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London's streets slick with blood

Messages  1 - 20 of 109

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Message 1 - posted by Pythagoras, Nov 10, 2006

As a father of three young men and two young ladies and living in one of Greater London’s safest areas, I share every parent’s nightmare that when their child leaves home he or she may not return. I know I am not alone in feeling increasingly unsafe on the streets of not only London but all of our cities, towns and villages today, as the relatively safe London I was born into 54 years ago is not the extremely dangerous London of today or, indeed, of any British city, town or village. For instance, if I need to travel after sundown I either drive or take a taxi, as public transport can be fraught with danger. This year I was assaulted in three separate unprovoked instances whilst travelling in daytime on public transport and now, along with many of my neighbours, colleagues and friends resident in London, I am aware that every time we leave home we may very well not return.

The rationale for our concerns is supported by the very recent unprovoked murders in London of Damilola Taylor in Peckham, John Monckton in Chelsea, Thomas ap Rhys Pryce in Willesden, Richard Whelan in Holloway Road, Daniel Pollen in Romford and Mary-Ann Leneghan in Reading, amongst many others. London in particular seems to be populated by untouchable and amoral feral gangs armed to the teeth, whose novel mode of shopping is to steal what they want from others who resist them at the cost of their lives, and to launch unprovoked attacks on anyone they consider has “disrespected” them.

To understand my fears may I suggest that the CCTV footage showing the murder in 2005 of Daniel Pollen and the nearly fatal stabbing of his friend Andrew Griffiths, both 20-year-old University students out on the town celebrating Andrew’s birthday, be viewed online at the Daily Mail website in order that those who may not share my concerns understand how unsafe it is to be on the streets of our cities and towns after dark. The CCTV footage runs for the entire length of the episode, with three gang members approaching the innocent boys, and chillingly features the assaults and then the murder on camera. Families of both of the boys supported the release of the shocking CCTV footage in a bid to raise awareness of knife crime. The two boys are the exact age (in one case) and build of my own lads and, but for the grace of God, it could have been them or any of your own children.

Attacks by strangers are now the largest component of overall violent crime in England and Wales, constituting 35 per cent of violent crime in 2005, compared with 24 per cent in 1995. 30 per cent of homicides involve a knife and totalled in excess of 1,200 crimes involving knives in London last year, with males aged 16 to 24 at the greatest risk.

Recently released Home Office figures for England and Wales show the number of people arrested for possessing an offensive weapon, other than a gun, has risen by 46% to 35,727 in the past five years. Knives are a common weapon in this category and 29% of the 820 murders last year were carried out using knives.

In 2005 there were 12,211 knife offences in London, including murder, serious assault, robbery and possession of an offensive weapon, with robbery and assault accounting for the largest proportion of offences. A survey for the Youth Justice Board in 2004 showed that up to 60,000 children aged 11 to 16 had carried knives, and New Scotland Yard figures show that 41 per cent of offenders arrested for carrying knives are aged between 15 and 18.

Currently there is a maximum two year sentence for carrying a knife in public without good reason and a maximum five years in jail for carrying an offensive weapon such as a flick knife, but Home Secretary John Reid is urgently considering a new increased minimum sentence for carrying knives in public.

The recent knife amnesty operated by the national and Metropolitan Police has not made the slightest impact on the number of knife attacks, widely reported in the national media, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities since the amnesty was introduced illustrates. I feel it is vitally important to state that it is not knives that are the problem, as every home with a kitchen houses at least six knives, but the problem is the classes of people who choose to convert utilitarian kitchen equipment into deadly weapons and who do not to hesitate to use these in order to perpetrate their nefarious and murderous deeds.

The advice I have been given by my neighbourhood safety officers, backed up by common sense, is to assume that all strangers could be carrying concealed weapons and that it would require very little input from me to precipitate them into using these against my person. The specific advice I have been given is not to react or respond if confronted but to beat a hasty retreat safely; not to make eye contact; not to allow myself to be engaged in conversation; not to allow myself to be physically touched; not to be drawn in to confrontations between strangers but to call 999 if I feel a call is merited; to always have my cell-phone switched on when travelling and, finally, to always let family members, friends and colleagues know where I am travelling to and what time to expect me and, if I can not be traced via my cell-phone, to advise the police. This is not paranoia, but modern life in London.

There has been a spate of fatal stabbings recently, including the killing of father-of-three, Barry Wilson, who died on the doorstep of his home in Bristol, “Good Samaritan” Ian Montgomery, knifed as he went to help a woman who was being attacked outside a bar in Nottingham; “Good Samaritan” student Thomas Grant, knifed as he went to help a woman who was being attacked by her partner on a train in Cumbria; Marlvin Jiro, who was stabbed to death during a fight after a night out with friends in Birmingham, and an unnamed 19-year-old shop assistant who was knifed inside Wood Green Shopping City after an argument with a gang.

The fatal stabbings of 15-year-old Kiyan Prince and Special Constable Nisha Patel-Nasri in London had already led to calls for tougher penalties for those caught carrying knives, but how many now recall the tragic slaughter of Richard Whelan, referred to above, a young man on his way home with his girlfriend on the top deck of a number 43 London bus when a hooded black male stated throwing chips at her. Richard stood up and asked him to stop but got stabbed six times. Despite his injuries, Richard attempted to stop the killer getting away, before collapsing on the bottom deck of the bus.

The worst was yet to come. As he lay dying all his fellow passengers looked the other way except one young woman who comforted him and kept asking them for help but was ignored by everyone else. As Tony Parsons wrote about the murder in his Daily Mirror column on 8 August 2005, people today are “Scared of getting involved. Scared of trouble. Scared of saying the wrong word to some disgusting thug because they might end up with a blade in their heart and bleeding to death on a filthy floor. But if you can understand the timidity of those bus passengers when confronted with the chip-throwing lout, the way they acted when danger had passed is beyond all human understanding. Richard Whelan deserved to die in better company than amongst the gutless, heartless passengers on that number 43 bus. We hear a lot about have-a-go heroes. But the sad, shameful fact is that most people are got-to-go zeroes.”

Richard’s killer was eventually caught and charged with stabbing him to death. The Officer in charge of the case, Detective Chief Inspector John Macdonald said: “Mr Whelan did absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever. This was a totally unprovoked attack by someone who obviously carries a knife as a matter of course." As do so many today. Knives are the must-have death-style accessories which complement contemporary hip hop, ragga, drum ‘n bass, grime, grunge and urban ‘gangsta’ culture embraced by the feral gangs who now seen to own the streets and precincts of not only London but many other British cities, towns and villages.
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Message 2 - posted by metallicgreenfrog, Nov 10, 2006

I have to agree with most of the sentiment here. I work in London and live in Romford just the other week there was yet another stabbing in Romford in broad daylight midweek outside the station. The CCTV footage of the 2 boys waiting for their lift home still chills me as they were innocently waiting causing no trouble thinking they were safe. I am in fear of travelling alone both in London and Romford and surrounding areas. I will never make eye contact with any youths and I keep myself firmly to myself when travelling on public transport. The situation is getting worse not better, it is a common news item to hear of street murders these days I know I am not alone in how I feel. I am concerned as there seems to be no police on the street therefore there is no protection for the law abiding person in the street and the yobs who cause this chaos are allowed to continue to mug, murder and make lives a misery. We need better laws not to hug the hoodies or give them a slap on the wrist but to ensure there are better controls and that the public feel safe we need the police actually policing the areas we live making sure that towns dont turn into no go areas that people of all ages can walk in safety no matter what time of day. I am not sure what the solution is, is it better laws or more police? If so then why is it not happening?
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Message 3, Nov 11, 2006

This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

Message 4 - posted by metallicgreenfrog, Nov 13, 2006

You obviously have not had anything happen to you by your comment. By standing up to these people it makes matters worse.
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Message 5 - posted by Lizziedripping, Nov 13, 2006

You obviously have not had anything happen to you by your comment. By standing up to these people it makes matters worse.

Quoted from this message

I think this may be the problem in society today. We don't get involved. It takes courage to stand up for your fellow man. We can't expect to come across no trouble. I am just glad that it is probably easier in this country from what I read in newspapers and glean from the tele and radio.
Pom pom fairly safe in Telford.
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Message 6 - posted by Pythagoras, Nov 13, 2006

At present knife crime is not yet the problem it is extrapolated to become if current trends are projected into the future and is a greater concern in certain designated boroughs of London. However, because all Londoners may work in, socialise in and travel through or to areas where deadly knife gangs operate, if they were not forewarned, they would not have their guard up and may very well suffer the consequences, fatal or otherwise.

Realpolitik in the United Kingdom today, especially in London, is that various areas and boroughs have been and are being carved up by gangs, the most dangerous known to be composed of asylum-seeking Somalian, Turkish or Kurdish refugees claiming to be fleeing war-torn countries, and subject to their own internal gang law. Woe betides outsiders who venture innocently into areas ruled by these gangs which have exerted territorial claims over their areas of administration.

Tottenham and Camden in North London have been carved up by rival Somali gangs, nouveau arriviste drug-dealing asylum-seeking refugees, and the newly rebranded “Banglatown” in East London by second and third generation Bangladeshis, the majority denizens of the New East End. This was brought to the notice of Londoners by the fatal stabbing of Somalian teenager Maher Osman in Camden by a gang of Somalians on 28 January 2006, with Abdiwali Mohamud, Chairman of Camden Somali Forum, stating "The police should have told us what was going on between the (Somalian) gangs. I'm not saying they knew exactly this was going to happen but before this other accidents have happened."

A Somali-led street gang, connected to the killing in May of Special Constable Nisha Patel-Nasri, operates from the very same London Academy School in Edgware where 15-year-old Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death, also in May 2006. Students were petrified of the ‘Thug Fam’ gang, which is said to have gang members inside the school, all of whom carry knives and are extremely threatening, confrontational and intimidating. A rival gang, the ‘Screwfaces’, struggling with ‘Thug Fam’ for territorial control, is also run by Somali asylum-seeking refugees and deals in Crack Cocaine and prostitution.

In 2005 the Metropolitan Police identified 193 criminal networks in London, ranging from international cartels to undisciplined street crews. The precise number of gangs in the UK is unknowable and ever-changing as gangs wax and wane with startling speed. Some researchers also distinguish between ‘crime firms’ and ‘street gangs’. The former come together purely to commit crimes, while the latter may offer social and psychological succour and engage in a range of activities as well as crime.

Turks and Kurds, many linked to the notorious Baybasin clan, control Heroin importation. They included the ‘Bombers’ in Hackney, the ‘Tottenham Boys’, and the ‘Kurdish Bulldogs’ in Wood Green. ‘Muslim Boys’ is the name used by several gangs around Brixton, Peckham, Lambeth, and Streatham, in South London, with young black males belonging to the ‘Stockwell Crew’, the ‘South Man Syndicate’ and ‘Poverty Driven Children’. The ‘Peckham Boys’ are primarily active in Peckham, Walworth and Camberwell, and in cross-border disputes. Members are involved in robbery, house burglary, drugs and disorder, with older members involved with more serious crimes, and their offshoot, the ‘Young Peckham Boys’, was originally blamed for the death of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor.

