Thursday, June 05, 2008

What Can the Knife Summit Actually Achieve?

One wonders how much effect these 'spontaneous' Downing Street summits have. The latest is today on how to solve knife crime. No one would criticise the government for taking this very seriously and wanting to talk to experts about how to address it. But is it really necessary to promote it as if it were part of the second coming? If I were a cynic I'd think the timing was deliberate, to divert the TV cameras away from Tony Blair's select committee appearance today. Just as well I am not so cynical, isn't it?

The proof of the pudding for this knife crime summit will be to see what emerges from it. The sad truth is that there is no instant, quick fix solution. Ingrained attitudes take time to change. The only measure which might have a short term effect is to introduce a zero tolerance policy - and mean it. It's not just about increased punishment, though, it's instilling the fear of the consequences of getting caught with a knife. We can't insert ourselves into the mindset of someone who thinks it's both normal and acceptable to carry a knife, but we make sure they know the consequences of their actions.



Being touch on the causes of crime and not just the crime would be the basic thing they need to do. If folks have decently paid jobs, decent education and a fair distribution of wealth with chances and opportunities for all. You then take away the culture which supports youngsters just wandering the streets.

Also reinstating youth clubs and supporting families with real help not just throwing money at scroungers.

None of the above actions actually effect knife laws or the carrying of them, but would do a lot more to irradicate knife and all crimes than what is being supposedly done by the talking shop today.

AnyoneButBrown said...

We are all wearily familiar with NuLabs MO when it comes to a media scare
- express concern
- say "x is totally unacceptable
- announce summit on "x" (in this example knife crime)
- summit concludes with a series of meaningless platitudes and actions that any sensible person could have identified in 10 minutes
- enact another meaningless and unimplementable bill to address "x" creating a false sense of "something is being done"
- hope the scare disappears from the media
- if not announce the appointment of a czar to deal with the scourge of "x"
- several years later the czar resigns having achieved nothing

Have I missed anything?

Anonymous said...

Iain, untilit become socially unacceptable, and by socially unacceptable, I mean within a peergroup, the only two things that will deter people carrying knives are the certainty of being caught, and the certainty of receiving a prison sentence.

I fear we as in for many more of these horror stories.

Anonymous said...

They say a drowning man waves his arms in a frenzy before finally sinking below the surface, this is simply what the snotgobbler is doing now.

Worrying that the PM has time to set sentencing policy in the Criminal Justice area, when he officially has a country to run, which is heading into a long recession with nothing in the cupboard to reduce its impact.

God knows what the Home Secretary is supposed to be doing, or the Justice Secretary when the PM grandstands his stance on Knife crime.

Anonymous said...

I think they are also trying to do a spoiler on Boris's campaign which has gained some traction and caught the public imagination. The government will try to make out that it was all their idea. But because they haven't a clue about this or any other issue, they will make no progress and then fiddle the statistics to "prove" that they have.

Richard Nabavi said...

It's not just about increased punishment, though, it's instilling the fear of the consequences of getting caught with a knife.

In many cases, these knives are carried by children - 14, 15 year olds. Sadly, we have a generation of children who have been taught that they are untouchable. The police have their hands tied. Teachers are unable (and, it seems, unwilling) to discipline them. Other adults who try to intervene to stop thuggish behaviour are liable to be attacked themselves, or arrested for assault. It seems that parents have no control. Schools and youth organizations are so hampered by red tape and political correctness that it is hard to direct the energy of these children into more positive channels.

So these poor kids are frightened of no-one except other, more thuggish, kids and young men.

It's a desperate situation - truly a 'broken society'.

This summit looks like just a gimmick; the laws needed to control the immediate symptoms already in place, if the police can be bothered and allowed to enforce them. Addressing the underlying causes is a much longer job.

[Repost, this time to the correct thread!]

Windsor Tripehound said...

Perhaps one of your contributors could substantiate (or otherwise) this story I have in the back of my mind, but as I recall, in the 50s Glasgow had a problem with razor gangs...

...that is, up to the point when an exasperated judge finally had had enough and sentenced a couple of "razor boys" to 20 years in prison.

Razor fights stopped overnight. Funny that.

Anonymous said...

Do you seriously believe that ANYTHING will come out of it?


The last 11 years has told you nothing?

You haven't 'learnt lessons'?

