08 October, 2006


Policing for our times

It seems to be "the unravelling of the multiculture" week again at the Sunday Times. This piece is frightening enough in itself, although it tells those of us familiar with South and East London little we didn't already know. But it's a couple of paragraphs towards the end (second page of the on-line version) that particularly caught my eye.

First, describing our hero's expulsion from school
An early victim of Miah was his history teacher at Stepney Green school. “He’d pissed me off the day before. I just brought a kitchen knife to school up my sleeve. When he started making those silly jokes again (about me truanting), I pulled out a knife.”

Miah held the blade to his teacher’s throat and pinned him to the desk before being restrained by his friends. He was questioned and released by the police but was expelled from school and fell into a full-time life with the Shadwell Massive, mugging, dealing in drugs and petrol-bombing the homes of members of rival gangs.

He pinned a teacher down and held a knife to his throat. And he was questioned by the police and released, ie with no further action. Oh well, I suppose it's some consolation that the school at least had the gumption to throw the little sod out.

And then this one:
In August Carly saw a gang pull a knife on a passer-by. When the police were called, said Carly, they stopped briefly at the end of the road and drove on. "I’m planning to move out now," she said.

OK. The number of gang members involved in this (second) incident is unspecified, but if we are talking about two coppers in a panda car, then they are obviously going to want to call up reinforcements before wading in; maybe there was a sequel which Carly didn't see. Maybe even there was no backup available. Who knows? But if this incident is be taken at its face value, it reads that the police have become inured to local casual violence to a frightening extent. Effectively, they appear to have given up.

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