The ‘Lock City Crew’ tends to be mainland African or Jamaican, while their rival ‘Much Love Crew’ is local to North London. White gangs include the brutal ‘Canning Town’ and ‘Stratford’ firms in the East End, and the notorious ‘A Team’ from North London. Rival Sri Lankan gangs have recently waged a vicious war in the Wembley area, while the Southall Sikhs (formerly the ‘Holy Smokes’ and ‘Tooti Nung’) are active in the Heroin trade.

Whilst those of us living in boroughs of London not at present housing local knife-wielding gangs this could change at any time, as the pernicious influence of gang culture and warfare spreads from the boroughs named above to reach out to and may include even them. They must not be complacent but seek in advance to prevent this happening.

In Real Story on BBC 1 on 5 June 2006 veteran war reporter Rageh Omaar investigated Britain's knife crime epidemic after having previously reported on this issue for BBC 1's Panorama in 2004. Omaar discovered that knife crime had greatly increased and that the age of children carrying deadly weapons had lowered dramatically. In interviews with medical staff in Accident and Emergency (A&E) units he revealed the following shocking facts hitherto unknown beyond specialists.

A&E medical staff are legally prohibited from reporting knife crime to the Police, as patient confidentiality overrides this requirement, and therefore knife crime is therefore seriously under-reported to the Police as most victims of knife attacks also choose not to report these crimes to the Police for fear of, in many cases, further retributive attacks from the perpetrators of the initial attacks. The A&E Consultant interviewed by Omaar called for a change in the law allowing for all knife crime resulting in A&E admissions to be reported to the Police in order that the perpetrators could then be apprehended by them.

Further research I have since conducted indicates that only 10% of knife crime is reported to the Police and in many of these cases the victims presented with their injuries during attacks in the public arena, thereby requiring the attendance of the Ambulance Service, paramedics and consequently the Police.

What was greatly disturbing is that each time a victim of knife crime presents in A&E, upwards of 12 medical personnel are required to deliver primary interventive care, with upwards of 18 if the victim proceeds to surgery and Intensive Care Units. The cost implications to the National Health Service are horrific, staggering and enormous and it is unsupportable that scarce resources are being tied up with preventable knife crime which we ignore, under-report, gloss over or excuse at our peril.

Statistics quoted in the Guardian on 3 June 2006 by Esther Addley represents the media’s serious under-reporting of knife crime, with the more realistic figures representing all knife crime projected as follows, configured with the findings of Omaar’s research quoted above, but with the obvious exception of actual fatality and allied data statistically recorded by the Police:

1: Number of victims of knife crime in the UK in 2005 whether reported to the Police or not: 28,590.
2: Proportion of schoolchildren below 16 who routinely carry a knife: varies from 1 in 3 to 1 in 2, dependent on location of school and area of domicile.
3: Percentage of schoolchildren who carry knives and have used them to threaten or wound people: 32% averaged out across the country.

The truly troubling statistic is that the percentage of those convicted of possession of knives who were jailed in 2004 was only 14%, viz. 86% got away with their potentially deadly actions to wield their knives at times of their own choosing. I suggest it is not a conversation we need to have with these criminals, nor the offer of ‘Tough Love’, but clearly defined interventions that make it impossible for them to ever again act in the way they do. There is already in existence a wealth of studies published in Criminology, Socio-biology and Mental Disorders which examine motivation that we do not again need to repeat; instead what we need is legislation that absolutely and unequivocally protects law-abiding citizens as opposed to law-disrespecting criminals.

Politicians such as the Leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, who posit ‘Tough Love’ as the solution to the problem of knife crime, inappropriately import the psychological model invented in 1979 by Phyllis and David York, two family psychotherapists from Pennsylvania who were struggling to raise an out of control teenager. ‘Tough Love’ is classically now utilised by psychotherapists and psychologists to identify and deal with problem adolescents who have learning disabilities, or neurological, behavioural and emotional issues. Included in these are Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Motor Skills Disorders, Developmental Expressive Language Disorder, Developmental Receptive Language Disorder, Developmental Articulation Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

All these symptoms have been cumulatively identified in the juvenile criminal population this thread is discussing. It is accepted that 50% of all juvenile delinquents have been shown to have undiagnosed learning disabilities and often drop out of school or end up in trouble with the law. If they exhibit the more extreme pattern of behaviour marked by hostility, defiance, aggression, and resentment, they may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which puts them at greater risk for exhibiting antisocial or self-destructive behaviours.

ODD is likely to occur if they were victims of physical or sexual abuse, had an history of violent acts, brain injury, exposure to violence in the home or community, socioeconomic stresses, family’s attitude toward violence, antisocial attitudes and beliefs, hostility toward authority, weak social ties, intense anger, low frustration level and gang affiliation. These are classic symptoms and markers of the criminal adolescents this thread is investigating.

The inventors of the ‘Tough Love’ model decided they would not tolerate a criminal in their home and created a series of conditions their child had to meet in order to return home, including going through drug rehabilitation and getting a job, using ‘Tough Love’ support group members to deal directly with their child until the conditions had been met. Consequently it is clear that the ‘Tough Love’ model ludicrously espoused by Mr Cameron is based on his utter incomprehension and misunderstanding of it, as this model is not designed to deal with juvenile criminals who routinely carry and utilise deadly weaponry, but is designed to deal with comparably low-intensity alcohol, drug and psychobehaviourial problems in juveniles.

Certain politicians suggest that a ‘hearts and minds’ approach is required along with the desire to address the social problems in which illegal crime and attitudes are fostered, thereby sadly exhibiting the libertarian agenda which is to replace direct hard interventions by the Police and Judiciary favouring victims of crime, with a soft dialogue with criminals who are well versed in dissembling and lying, but who have the protection of well remunerated defence Solicitors and Barristers, as well as a liberal Judiciary, which values the rights of feral criminals over those of their victims.

Henry Deedes, writing in The Independent on 6 June 2006, summed up the dilemma when he wrote: “The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, angered right-wing commentators when he called for a new regime where thousands of offenders should be given community sentences instead of being sent to jail.” He quoted the Monmouth MP David Davies thus: “The Lord Chief Justice is part of the problem and I would tell him that to his face. Apart from the remote chance of burglars getting caught, they now live in the full knowledge that if the police do catch them, they will spend a few hours painting walls in the community rather that going to prison…I want to ask Lord Phillips how much time the Lord Chief Justice spends talking to criminals about their experiences…compared to the ordinary people who find themselves the victim of crime.”

It is my view, and those of all my colleagues working in the criminal justice system, that it is the libertarian attitudes espoused by those such as Mr Cameron which makes these persons part of the problem and not part of the solution. I dread to think what the parents, families, partners and friends of those who have been brutalised and killed by knife-wielding criminals would say to Mr Cameron and his ilk about his ‘Tough Love’ solution to dealing with those who have engineered the disfigurement or death of their offspring, family member, lover or friend
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Message 7 - posted by Carl La Fong, Nov 13, 2006

I thought this was a message board, not a way of publishing your thesis.
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Message 8 - posted by U6553300, Nov 13, 2006

this reminds me of a speach by someone who basicly got laughed out of parliment oh how right he was what you recon norant?
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Message 9 - posted by Chryssanthos, Nov 14, 2006

Understanding the knife crime epidemic in London can be best advanced by examining data from regions better versed and placed to deal with the problem and from whom we in London can learn, in respect of which let us examine the Scottish Executive’s recent response to a Parliamentary question which confirmed the prevalence of a knife culture in Glasgow, with five times more people jailed there for carrying a weapon than in Edinburgh. A total of 297 prison sentences for possessing an offensive weapon or carrying a knife were imposed in Glasgow Courts in 2005, compared to 58 in Edinburgh, 13 in Aberdeen, 22 in Dundee and three in Stirling.

The disparities have sparked calls for more research into why particular communities are so blighted by knife crime. Glasgow has some of the poorest wards in Scotland and there may well be a link between deprivation and knife crime and, because the problem is more visible, Police are more likely to pick up people.

Dr David Shewan, co-director of the Centre for the Study of Violence at Glasgow Caledonian University stated: "What we need is long-term research into the 'whys'. We know, for example, that Glasgow has a gang culture - but so, too, does Edinburgh. If you look at attacks on people in the workplace, they are as likely to happen in Edinburgh as in Glasgow. It's a huge puzzle."

Dr Shewan said alcohol was also likely to be a factor but added: "Alcohol is likely to play a part. But while it may make someone use a knife, alcohol does not make them decide to carry it in the first place." A spokeswoman for the Crown Office said: "Many young men regard carrying a knife as acceptable. We have to change that culture; and are clear that detection by the police, and prosecution in court, is only part of the package of measures needed."

The common carrying of knives by young people was further highlighted by a Schools Health Education Unit report published on 5 June 2006 that showed 25 percent of 14 and 15-year-old boys carried weapons. The report questioned 18,000 young people from 310 primary and secondary schools across the UK. Up to 25 percent felt that safety after dark was "poor" or "very poor" in their neighbourhood, with females feeling more apprehensive after dark. 22 per cent of boys aged 14 and 15 were “fairly sure" or "certain" their friends carried weapons for protection when going out.

Similarly in London, although many of our more affluent boroughs are not currently blighted by knife crime, it may only be a matter of time before the problem reaches out to include even these boroughs, as they may well be seen to be easy targets by perpetrators of inner city knife crime. The Scottish model referred to above may well translate to London, with Glasgow standing in for the inner city boroughs and ghettoes, whilst Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Stirling represent our leafy green wealthier boroughs.

“The underlying issue is inner city youth culture. Young children grow up in a society where the music, the video games and the films are all saturated with violence", states Diane Abbott, New Labour Member of Parliament in North London. The media she refers to needs to specifically spell out the types of music, particularly grime, rap, ragga, “gansta” and hip hop, where the referral to women as whores (“hos”) or “bitches”, together with advocating and inciting the killing of all homosexuals (“batty boys”) is normalised and routine.

Mrs Lyn Costello, founder of the campaign group ‘Mothers against Murder and Aggression’ is on the record as saying: “We've got a war on our streets and the trend for violence is getting worse. This isn't really about knives. This is about violence. Even if we took every knife out of the country, the ones who want to be violent would find something else - a broken bottle, a baseball bat, a house brick. What we have to do is teach our children that violence is not acceptable in our society. That means a mass education programme. And if they don't listen to that they have to face up to a five-year sentence." While she wants to see more effort being made to educate children about the dangers of carrying weapons, she insists that tougher enforcement of the law and longer jail sentences must be brought in alongside that.

In 2004/5 over 25 percent of the 820 homicides involved knives, and in London alone, there were more than 12,500 knife-related incidents in 2005. The average age of knife-wielding criminals is 15 to 18 years and data shows that 41 percent of those prosecuted for robbery using a knife were in this age bracket, as also were 17 percent of the victims. Experts agree that trying to get knives off the street will have had little effect, referring to the knife amnesty which ended on 30 June 2006.

Hannah Gardiner, spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, states: "It's a cultural problem. It's not just something the police can deal with. It is a much wider and more complex issue", and Dr Marian Fitzgerald, a leading Criminologist and Professor at the University of Kent, who has worked with the Home Office and Youth Justice Board, agrees that the amnesty will achieve little on its own, stating: "The amnesty is not going to stop knife crime. It's intended to be awareness-raising rather than an end in itself. The reality is that most of the victims of young people are other young people. We also have to make sure that other young people feel that their fears of crime are being taken seriously and are being addressed."

Campaigners and the families of victims of knife crime demand long mandatory jail sentences for anyone caught carrying a knife, with UK’s most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, backing this demand, saying it is the only way to get on top of the problem.

One statistic missing from Polly Toynbee's article on knife crime in The Guardian on 9 June 2006 is that the number of people admitted to hospital with knife wounds rose by nearly 20 percent to 4,974 in 2004/5, with 25 percent being females. Figures being compiled for 2005/6 are expected to show an even greater increase.

Shaun Bailey, the highly respected Director of ‘My Generation’, a charity working with young people in West London, and author of ‘No Man's Land: How Britain's Inner-City Young Are Being Failed’, published by the Centre for Policy Studies, writes in The Telegraph on 1 June 2006: “Ultimately, this is a cultural problem. Young people today are exposed to violence very early. The perpetrators of such behaviour have become their role models: 50 Cent, Eminem, and elements in the 'grime' music scene. This music doesn't just glorify violence - it breeds resentment and jealousy. People who are doing well…attract hatred because they've risen above the level of everyone else. The culture loves and hates success in equal measure. We need to look at the material that youngsters have rammed down their throats every day… If we want our youngsters to stop being violent, we need to stop showing them violent material, especially so early in their development. As a colleague said to me, the music industry is ‘peddling death to our children’.”

Bailey correctly, and chillingly, identifies exactly how knives are used by the demographic most at risk of knife attack when he states: “Why are knives increasingly being used and killings more and more common? Simple. It's an arms race. A small but increasing number of people carry knives for what they believe is self-protection. They have knives for defence, and have no intention of using them. But when they are confronted and pull out their knife, they force their attacker to pull out a knife as well. Many people who are stabbed are stabbed with their own knife, as their tool of self-defence is turned into a weapon against them. The tragedy of Nisha Patel-Nasri, the special constable killed outside her house last month, is that she took a knife from her kitchen when she heard an intruder.”

The obvious threat that the weapon you carry can and will be used against you is clear but seems to make no difference whatsoever to the carrying of weapons. Not only does Bailey correctly identify the problem but explains what exacerbates it when he writes: “But the real fault lies with the judiciary. I've lost count of the number of stories I've heard about a criminal caught by the police who is later freed because of a technicality or ‘mitigating evidence’. Even when they're convicted, they just get a community punishment, for which they don't even turn up. The criminal justice system should send a strong message that carrying a knife is illegal and will not be tolerated. Five times more people die from knives than from guns. One reason for that is that the penalties for gun possession are far higher, and people know it. We won't prevent people carrying knives - even those who don't intend to use them, but tragically often do - unless they think it's not worth the risk.”

When David Cameron, Conservative Party Leader, berated Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood on 8 June 2006 for playing the type of music identified by Shaun Bailey as encouraging knife crime, stating: "I would say to Radio 1, do you realise that some of the stuff you play on Saturday nights encourages people to carry guns and knives?" he was correct in identifying the problem and is the only political Party leader courageous enough to say so at present
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Message 10 - posted by Vinceremos, Nov 16, 2006

Knife crime was shockingly brought home to me as the area of London in which I live was also where Alex Mulumba lived at the time of his murder. The area houses multimillion pound private dwellings jostling cheek by jowl with Hogarthian slums and ghettoes. However, the knife murder of Alex Mulumba, a 15-year-old asylum seeker from Zaire, in Lambeth in South London, at 11 pm on 8 June 2006, was not the simple murder of an innocent victim of knife crime as was reported in the some sections of the media, as Alex was a member of the notorious juvenile criminal gang ‘Man Dem Crew’, two of whose 15-year-old members have just been sentenced to 6 years imprisonment after admitting 35 brutal muggings and offences between them, ranging from possession of a firearm to aggravated robbery.

They preyed on children in playgrounds and on buses, equipped with apparently real guns, face masks and balaclavas, penning sick ‘gangsta’ rap lyrics boasting of their love of guns and violence. They attacked so many children from one local school that police had to organise a minibus to transport the victims to an identification parade. Alex was thought to have been murdered by rival gang members from ‘K-boys’, ‘Kennington Boys’. Pictures on the gang’s website showed Alex Mulumba posing masked and pointing a pump-action shotgun at the webcam. In other poses he struck swaggering postures with his ‘hoodie’ mates and shaped his hands like a pistol (try hugging that, David Cameron). Following futile complaints made to the Internet Service Provider, the Home Office admitted it had no power to shut down the website. The final photo taken of Alex was from his hospital bed, shot by a mobile phone camera, and shows him lying dead.

The area of London where Alex lived and died is a war zone for juveniles and a dead zone where stabbings routinely occur, for obtaining ‘bling’ and mobile telephones, crimes which are rarely reported to the police until a knifing fatality occurs and there is no choice in the matter. Home Office statistics reveal that the number of schoolchildren convicted of carrying a knife has doubled in five years to 2004, increasing in 2004 by 93 per cent. Fewer than two per cent of offenders received custodial sentences, with 79 per cent given community service orders. Figures revealed that an increasing number of pupils are being convicted of carrying a knife on school premises. A deeply worrying trend among students reluctant to take knives into school premises is to hide them somewhere accessible outside school.

David Morris, a director of Be Safe, an organisation working with the Home Office to educate schoolchildren about knife crime, told The Telegraph on 4 June 2006: "In an average school you will get around 30 per cent of the children admitting they've carried a knife at some point. As they know, there's a lot of aggravation associated with carrying a weapon in school. They're identifying cars which are regularly parked near the school and are stashing the weapons in the wheel arches."

In 1999, a total of 452 young persons between 15 and 17 years of age were found guilty of carrying knives, increasing by 81 per cent to 817 by 2004, of whom only five per cent received custodial sentences, 73 per cent community service and six per cent fines. In 2004, the number of schoolchildren aged between 15 and 17 convicted of carrying a knife on school premises increased by 400 percent compared to 1999. 4,792 adults were convicted for carrying a knife in 2004 compared with 2,991 in 1999, a rise of 60 per cent, but only 16 per cent were jailed.

What London urgently needs to tackle knife crime is an intervention dedicated to identifying, investigating and eradicating it similar to Operation Trident, a special Metropolitan Police initiative to tackle black-on-black gun crime amongst London's black communities, as knife crime is largely black-on-black, black-on-Asian, Asian-on-black, Asian-on-white or black-on-white.

The importance of Operation Trident is demonstrated by the fact that it exists as a dedicated Trident Operational Command Unit within the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Directorate, with a substantial number of officers carrying out proactive operations whilst continuing to gather intelligence on the gunmen and developing closer links with other agencies. Local community support plays an integral part in Operation Trident and an Independent Advisory Group, comprising senior community leaders, helps to create a positive climate for members of black communities to come forward with information about Trident-related criminal activity.

This is a sustained and unrelenting response by the Metropolitan Police backed up by substantial resources and it is now high time that knife crime, which injures and kills more Londoners than does gun crime, is similarly targeted.

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Message 11 - posted by U5848678, Nov 16, 2006

Hang the b'stards in Trafalgar square when caught. It didn't do much good as a deterrent in the old days but I believe people are a bit wiser now.
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Message 12 - posted by U1969296, Nov 17, 2006

Put them all in the New Wembley Stadium as an opening fixture and enjoy a Roman Spectacular as a fight to the death and send the victors back to their Homeland.

But seriously why cant we send them back to Somali or whatever Country they appeared from surly it would be cheaper for us to do this then send them to a stress free atmosphere like a prison.
I do not think that a Country Like Australia would tolerate the nonsense we have to put up with here
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Message 13 - posted by Little Richardjohn, Nov 20, 2006

Message posted by stantheman2
Put them all in the New Wembley Stadium as an opening fixture and enjoy a Roman Spectacular as a fight to the death and send the victors back to their Homeland.

Wot, like in Bermondsey, Eltham or Welling, which are run by feral white mobs looking for any black face to attack?

Where do you send them back to? Or anyone who is actually a British citizen, as many are? And since when was poverty not a factor in street crime?

Let's talk about the values we continue to instill. Firstly, that wealth is the only thing deserving of respect. Human life, as we all know, became worthless years ago.

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Message 14 - posted by Amazonika, Nov 29, 2006

The appalling knife murder of Thomas ap Rhys Pryce by the young black gangsters, Donnel Carty and Delano Brown, who stabbed the 31-year-old solicitor to death on 21 January 2006 near Kensal Green Underground station, resulted in guilty verdicts being handed down in the Old Bailey yesterday, with minimum life sentences of 21 and 17 years respectively.

The BBC and other news channels screened chilling CCTV footage last night showing Thomas ap Rhys Pryce exiting Kensal Green station at 11.22 pm, just ahead of Carty and Brown who ran after him, felling him with a drop-kick from behind and then assaulting and robbing him. After robbing him of his cell-phone, £20 and an Oyster card they then repeatedly stabbed him to death in cold blood, despite Thomas ap Rhys Pryce pleading with them “That’s it. You’ve got everything now. Leave me alone.”

CCTV footage screened showed the two murderers mugging an Asian man, Kurshid Ali, and stealing his cell-phone, at a deserted Kensal Green underground station platform, prior to the murder of Thomas ap Rhys Pryce. After the murder the killers called their girlfriends on the two stolen handsets to boast of and “big up” their act.

However, the trial Judge made an astonishing and deeply insulting statement in sentencing the killers when he stated that Thomas ap Rhys Pryce “was in the wrong place at the wrong time”. This judge was completely, absolutely and totally wrong in this aspect of his summing up, as Thomas ap Rhys Pryce was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and it was only his killers who were “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Thomas ap Rhys Pryce was walking on the street where he lived with his fiancé after having had a celebratory night out with colleagues from his legal practice, whilst his killers were only on his street looking for someone to kill.

The trial Judge made the same fatally flawed error as did London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who accused the media of “institutional racism” in its reporting of murders, when highlighting what he alleged to be the difference in media coverage of the murder of Thomas ap Rhys Pryce, who was white, and an Asian man, Balbir Matharu, the latter discovered later to have been killed by Asians. Speaking at a Metropolitan Police Authority meeting in January 2006 in response to a question as to whether London’s Police gave a “proportional response” to all murders, he astonishingly and insultingly replied: “I am pretty furious…I actually believe that the media is guilty of institutional racism in the way they report deaths.”

Another thread on the London Message Board, ‘Met Police vs Londoners’, intelligently and comprehensively reveals the flawed policing strategies and protocols of this Police Commissioner and makes rewarding reading for interested parties. It is today on page 3 of the London Message Board.

