In a bid to tackle Britain’s knife crime problem, a pilot scheme under which the number of forms filled in by police for ‘stop and account’ is cut by 80% will be extended to cover 10 notorious knife crime zones, including London.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said this was intended to “allow police to focus on the most serious crime and local issues” but it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see ‘local issues’ mutate into ‘open season’ on young male ethnic minorities who hangout in some of London’s most deprived knife crime areas. Or anyone else for that matter.
Tackling knife crime is a complex issue, and these measures only add to the already openly declared 'in your face policing' back in May, as well as Boris’ drive to install knife detector arches at London’s tube stations. These further measures could be seen as yet another heavy handed crackdown on our personal liberties, more-so for young people. Some police authorities are already using 'new dispersal orders' under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to move along two or more teenagers hanging around in certain areas. Wood Green watch this space.
By Penny Lewis