The most expensive boarding school of them all

May 31

‘“It’s all a joke. All I do with the parole officers is pretend to look like I care.” I remember how surprising I found Nathan’s words, five years ago now. I met him after he’d been released from Rochester – the first man I’d ever met in that situation. He’d been left with a £53 warrant, a license with a...

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This investigation is about more than Mark Duggan

May 31

Few people realise that the first riot in Tottenham didn’t happen in August 2011. It happened in the April of that year, in Northumberland Park, when a few police officers were attacked by a group of thirty or so men, after they saw a man being stopped by them. It got a couple of lines in the local press: it just wasn’t anything out of...

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The issues surrounding youth crime

May 31

We all love the idea of local solutions when it comes to dealing with crime. The left love it: only this weekend the increasingly admirable Stella Creasy’s Mayoral Youth Crime Pledge got an excited response from community leaders. The right love it: this morning Nick Herbert performed a volte-face of relatively shocking proportions –...

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The riots – local leaders are the answer

Mar 30

The riots were a game-changer. The sheer scale of the criminality tells a story in itself – 15,000 participants, 5,000 crimes and a cost of £0.5bn. Until now, crime has rarely impacted on most of us – if you live in the category of neighbourhood most affected by it, you suffer twice the rate of property crime and four times...

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Catch the gang members, end the rapes? It’s not that simple

Feb 22

While researching sexual violence in gangs in 2008, a youth worker told me a particularly shocking story about a young boy whose mother had found drugs under the bed. She told him to take the drugs to the police, which he did. As a result, she was raped by the boy’s gang. No action was taken: she was too scared to press...

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A Visit to Brick Lane

Feb 22

A short walk east from the gleaming glass of the RBS building by Liverpool Street station, through Brick Lane, through the low rise red brick and concrete blocks of flats that make up the Spitalfields Estate, there’s a big Victorian building, which looks like an old school. Outside, there’s a small football pitch, and there are...

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