I was shocked and chilled when on the ‘Today’ programme on BBC Radio 4 this morning Thomas’ father, in an interview with John Humphreys, appeared to me to completely misunderstand the true feral nature of the killers when he seemed to suggest that it was social exclusion that was a fundamental factor in their anti-social behaviour which had cost the life of his son. Thomas’ father made the fundamental and fatally flawed error of judging the killers in the context of young men of similar age from his own background and experience, existentially a world apart, instead of apprehending the true fact that the killers represent those who live in a parallel, tangential, toxic, hate-filled, vendetta-fuelled universe, where the common currency is the use of extreme and lethal violence and where the acquisition of consumer goods is simply a matter of stealing them from those who already possess them, rather that earning these goods by working for them. Killing their victims is just an added bonus.

My concerns are borne out in a study published today by Professor Trevor Bennett, Director of University of Glamorgan's Centre for Criminology, and Dr Fiona Brookman, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which states: "Both the amount and the severity of gratuitous violence used in street robbery are increasing in the UK. But because the number of studies is very small, and tends to be limited to what the precise situation was in each case and whether the assault was likely to lead to financial gain, this worrying social problem is poorly documented and understood."

Not only is it “poorly documented and understood" but political correctness in reporting crime has led to the preparation and production of false and misleading statistics which seeks to underplay or even dismiss the ethnicity of the overwhelming majority of the British population committing street crimes including muggings, assaults and murders.

The study confirms that these criminals carry out their vicious crimes simply for "kicks", to boost their street credibility and gain kudos with their peers in the feral criminal underclass. The study’s authors interviewed 120 criminals of whom 40 had been arrested over 50 times and found that gang culture is a far more important factor in street crime than financial gain, contradicting previous studies which claimed financial gain was the main motive. Criminals interviewed by the authors stated that they found robbery to be a pleasurable activity and was addictive, with excitement felt by the criminals from dominating and overpowering their victims.

"It's for the fun. 'Cos the point of street robbery is to get them to fight back, innit? I'd give him a couple of slaps and tell him to fight back," stated one criminal. Street crimes were prompted by "anger and the desire to start a fight", the authors stated, with theft only an afterthought.

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Message 15 - posted by Little Richardjohn, Nov 29, 2006

The report asserts that while financial gain is a common motive for many offenders, the proceeds often spent on "non-essential, status-enhancing" items, much wider forces were influential.
Co-author of the report Trevor Bennett says:

"The decision to commit street robbery can be explained in part by particular characteristics of the street culture...

"This finding is important, because British research has tended to explain robbery in terms of rational choice and to focus instead on the role of cost-reward calculations.
"Our research suggests that any explanation must primarily take into account cultural factors associated with life on the street."

On the BBC today, the father of Tom ap Rhys Pryce said he understood that some street robbers were seeking thrills. "We have to try and divert that desire for excitement or kicks or a buzz...into a different direction," stressing the need to "help people who are in a disadvantaged situation... to get educational facilities." saying this "could mean sport or music as well as ordinary academic help so that they can achieve their potential... rather than just wandering the streets".
He has set up a charity to do just that.

Also on the BBC, Camilla Batmanghelidjh, of Kids Company, said street crime was a "systemic problem", adding "It would be really sad if this report got translated as a bunch of young people robbing for fun. It is not about that.

"It is for 'kicks', but you've have to understand what the 'kick' is. The 'kick' is people who are victims for prolonged periods of time developing a cycle of revenge so that they then get a high from victimising someone else."

The reaction of Tom ap Rhys Pryce is quite amazing, given the prevalent tide of opinion. It is more than mere charity, it is an act of deep understanding. His interpretation of the general conclusions of this report give us all direction.

We live in a vast commercialised bureacracy. It is failing, and the only solutions being offered are those which will merely add to the bureacracy and make it even more inefficient, while doing nothing about the commercial values it promotes. And it is the commercial society which creates the Street Culture which the report uncovers.

We also live in a culture of power and money. Which are essentially the same thing. Together or apart they are the measures of status, either in the boardroom or on the sreet, and once achieved, status tends to excuse the methods by which it was achieved. We don't care how most billionaires got rich, and neither does the culture we live in. All the law really says is: Don't Get Caught. It delivers no incentive to social responsibility whatsoever because a consumerist competitive economy is not a positive force, encouraging people to take pride in being part of a community, but a negative one, urging everyone to clamber over their fellow human beings in order to escape from any resemblance of community and live in encapsulated isolation surrounded by toys, chemicals and sex. It's property laws are therefore only there as a sanction against actions which disturb the commercial process.

Every millionaire alive got rich by winning that Rat race, and every teenager mugging 'for kicks' is simply doing the same thing for the same reasons. The ones who go on to become millionaires, and there will be some, will be forgiven in turn, while their mates, who lost the race, will be known as Losers. Nothing is worse than being branded A Loser. Either in the street or in the boardroom.

Calls for more education, more punishment, 'individual responsibility' and more parenting are, of course, futile. And worse, a distraction. Until people feel genuine community responsibility, the streets will be no safer. And before there can be community responsibility, there has to be a community to feel responsible towards. At the moment, very few people live in a community of any kind.

