Tuesday 8 November 2011

Gangs, Knifes and Amnesia

"19 year old male, stabbed in back"

Working in a city, we see our fair share of knife crime. It happens much more regularly than the media report. In reality you only hear about it on the news if its a teenager who has been stabbed or rich white man was stabbed by a black man. In practice, stabbings occur every single day and 99% of it is young males in gangs. The dispiriting truth about the cities gang culture is that it is not only large, with at least 100 gangs, but it attracts ever younger children. There must be worthwhile alternatives for young people to gang membership, not just limited to sports centers. Education is the most powerful force for change: government-driven improvements in schools in deprived areas will, it is hoped, offer teenagers more fundamental alternatives to the gangs, by providing them with the skills and discipline to aspire to employment and further education rather than an existence as drug-pushers.

The London riots showcased to the world the gang culture that exists and the roots of these appalling events are many and complex but none more so than the way Britain's educational establishment has cringed helplessly in the face of ever increasing gang culture; a culture that rejects every tenet of liberal society. It's violent, it's sexist, it's homophobic and it's racist. Unfortunately,  it is broadly tolerated by many people in the poorer communities, which has lost control of its teenage youths. Those youths scare the wits out of teachers and social workers, the public and police officers. Knife crime is rife and not enough is being done to stop it. There is no parity in sentencing for offenders, not enough police resources available to tackle the issue head on and not enough incentives for these young people to buck the trend. In London alone (I choose London because they are the easiest statistics to find!), there were 7,231 knife crimes in 2010/2011, a 29% increase on 2008. There sits evidence enough that the issue is not being tackled and whilst there are Conservative promises of more cuts to front line police the numbers will simply increase.

We were called to an address in rough part of town. Music was blaring, there were scores of people loitering with intent outside the address, buzz words such as 'retribution' and 'revenge' were being branded about. This was clearly gang related but for us, the problem with gang related stabbing is the clear and concise history! Our guy was stood in the living room, tempers were high, testosterone at critical levels and don't even get me started on their dress sense! He however was topless, bleeding from a rather large stab would in his back. I was concerned about the levels of air entry in his left lung and was keen to treat as I found, however, he didn't want treatment, he wanted to go out, I assume, tooled up looking to hit back at the rival gang. Nether the less, the police assured him he would be going to hospital. Now the history.

"So what exactly happened?"

"I don't know"

"What were you stabbed with?"

"I don't know"

"Who stabbed you? Was there a gang of them?"

"Can't remember"

"Did you get in a confrontation?"


"Where did this happen?"

"Cant remember"

"So you were just walking alone, realised you had been stabbed, but didn't see anyone, hear anything or feel anything?"

"Nah, I got back to yard yeah and my home boy told me I was bleeding, innit"

Wow! Amnesia is so frustrating. To loose the memory of such a memorable event must be a nightmare. How on earth will the police catch the bad guy? In a word, they won't. They will continue to chase their under-resources tails until they come across another teen. Dead. Stabbed by the guy with amnesia. And why? I can't remember!

This guy didn't die but also didn't appreciate the significance of what had happened. It was just another day. Gang life. It comes with the territory. For too long, the less affluent areas of society have been left to breed this hatred and it is now endemic. The softly softly approach clearly doesn't work, job and financial incentives are futile because more money can be eared in pushing drugs. What is needed is 0 tolerance, long prison sentences, removal of benefits, confiscation of property. What the government needs to do is give the police the powers to stop this mindless violence and criminality in its tracks but instead, they have a different solution. 16000 less officers! Genius! That'll fix the problem!



  1. Just realised that none of the comments I've previously posted were published. My bad.
    The night this was published I had just gone on a 25 mile emergency drive to a young lad who'd had his throat cut wide open, 20cm, trachea exposed (notched by the blade it turns out), no major vessels damaged but all the neck muscles were cut through. Quite a sight.

    The hard part was controlling him when taking him to hospital, spitting, punching, pissing, kicking. Even after I showed him a picture of himself he still wouldn't calm it. Tempted to kick him out on the A1 and leave him to bleed.

  2. That was what you should have done and if he survived the amnesia would kick in anyway.

  3. I can relate! Had a guy with stab wounds in the tops of both arms. We asked him how it happened and his reply was he fell over! I'm afraid I couldn't help myself and replied with, wow! That was bloody clever landing on both arms at the same time.


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