Teenage Gangsters

Imagine Britain without kids terrorising streets I am afraid I know how many people react when they hear that another teenager has been stabbed or shot on the streets of London. For them, it is like the news of a small bomb in Albania, or a motorway pile-up in the Philippines. It's a tragedy, they may think, but one that has no real bearing on their lives. And if you belong, even vaguely, to that category, then I urge you to look at the map, and see how these murders are now dotted across virtually every corner of London. Then you will see that it could be near you; it could be near me. It's happening less than a mile from the Palace of Westminster, and it's happening in towns and cities around Britain, too. Then you reflect that for every death - and there have been 26 in the past year - there are thousands of less grievous injuries, and myriad assaults; and if you are like me, you start to feel a mounting sense of rage. What has caused this catastrophic collapse in values, this culture of criminality? How come modern Britain seems incapable of dealing with these teenage gangsters? And how come they are spreading apprehension - the fear of crime, if not crime itself - into areas that are demonstrably safe? We all reach for the automatic remedies. Lock them up. Zero tolerance. Build more prisons. Crack down on thugs. And I am certainly not saying that our instincts are wrong. We need to get more police out on the street, and we need to end the combination of bureaucracy and political correctness that keeps police filling in forms when they could be on patrol and reassuring the public. We need to end the appalling rowdiness on the buses and we need people to feel safe on the platforms of railway stations. But we also need to recognise that we are dealing with the consequences of vast social change - and that we cannot rely on law and order alone. Before these kids start killing each other, we can save time, and money, and lives if we get to the heart of the problem. These children are growing up without boundaries. They have no respect for adults because they have never been taught any such thing. In some cases, they will be full of the rage of teenage males who never had a father, and who find themselves teased about the relationships subsequently formed by their mothers. They need people who can talk straight to them, and give them a sense of right and wrong, and ambition and confidence. That is a hard task. The schools can't cope. The social services can't possibly be expected to fill the gap. That is why I am so happy that Daily Telegraph readers are this Christmas supporting Kids Company, a charity whose mission is to help some of the angriest and most vulnerable children in the city. Kids Company has so far had more than 11,000 clients, and, like so many politicians, I am full of admiration for what they do. But then there are thousands of other teenagers who never come anywhere near the orbit of such an organisation. They are sucked into gangs, into crime, and they help to degrade the quality of life for millions of people who yearn for the streets to be safe, and who have become nervous of children in a way that was unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago. We must tackle this problem, and, as Mayor of London, it will be my number one priority. I will encourage and support groups such as Kids Company, and I will do so in a way that is ruthlessly politically incorrect. I don't care if there is the occasional whiff of Christianity. I don't care if the kids are lined up in rows and given boot-camp-style bawlings. I don't care what methods are used, provided it is done with love and understanding, and provided someone does something. It strikes me as incredible that the current Labour Mayor has said absolutely nothing about the problem, and it is a disgrace that he and his cronies are able to funnel millions down the gullets of various political action groups - with no tangible benefit to Londoners - when these millions could be used to support voluntary groups and change the lives of these children. Think of the advantages to our society if we can start to get this right. Think how much more wonderful London and every other British city would be, if we could restore security to the streets. Street safety is vital, because it is the precondition for solving virtually every other urban problem. Look at the appalling inequalities in London. It is a scandal that a child born in Haringey is three times more likely to die at birth than a child born in Richmond. If you travel eight stops on the Jubilee Line, from Westminster to Canning Town, there is a fall of eight years in the life expectancy of the surrounding communities. That is as big as the difference in life expectancy between Britain and Lebanon. Londoners have worse problems with obesity than anywhere else in Britain, and 4,000 die every year from obesity-related conditions. But how can you expect people to go jogging after dark - or at any time - if they are terrified of juveniles? How can we hope that they will use municipal tennis courts, if they are dominated by young thugs? It is this insecurity on the streets and in public spaces that does so much to deepen divisions, and to segregate communities, and to create ghettoes of disadvantage slap bang next to some of the most affluent places on Earth. Unless people feel safe on the streets of an urban area, they won't open shops there, and they won't locate their businesses there, and they won't buy houses there, and they won't send their children to the local school - and so the inequalities are deepened. But if we restore that sense of security, then we get the opposite effect. We get confidence, and investment, and an erosion of inequalities, and people deciding that it is worth doing up the house, because the area is coming up. And we can only get that sense of security if we not only improve our policing, but if we use every means possible to steer these kids away from crime. So I hope you give generously, folks, and Happy Christmas.

41 thoughts on “Teenage Gangsters”

  1. Last summer a young boy of about ten came into my garden and was kicking over the bins and shed door. Other boys were with him but they were just watching. Naturally I went out to vent my anger but as I did so I very quickly realised that there was nothing I could do! I told the boy off, he gave me a load of verbal, fully confident in knowing that I couldn’t clip his ear or even frogmarch him off to his parents or the police. So in the end all I could do was do nothing.

    A few years ago it would have been impossible to imagine a ten year old boy standing and telling a six foot 15 stone man to ‘F… off’ but that is the sort of thing that happens today. Children have grown to understand at a very young age that no-one can punish them. Now I’m not saying that a boy of ten is fully responsible for his actions, but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t suffer some form of punishment.

    Adults should be allowed to physically detain youngsters and call the police in instances of wanton vandalism. The police should then take the child into custody and the parents of that child should be held responsible for the actions of their child. Whenever little Johnny goes into a garden, kicks over the plants etc, the parents then should get a healthy fine. Same goes for kids who misbehave at school. Unless and until these kids are brought to account, even if through their parents, they will continue to be a problem. These kids eventually grown up, taking their anti-social attitudes into adulthood, thats why we’ve got to catch them while they are young.

  2. There is strong evidence that the most important single factor is fatherlessness. Not single parenthood since, at least among boys, male single parents do not correlate with crime & social failure.

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/Crime/BG1026.cfm

    This is fairly depressing since it suggests, with fatherlessnes almost becoming the norm, things are going to get worse & that it will take at least a generation to turn round.

    I therefore think Cameron is 100% right to put supporting the family, by tax & otherwise, high among his priorities even though it lays him open to charges of political incorrectness.

  3. But the problem of changing the situation so people can actually do something about the kids who take great pleasure in casuing misery, is that this will incur the wraith of the do-gooders who said all that time ago we need to protect children.

    How ironic that we now need to do something to protect the people who need to deal with these children, lest they fall victum to criminal proceedings simply for doing the right thing, in the above comments, simply trying to stop from vandalising.

    I just don’t see what anyone can do. Situations like this, once made the norm in society, are very difficult to impossible to change.

  4. Apologies for the length of this note, but the subject does interest me.

    Kids Company does sound like a good thing (and Camila Batmanghelidjh needs all the support she can get). Kids with problems become so isolated that they need people who will listen to them. More counsellors/psychologists in schools working alongside teachers wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

    (And incidentally, Merry Christmas to you, too, and all the people involved in this list.)

    But like before on a similar occasion, I have to say – Boris, if you really, really want to change things, you HAVE to tackle the plight of those teachers in ‘challenging’ schools. School is where youngsters spend most of their time.

    In France, teachers are only expected to do 18 hours of classroom teaching per week. The rest of the full-time quota is given over to marking and preparation – incredibly time-consuming activities – and all those extras that teachers have to do, like parents’ evenings, project work, detentions, etc. But it’s a civilized job, leaving them with time to pay individual attention to those who need it.

    Over here, many teachers are expected to do up to 25 hours of teaching per week and, on top of this workload, have to cover absence/sickness. Sometimes, they may not get a break all day because they’re asked to cover break/lunch-time duties, yet may then have to spend evenings/weekends doing marking and preparation.

    The net result is that teachers are exhausted, with very little time to recover or regenerate from week to week, let alone build up the necessary resources to deal with difficult kids.

    In addition to ALL this, they are bullied and browbeaten and pushed around by a punitive government that seems to have absolutely no idea of what the process of education entails – constant change, for instance, is destabilizing and destructive – and whose educationalists have probably never set foot in a classroom or, if they have, couldn’t cope and got out of there fast (and probably into OFSTED).

    It is a punishing regime – most people want to make a good job of earning a living, but they also want to get on with their lives! Why does work in some sectors have to be turned into such an ordeal? (And I would include the NHS in the list, but that’s yet another matter…)

    I would like to say – get rid of government interference – but that’s probably unrealistic. However, EMPOWERING the teachers could build a real foundation for improvement in schools.

    If kids see teachers being pushed around – an adult form of bullying on the part of our government – then it follows that they will imitate that behaviour. So teachers have to work twice as hard in ‘difficult’ schools.

    Incidentally, in a moment of madness, I enrolled on a teaching course – and even stuck it out despite its resemblance to a crash-course in character-building. So at least I do know what it’s like to be faced with a teenager who tells you to “f… off”, a class that sabotages everything you try and do and the difficulty in dealing with a bunch of confused and slightly crazed boys taller than myself. Theories go out the window! (What a shame the ‘students’ don’t follow…)

    I also experienced teaching in a good school, where there were few discipline problems. Why? Because, amongst other reasons, the teachers were fully supported (and there were many of them), there were definite discipline rules and problem areas were tackled intelligently by the head and staff alike (without blame falling continually on teachers). There was also money, of course, for good facilities. It was a happy school.

  5. When you read, “Three teen joyriders die in Aston Martin crash”,
    don’t you find yourself thinking, “What a tragedy. Lovely car like that.”
    Go on, admit it.

  6. I have seen at first hand what these kids can do. The way they disrespect the police, their elders, family and people that actually are trying to do them a favour in guiding them…not interested.

    I no longer go out in my area, Croydon or Sutton. Even though I am nearly 6’2″ and am not incapable of defending myself, it is far too dangerous due to the fact that a kid carrying a knife or a gun would probably have no problem slashing me up for the fun of it or even stabbing me to prove he’s a bad ass “gangsta”!!

