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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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 strange case of the disappearing department

Feb 08

Of all the government departments to lead, you might think the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is a bit of a cushy number. You could hardly say it’s high profile. You might know that Caroline Spelman is the Secretary of State, but I challenge any of you to pick Richard Benyon, Jim Paice or Lord Taylor of...

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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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