Drill music, drugs and stop and searches have all been blamed for knife crime. But what actually is the real issue?
Words by Tayo Adeboye
A wise man once said the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem. I am sad to say the attitude of the powers that be concerning this issue has been one of ignorance. Many, such as MP David Lammy have blamed drugs as the reason behind knife crime. Journalist Piers Morgan has called for more stop and searches and harsher prison sentences for those found carrying knives. The media has also sought to blame the budding genre of ‘Drill’ music as a root cause. There are a lot of factors which have led to the situation we face today. So allow me to throw in my two cents on the issue
MP David Lammy blames drugs as the source of knife crime. However, if you look at the statistics while at times drugs is a factor, it is not THE factor causing these atrocities. In fact, more often than not drugs have absolutely nothing to do with most stabbings that occur. The problem is people choose not to even attempt to understand the underlying issues and blame whatever they feel is appropriate, which quite frankly is ignorant.
Stop and searches
I can almost understand why some may feel implementing stop and searches would help solve the problem. If you enforce the law more thoroughly surely this would take more knives off the streets? However, the complete lack of police resources would not make this possible and furthermore, this tactic was only ever used to harass minorities, which would only ever lead to animosity between the youth and law enforcement. In effect by not policing the police, in trying to solve one problem you’ve created another which is why I can tell you from experience many of the youth have a deep disdain for police which I can wholeheartedly understand. Most importantly, the question must be asked; what is it you are trying to do? Are you trying to solve the problem of knife crime? Do you feel this tactic alone will SOLVE knife crime? Stop and searches have some merit, but you are effectively catching the end of the problem rather than the root. By the time the stop and search are carried out another youth will now be a criminal in society and it is very possible he will go further down the crooked path of crime. You cannot complain about solving a problem when you are not willing to address the root of it. That’s like having a leak in your sink and only ever cleaning up the spilt water, rather than fixing the leak itself. it is clear to say this blanket solution is extremely limited.
The genre of drill has recently emerged. The violent and brutal lyrics depicting deplorable acts of violence have been blamed as a cause of knife crime. Whilst drill is a factor, like drugs, it is not THE cause. Knife crime has been around for as long as I have been alive, the early 2000s had the worst crime rates for many years, Drill has only recently emerged in the past few years, thus it is fair to say knife crime has been a problem far longer than drill has existed. To blame drill music as the cause is nonsensical. Whilst I agree that much of drill music is deplorable, the question must once again be asked. What are you trying to do? Stop knife crime? Do you really believe by banning drill music this will SOLVE the issue of knife crime? If so you’ll be in for a nasty surprise should that day ever come. These blanket problems and solutions society have created are as bad as the real problems themselves. Many do not care about the problem of knife crime they just dislike that it is brought to their attention through drill music. So you must really ask, are you actually concerned about the real problem? Or are you just annoyed that you have to hear about it to a beat?
The real problem
I am a legal criminal adviser, and also a product of south London so speaking from my experiences. There are several different factors which contribute to the problem of knife crime. One of the main issues is that society needs to stop generalising the issues surrounding knife crime. Blaming blanket problems such as drugs or music is distracting from the many other issues that need to be addressed. Blanket solutions also need to stop and we need to address issues such as poverty, by now we all know that knife crime isn’t happening in every single borough. This issue has been happening in the same disenfranchised and deprived places involving the same types of people for many years. Do you think the powers that be haven’t figured this out? They simply do not care until it becomes a trending topic. Many of the youths come from economically deprived areas if you’d have told me I could be a lawyer back in my younger days I almost certainly would have laughed at the thought. Many youths already have criminal records and are not are not able to access many sectors in society, we need to work with these youths to show them there are other ways to make something of yourself.
What also needs to be done is to address the individuals, their specific issues, and treat them as people. You can have 10 different youths involved in knife crime for 10 completely different reasons. The refusal to address these separate factors is a direct contributor as to why we face a powder keg situation in today’s society.
Finally, the ignorance of communities and its leaders needs to be addressed immediately. Look at MPs such as Sadiq Khan and David Lammy. These men have the nerve to try and ‘solve’ problems they do not really understand. Rather than doing something sensible such as communicating with organisations and people who have gone through both sides of knife crime they would rather hold meetings with 100 other people who also know nothing about the problem and have the audacity to be surprised when these ‘solutions’ either have the opposite effect or none whatsoever.
In summary, it’s clear knife crime isn’t one big issue. There are many factors that need to be addressed but clearly sticking to what has been done in the past is not going to work. The society we live in has been a substantial cause and contributor to the issue at hand. In many ways, the youths carrying knives are as much victim as those these knives are used on. Whilst I cannot offer a solution to the problem I can say with certainty until we address the culture of economic and social ostracism this problem will only continue to escalate. These issues today are a product of society, and it is this society that must first be addressed.