Now go and join the Liberal Left windbags who think they have the answer!

Twig said...

I heard Gordon Brown on the radio just now. He's going to send out the message to parents that it's wrong and totally unacceptable for children to carry knives.


How lucky we are to have a leader with such clear vision (and we didn't even have to vote for him!).

Anonymous said...

As a police officer I regularly interview and charge people for the offence of "Possession of a knife blade or sharply Pointed article", not to mention "Offensive weapons"
The law as it stands is simple straightforward and clear so there is no need for the politicians to meddle with it or introduce more legisation. What is needed are more detections and for this the Police need "Stop and Search" powers as per pre-Macpherson and never mind the hurt feelings of certain groups. People carry knives because they think there is little chance of getting caught and if they do the penalties are not severe.Increased detection,lengthy sentences in austere and uncomfortable prisons and 10 years for anyone who so much as pulls a pulls a knife on another person, this is what's needed to start to get a grip on knife crime and you can then worry about all of the other social problems we're assured are connected to this issue.

Anonymous said...

It is clearly a superficial publicity stunt designed to create the impression that something is being done. It is "a high profile initiative that he can personally be associated with" Jacqui Smith must be pretty pissed off with him stealing her thunder. Symptomatic of his micro management

Anonymous said...

Twig - Agreed! And he governs with such flair and such a deft touch!

Boris should steal a march - and implement a regulation that would be cheap and would work: The stocks.

Nothing on earth is as fragile as the adolescent male ego. To be jeered at by his mates and to endure them taking videos on their handphones of him in his degraded position and throwing old tomatoes at him would sort this situation in about a month.

I don't know whether there's a giant TV screen in London as there is in Times Sq in New York, but if there is, loops of these boys undergoing punishment by their ex-mates could be a feature to add to the gaiety of the capital.

Anonymous said...

What can the Knife Summit actually achieve? I'd say the square root of jack shit.

Brian said...

What's the odds that if the police are successful in cracking down hard on knife crime, baseball bats, bike chains or lead pipes will become the weapons of choice?

Anonymous said...

When I was a schoolboy I commonly carried a penknife. Now as an adult I still do (Swiss Army pattern, regularly used- but never on people). I have no criminal record. I am far from alone- I remember reading that every schoolboy got a commerarative penknife on coronation day (before my time but still) Would my generation have been better behaved if we'd all been locked up?
It's crazy blaming assaults on a useful tool, especially given the number of alternatives available (glass, bottle,screwdriver, bat etc.) I think the dreadfully old fashioned idea of insisting that people, including young people, behaave responsibly would generate superior results (but no publicity).


Anonymous said...

Since when was it within the remit of The Prime Minister to decide who gets prosecuted and for what ?

Of what comfort will it be to the next victim of knife crime that one stabber aged 17 years might get sent down while his 16 year old accomplice gets a caution ?

anyonebutbrown I'd say that you covered the main points; bring on the Powerpoint Presentation with all the glossy colour knife-porn pictures of what a proper stabbing/slashing looks like to give the kids something to aim for.

Gaol the lot Gordon, you fool.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"When I was a schoolboy I commonly carried a penknife. Now as an adult I still do (Swiss Army pattern, regularly used- but never on people)."

Exactly! When England was full of English people it was expected that all good litle boy scouts would carry a knife because it is a useful tool.

Many of these knife convictions are the hopeless police getting easy nicks by persecuting ordinary decent people. The police are far too busy getting promotion, raising taxes, and stamping out political incorrectness, the latest wheeze being the crime of being Christian in a Moslem area.

The police can lie about crime as much as they like it doesn't alter the facts. Most adults avoid going out as it has become far too dangerous. The young have to go out as it's an unavoidable part of growing up. They do need knifes to protect themselves. They need to protect themselves from the consequences of what the police and the liblabcons have done to society.

Ever more fascist laws on the pretence of safeguarding people from the societal destruction that the ruling classes, and the lickspittle police, want to impose on Britain.

Anonymous said...

Verity...I love your suggestion of the stocks - very amusing and of course should be top of the list for Brown and Co as it also solves the problem of what to do with all that left over rotting food we all have in our fridges after going out and buying those wasteful BOGOF deals from the supermarkets. Oh what wonderful, thoughtful leader we have in Mr Slackchops!! Hurrah! ;-P *giggle*