A big PR stunt

Feb 09

PR stunts in the good old days used to be so much simpler. Back in 2007-08, when gangs hysteria was at its height, it was a simple narrative to sell. The classic police line was that a “Mr Big” had been caught – the head of the hydra had been cut off, so the rest would fall away. Occasionally there would be the occasional...

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The Real Role of the Police

Feb 04

Earlier this week a group of gang members were taken to Wood Green Crown court to hear some home truths. Ten boys, all under the age of 17, were brought into the dock. They giggled and shouted abuse at the police. Five minutes into the session they’d fallen silent. They’d been shown stomach-churning photos of stabbing victims....

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Response to the Haringey Community & Police Consultative Group

Jan 29

Haringey’s CPCG asked for feedback from people who’d attended its meetings on what the police can do to build bridges with the community. I’d been to the meetings in a reporting capacity, not because I’m a local – so I probably  should have kept my trap shut – but anyway…. Dear ______, My thoughts...

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We need to talk about crime

Jan 29

In 2008 I finished a book about street gangs, called One Blood. I’d spent the best part of two years trudging around the country, interviewing people in gangs, council officals, voluntary sector workers, housing officers, teachers and the like. Not surprisingly, the best insights came from off-record interviews with policemen. One...

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Reading the Riots: first thoughts

Dec 06

As soon as I saw the first headline to come out of Reading the Riots, I began to fear for the project. In fact – that’s the problem right there. Journalistic ethics and academic ethics just aren’t comfortable bedfellows. A decent sociological report into a huge epidemic wouldn’t usually generate a headline. Yet...

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Hooray, it’s War on Gangs time

Dec 02

First of all this piece by Peter Squires re 2011 riots, gangs and policy echoes many of the points I’ll be making in the updated version of One Blood – it’s well worth a read. Secondly, a few words on the War on Gangs. The War on Gangs takes place once a year, on average (unless there’s been a particularly horrific...

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