The independent London newspaper

Gross inequalities in society at the heart of crime crisis

05 April, 2018

THE murder of a 17-year-old girl in Tottenham this week came a few days after the biggest protest march against knife crime in Camden the borough has ever witnessed.

But we have been reporting the crisis of knife crime and teenage murders for more than 20 years – and each time there have been knee-jerk reactions by the authorities.

All of them have amounted to short-term “solutions” – stepping up stop-and-search by the police, banning knives in schools, and cracking down on drug dealing.

There is little doubt the introduction of powerful drug concoctions has fuelled the crisis.

But unless long-term solutions are found we shall be reporting knife murders for the next 20 years.

The deep causes are to be found in the gross inequalities and discrimination in society – in education, job opportunities, and latterly the power of the social media that can release suppressed violent thoughts.

Far too many black youths constantly face exclusion from school, there are far too few well-funded youth facilities in sport and the arts, and there are too few apprenticeships, all that give hope and aspiration to the younger generation, the oxygen of a healthy society.

The responsibility for action initially rests with the government.

Unless the social order is seriously reformed, the crime crisis will persist.

The community took the first brave steps in their demands for something to be done.

They will have to increase the pressure on both the London Mayor and the government if they are to succeed.

Saving Gondar

YOU wouldn’t know it to walk around Gondar Gardens, but for the best part of 15 years a quiet corner of West Hampstead has been under siege.

The battle over Gondar Gardens has pitted a series of big-time developers against a unswerving group of residents. They have attended dozens of court hearings, late-night council meetings and planning appeals. It has been a costly, time-consuming defence. And now they are being dragged back for more.

The bats, owls, slow worms and grass snakes that live in the protected reservoir land do not know how lucky they are!

When the council came up with no less than 16 reasons why LifeCare’s housing plan should fail, rational observers thought that would be the end of the matter.

There had been 160 letters of objection and a petition of more than 1,600 residents.

Developers so often rely on the break-up of residents’ groups and communities weakening, over time, allowing them to later push through their plans. There must surely come a point when these challenges are exhausted.

There will be a heavy cost to the public purse. But developers of retirement apartments for the wealthy do not think about that.

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