Knife crime debate drowning out voices of victims, says former Met Commissioner

The heated debate around knife crime is drowning out the voices of victims and families, according to a former Scotland Yard commissioner.

Sir Paul Stephenson also suggested some politicians have been more concerned with avoiding blame than “accepting responsibility for the mounting toll of young bodies in our mortuaries”.

The Met Commissioner from 2009-11 also said the “dramatic reduction in stop and search”, driven in part by the “contagion of unanalysed political correctness”, has contributed to violence on UK streets.

He said in a speech to public safety officials on Tuesday: “In the midst of all of this finger-pointing and rhetoric something is being lost and that is the voice of the victims and the witnesses, and their families.”

Describing knife crime as a “scourge” that is “afflicting our young people”, he said: “Let no-one peddle the nonsense of simple ‘go to’ solutions, there aren’t any.

“Let no-one tell you that we haven’t been here before – we have.

“Let no-one tell you that the dramatic reduction in stop and search activities by police officers, driven by naivety, a refusal to listen, arrogance and the contagion of unanalysed political correctness by senior politicians hasn’t contributed to the shameful problem confronting us.

“And am I alone in suspecting that recent statements on this matter by some senior politicians owe more to avoidance of blame and self-justification than they do to acceptance of responsibility for the mounting toll of young bodies in our mortuaries and effective policy-making?”

Sir Paul, chairman of youth charity Embrace Child Victims of Crime (CVoC), was speaking at the British Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (BAPCO) annual conference in Coventry.

His comments come as one of the country’s most senior police officers challenged the Prime Minister to act to stop the surge in violent crime.

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairwoman Sara Thornton told MPs there needs to be “a much more concerted response from Government” to tackle the bloodshed and this would be “a job for Number 10”.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Max Nash / PA Wire.