Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Crime Wave

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Crime Wave

Article excerpt

TODAY WE REVEAL the latest alarming crime figures produced by Scotland Yard. Even after entering the usual caveats about official statistics on crime - they can often be unreliable and notoriously open to conflicting interpretations - these make shocking reading.

Street robberies have risen by an astonishing 38 per cent in the last year, sex offences were up by 10 per cent and there were 200 murders in London - the highest on record and explained by the frightening growth of gangland violence. Even burglary, the main area in which the Met had made considerable progress over the last decade, has started to rise again.

Altogether there were a million reported crimes in the capital last year. Sir John Stevens, The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, will find himself under enormous pressure today - particularly by the worrying fact that there was no improvement whatsoever on the dismal detection rate by the London Force of just 15 per cent. The Met, with breathtaking insouciance, has argued that the responsibilities to protect London from terrorism had significantly damaged the fight against crime. Frankly this is not a good enough excuse. Clearly 11 September has played a part in the rising levels of domestic crime - but it cannot explain increases of this magnitude. The public expects rather more honest self-criticism from the Met and some reassurance. Especially on muggings, the number one concern of the public, Londoners need to be convinced that the police see a way to reclaim the streets. Today's figures will also make grim reading for the Home Secretary - if these numbers are repeated nationwide in statistics due in July he will find himself presiding over the worst set of crime figures in a decade. Mr Blunkett is an impressive man, one of the big beasts of this Government. His tough talk and firm policies - for example his announcement yesterday about cracking down on youth courts - shows he understands what needs to be done. The public now wants to be assured that he can deliver.

London gridlock

WHEN I hear the word traffic-calming I reach for my revolver, declared Hermann Goering. Actually it was culture that Goering hated, but his reaction will be shared by all Londoners who use a car in the metropolis. …

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