Anorak News | Knife Crime And Media Scare Stories: 1981 Revisited

Knife Crime And Media Scare Stories: 1981 Revisited

by | 12th, December 2008

“FOR David,” says the Sun’s editorial on David Idowu who was knifed to death earlier this year.

It’s a tragic water of life. But that’s enough about David, because the Sun is soon using his death to lead into a piece on the wider malaise of “Broken Britain”.

Crime figures reveal a small dip in knife crime “largely due to increased stop-and search action”. Brrr! It’s cold out there. Anyone want to fight now or wait until the summer when we get to stay out late?

The solution:

“…increasing stop and search operation.”

Cast your minds back to 1981 when the ‘Sus’ law meant anybody could be stopped and searched if officers merely suspected they might be planning to carry out a crime. In early April that year, Operation Swamp Sussed more than 1,000 people in six days.

A riot followed.

The Sun’s plan appears flawed. Innocent people soon tire of being suspected of criminality. Especially if they are black, like many of the victim of knife crime fatalities.

But knife crime is rife. As the Independent reported in July:

Knife violence in Britain is far worse than official statistics suggest, with almost 14,000 people taken to hospital for injuries caused by knives and other sharp weapons last year.

According to the latest Department of Health statistics, an average of 38 victims of knife wounds are admitted to accident and emergency departments across the country every day.

Grim news. And not only for stabbing victims, but for anyone who accidentally cut themselves with a blade or a sharp implement – they are also included in the headline figure.

And Olympics minister Tessa Jowell has warned the knife crime epidemic threatens to scare visitors away from the 2012 Games. She said stopping the bloodshed was “incredibly important” to the success of the event.

The numbers of death as a result of knife crime have gone up, notably in London. The media talks of an epidemic of knife crime. But if it is, the outbreaks are localised in big inner cities – knife crime has fallen in Scotland and Wales.

Knife crime remains an issue, but the tabloids cloud the story with mawkishness, a grab for hearts, cheap catchphrases and scare stories.

Britain is far from broken…

Note: The Mirror’s anti-knife crime debate continues on today’s front page…

Posted: 12th, December 2008 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink