Knife crime

Letters | 4 July 2019

Support for stop and search Sir: Mary Wakefield is rightly exasperated by fatuous comments over police use of stop and search (‘Stop posturing over stop and search’, 29 June). Perhaps this year there will be 200 murders of children by other children. Swamping areas with police is obviously a visible response to the problem, but gangs know there is a reluctance to stop and search and this is part of the reason for their arrogant attitude. Stop and search is street policing in the raw. It often leads to arrest, and it can be a messy, frustrating, confrontational business, even when done with tact and patience. As a Met PC

Stop posturing over stop and search

It was somehow inevitable that shortly after Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick announced a fall in violent crime, there would be an absolute horror-show of death across the capital. The ‘weekend of bloodshed’ began on Friday 14 June with the murder of 18-year-old Cheyon Evans, knifed by teens in Wandsworth. A few minutes later Eniola Aluko was shot dead in Plumstead, then three men were hospitalised in Clapham, another dead of knife wounds in Tower Hamlets, and another an hour later in Enfield. In Stratford the next day, by the Westfield shopping centre, more than 100 young men attacked and injured a handful of police officers. A section 60 order

Portrait of the Week – 7 March 2019

Home Two 17-year-olds were stabbed to death in London and Manchester, bringing the number of teenagers killed in knife crime this year to ten. Theresa May, the Prime Minister, said that there was ‘no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers’. Next day, Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said: ‘There is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is.’ The owners of Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner are to close 27 of their 87 restaurants. The family that has owned the British sports-car maker Morgan for 110 years is selling it to an Italian venture capitalist firm, Investindustrial. The philosopher

Diary – 10 May 2018

I spend my life moving. Over recent years it was research. Now it’s caused by that research. But I have become adept at adding things on to each trip. In Naples at the weekend, I visited the Sansevero chapel which contains the ‘veiled Christ’ of Sanmartino — a work Canova said he would have given ten years of his life to have created. This is so moving to see in the flesh — even the nail wounds visible through the marble shroud — that you have to make an effort not to ignore the other masterworks around it. Afterwards I steal a night down the coast in Positano. The sun

Two nations

Last month, a 17-year-old business student of Somali extraction, Abdikarim Hassan, was knifed to death outside a corner shop, 70 yards from my home in Kentish Town, north London. At that very moment, in a parody of middle-class life, I was having dinner with friends, playing bridge in my flat. Less than two hours later, and less than a mile away, another youth of Somali extraction, Sadiq Aadam Mohamed, 20, was slashed to death with a samurai sword. That same evening, a mile and a half from me, a 17-year-old survived a stabbing and a 24-year-old was attacked, suffering non-serious injuries. Two people have been charged in connection with the

Who dares face down the teenage gangsters?

The baby, unbothered by diesel fumes, enjoys an outing down the main road through London N1. Each passing bus is marked by a fat and pointing finger: ‘There!’ On the way to our local park last Thursday, we had just begun to cross the road, pointing up at the green ‘walk’ man, when a scooter tore straight through a red light and cut across in front of the pram. ‘What the hell?!’ I shouted and raised an angry hand. To my surprise, instead of speeding off, the driver jammed on his brakes and skidded round to face me. He was a boy of about 15 or 16, black, slight, and

Why don’t black lives matter at the carnival?

I do not get out very much these days, but the glorious weekend weather persuaded me that I should spend a pleasant afternoon watching people stabbing each other at our annual celebration of stabbing, the Notting Hill Carnival. I go most years and enjoy the street food, the music and the sight of white police officers with fixed rictus grins ‘getting down’ with some vast-mammaried semi-clad mama, their helmets askew and rivulets of sweat running down each crisp white shirt. And of course the violence, the violence. I am delighted to say that in this regard 2016 did not disappoint, with more than 400 people arrested and five stabbed —

The gangs of north London

I covered another stabbing the other day, a particularly nasty one this time. An 18-year-old was repeatedly knifed in the stomach and beaten over the head with a baseball bat. Witnesses told me he’d been outside his mum’s tower-block flat in Islington, north London, when he was rushed by a group of about ten or 15 boys. He suffered serious head injuries and multiple stab wounds and was soon in hospital in a medically induced coma. By some miracle, he survived. Who would have committed such a brutal and pointless crime? A source told me police believed the attackers to be from two London gangs: the Hoxton N1 gang, whose

Machetes and the middle classes

Another stabbing in my new neighbourhood, not with an axe or with a samurai sword this time, but a machete. The samurai sword incident was back in the spring. The magnolia was in bloom and the citizens of London N1 were about their innocent business, reading for book club and baking (wheat-free). At 3 p.m., a terrible screaming was heard coming from Englefield Road and when police arrived they found a teenage boy lying bleeding, sword on one side, meat cleaver on the other. The machete killing which followed was worse. Daylight, but this time the crime scene was a playground. Children were goofing about after school, including the soon-to-be victim’s

Barometer | 25 June 2015

The spirit of 1945 No one would have been more surprised at the sight of 100,000 people marching in London under the banner ‘End Austerity Now’ and demanding ‘Tories Out’ than Sir Stafford Cripps, President of the Board of Trade and briefly Chancellor of the Exchequer in Attlee’s government. — Hard though it might be to remember now, but austerity was once a proud Labour policy. The rationale of the policy, devised by Cripps, was that by suppressing private consumption, resources could be spent instead on boosting exports. — Any anti-austerity march in 1947 would have been led by the Conservatives, whose slogans of the time included ‘Starve with Strachey’