It is impossible to say much time and thought and money it will take to create a viable society, in which people are law-abiding because they naturally sympathise with the victim, rather than through fear of punishment, but that is what must be created, and must be started sometime. The current approach of blaming anyone in reach is a road to hell, and a further reinforcement of the culture of division which has created the devaluation of human life and values which the report of Professor Trevor Bennett and and Dr Fiona Brookman has highlighted.
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Message 16 - posted by U5848678, Nov 29, 2006

Jonah, where are yer....
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Message 17 - posted by U4357578, Nov 29, 2006

I'm here, playing dice wars in another tab. If you think I'm trawling through that lot up there to post an opinion you can think again. Give me the short version and I might think about it;)

Besides, I'm not well today. I think I have a bug....
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Message 18, Nov 29, 2006

This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

Message 19 - posted by Little Richardjohn, Nov 29, 2006

Were you on the jury?
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Message 20 - posted by Amazonika, Nov 29, 2006

Little Richardjohn, in post number 15, writes: “Calls for more education, more punishment, 'individual responsibility' and more parenting are, of course, futile. And worse, a distraction. Until people feel genuine community responsibility, the streets will be no safer. And before there can be community responsibility, there has to be a community to feel responsible towards. At the moment, very few people live in a community of any kind.’

Whilst in an ideal world and in a society of shared values and common goals I would be inclined to agree with him, but the fact is that the killers of Thomas ap Rhys Pryce do not share the socially agreed consensual and contextual values of law-abiding Britons, whether indigenous whites, Asians or blacks. It is undeniably the case that some of those from financially, socially and educationally impoverished third-world cultures, such as exist in the Afro-Caribbean nations from where the killers originate, import into Britain the contextual values of their cultures of origin, even beyond the first generation.

The killers are of the demographic mightily influenced by Jamaican and West Indian Dancehall, Ragga, Gangsta Rap, Hip Hop, Grime and Grunge music, with their misogynistic, misanthropic, homophobic and anti-white lyrics and clarion calls to nihilistic mayhem and murder. This type of music is summed up in brief extracts from the following lyrics by leading performers of the type idolised by the killers:

Jamaican reggae singer Beenie Man is one of many internationally famous reggae artistes who have released records urging the killing of homosexuals. His ‘Bad Man Chi Chi Man’ (Bad Man, Queer Man), is an incitement to kill gay DJs:
“If yuh nuh chi chi (queer) man wave yuh right hand and (NO!!!)/If yuh nuh lesbian wave yuh right hand and (NO!!!)/Some bwoy will go a jail fi kill man tun bad man chi chi man!!!…/Tell mi, sumfest it should a be a showdown/Yuh seem to run off a stage like a clown (Kill Dem DJ!!!)”.

Ragga artiste TOK’s track, ‘Chi Chi Man (Queer Man)’ incites: “From dem a drink inna chi chi (queer) man bar/Blaze di fire mek we dun dem!!!!Dun dem!!!!…/Rat tat tat every chi chi man dem haffi get flat…/Chi chi man fi dead and dat's a fact”.

Ragga artistes Elephant Man, TOK and Capelton’s lyrics betray a history of violent homophobic lyrics that urge the incineration and gunning down of gays, vilifying gays as “battymen” and “chi chi men” (Jamaican patois meaning queer, poof and faggot).

‘A Nuh Fi Wi Fault’ by Elephant Man boasts: “Battyman fi dead!/Please mark we word/Gimme tha tech-nine/Shoot dem like bird”. Another of his tracks, ‘We Nuh Like Gay’ goes: “Battyman fi dead! Tek dem by surprise/Ghetta in shot head, cau me big gun collide…/gimme me Tech-9, General B. wid de chrome an waa shine/Harry Toddler shot out ah bugger-man”.

Elephant Man proudly defends his lyrics: “We (Jamaicans) know that this thing (homosexuality) is not right and we are not going to uphold it. The Jamaican heritage is deep, we love God and we are not involved in certain things. From the time I was growing up, I learned that chi chi man fi get bun…bun dem out”.

Capelton’s ‘Bun Di Chi Chi’ (Burn The Queer) incites: “Blood out ah chi chi (queer) Bun (burn) out ah chi chi/Dem ah deal with too much inequity/Blood out ah chi chi, Bun out ah sissy”.

Elephant Man's ‘Log On’ similarly incites. “Log on and step pon chi chi (queer) man/Dance wi a dance and a bun (burn) out a freaky (queer) man…/Step pon him like a old cloth/A dance wi a dance and a crush out dem…/do di walk, mek mi see the light and di torch dem fass”.

Sizzla Kalonji’s ‘Pump Up’ states: “Step up inna front line (Step up to the front line)/fire fi di man dem weh go ride man behind (burn the men who have sex with men from behind)/Shot battybwoy, my big gun boom (Shoot queers, my big gun goes boom)”.

One of the most notorious lyrics is by Buju Banton in ‘Boom Bye Bye’: “Batty bwoy get up an run/Faggots get up and run/Boom bye bye/Boom (gun shot) bye bye (Goodbye, as in you're dead)/Inna batty bwoy head/In a faggot's head/Burn him up bad like an old tire wheel/Burn him up bad like an old tyre”.

Artistes such as this regularly win prestigious international and British music awards despite their vicious homophobia and misogyny and the gratuitous glorification of gun and knife culture and gang violence.

If this is the sort of music the killers listened to they are surely going to obey the instructions clearly stated in the lyrics eventually, as homophobic assaults by young black men in London is epidemic with even Damilola Taylor targeted because he was considered to be a “batty boy” by his killers. The lethal violence employed by some young black males in London has led to the formation of the London Metropolitan Police’s dedicated black-on-black anti-crime force ‘Operation Trident’ to address just this problem. Obviously in the case of Thomas ap Rhys Pryce homophobia was not the trigger but, if his killers were fired up to kill someone, anyone, did they care?
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