up just over half of those in the West Midlands and less than half of those in Merseyside.

The Met appears to take a highly repressive approach, but devotes less resources and effort to community policing and proactive prosecution of drug gangs. This is not an argument against the stop and search – it is a vital tactic that the commissioner was right to increase – but it is an argument for a fresh look at whether a different combination of tactics can be more effective.

Having seen the evidence presented in this report from the limited amount of public data, I do not understand why organizations such as the College of Policing or Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services do not produce this type of analysis. . These are the organizations tasked with inspecting police activities and bringing a science-based approach to ‘what works’ in policing, but they have failed to raise public awareness of the unusual and seemingly unsuccessful imbalance of the strategy. of the Met. The Home Secretary, the mayor, police and police commissioners and police chiefs can hardly be expected to make the best decisions if the quality of the research presented to them is below the standard. mean.

While I know the police side of fighting knife and gang crime, I was shocked by Policy Exchange’s revelations about the societal context in which these crimes occur. This report reveals how social media has transformed gang relations and highlights the appalling lack of action by social media companies against the promulgation of illegal activity on their platforms. This is compounded by the complicity of the music, entertainment and fashion industry, which turns a blind eye to the context in which certain exercise music is created, offering lucrative record and advertising contracts regardless. pending criminal cases in which their clients are involved. Sponsoring criminals before they have served their full sentence not only undermines the criminal justice system, but also sets an atrocious example for younger generations – who often lack positive role models – of the real consequences of committing crime. ‘a crime.

Policing is a difficult profession and is inevitably controversial, as it does, around the fractures within communities where the dangerous and the vulnerable collide. It is time to take a more constructive, innovative and collaborative approach to solving this all too real tragedy, and we as a society must consider the consequences of the naive legitimization of gang culture, the victims of which are concentrated in some communities.

Sir Mark Rowley was Assistant Commissioner of Specialized Operations for the Metropolitan Police Service from 2014 to 2018.

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