    I feel threatened. Why is that? It appears that murder is just something that gets to make someone notoriously tough. To be up on a charge of gbh or the likes just gives them a badge of toughness.In the days of a fair punch up that is what it was. Now it appears that a fight always has to include weapons and if someone dies…well, thats just the way it is these days!!
    People will always vent anger and fight, its human nature. The way that teenagers are now is just not acceptable and the fault lays with the parents,and also of the DO GOODERS that have taken away discipline and replaced it with??? lack of respect from the yobs.

    Families break up, the mother gets custody in most cases and for whatever reason many fathers dissapear. The kids grow older and for whatever reason seem to either lack oppotunity to get out and do things…not enough youth clubs in areas. BOREDOM and FRUSTRATION kicks in, and away they go.
    Vandalising and graffiti, stealing and joy riding.WHY?
    Because it is FUN.
    I had other things to do. Cycling, going swimming, adventure playgrounds, many other things as well,and the support from my parents..BOTH of them.
    I respected each of them, a telling off and that was it…listened and took on board what was said.
    The police would be a major threat and the mention of that to people would see most things calm and simmer…NOT NOW, they’re just another target to vent anger at, usually without much of a fine or record!

    If the kids cant get a job…give them something to do.Get them out from their houses and away from the TV and playstations…stuffing coke and crisps down their lazy fat necks and get them doing something.
    If they are the bad ass gangstas they think they are…stick them in the army, then see them crying for mummy when the bullets are flying each and every day…and maybe then they will realise that they aint so tuff after all.
    If they are caught doing vandalism, teach them to fix it….in their time and of course make the parents pay for the repairs.
    Car theft, well rather than send them on a holiday…send them to a boot camp, if they are that lazy they need a car to get around maybe a good old fashioned PT instructor will give them their energy back.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. When someone in power has got the balls to stand up and actually do what they KNOW WE WANT…maybe a few things will change.
    Its tough and dangerous out there…I would rather be supported by COPS that can actually steam in and give a few drunks a good seeing to rather than ones that are not allowed to touch in case a claim is bought on them.
    Softly softly aint working….give back the powers and see what happens….I live in fear of death from kids…not in fear of the POLICE. If I do wrong, let them throw the book at me.

  7. I know that everyone ridiculed David Cameron for his “hug a hoddie” attitude (although actually he never said that) but I have always thought he had the right idea. Psychologists agree with him and say he is right. Teenagers that turn to crime have never had boundaries set, nor the loving discipline they need and have never had a chance in life. It is too easy an answer to chuck them into jail. A lot of the kids turning to crime are very intelligent, but have never had any encouragement. Young kids need goals, support and the inspiration to learn. Could more organised community service be brought in for young offenders, before things get too far and they are turning to violence? Also someone to inspire kids to learn and to see how worthwhile education is, would be fantastic. This is why I so support Mr. Johnson. He has the gift of reaching out to people through his humour, he is highly educated, but not intimidating with his knowledge. Development of culture is part of the Lord Mayor’s task. I so hope he will produce incentives for youngsters to learn and to make learning fun, because so much darkness and sadness and negativity is portrayed on our tv. screens ( did you SEE the Christmas soaps!) – it would be so great to counteract that. It is inspiring to lose yourself in a book and let your imagination run free, it is inspiring to paint a picture, or knit a scarf making up your own pattern. London is rich in culture, from Doris Salcedo to Banksie to our theatres. You can get books for a few quid on the internet. It is all there, we need someone who is approachable, affable, not patronising, to turn things in a more positive direction.

  8. Boris,
    If your bid for London mayor does not work out, would you consider crossing the Altantic to the states and run for president ?. We need some competence

  9. People who exchanged messages written on stone tablets had things posted quicker than this site at the moment.

    You might as well turn it off if you aren’t going to do it properly.

  10. Great article insofar as it sets out the #1 concern of Londoners. Flowery solution though; funding projects etc etc has to be “doomed-to-fail-but-sounds-nice” New Labour-like policy. Like a lot of New Labour policy it will be ineffective and hand on a legacy of waste /inefficiency (even if it sounds nice). Better to come up with a solution that incentivises the individuals to behave properly, be responsible for themselves and respect other’s property in the first place. Bozzer you can do better !

  11. I want to know what you are going to do exactly. You say ‘do something’ and then say you don’t mind being politically incorrect etc. I’m not interested in you explaining what the problem is. I am familiar with it. I want to know details about how you are going to make things different. Otherwise you are just wasting my time…

    I am a teacher in the inner city. Your people should read my blog. Take note. And follow my advice.

  12. �We need to get more police out on the street, and we need to end the combination of bureaucracy and political correctness that keeps police filling in forms when they could be on patrol and reassuring the public.�

    I strongly differ with your assessment that somehow youth crime will be reduced simply by increasing the number of police patrolling our streets. Perhaps what is required is for us to assess the wider picture, for instance, setting out a coherent policy for us to reduce youth crime and youth victimisation, markedly seeking to address victims and perpetrators of criminal activity. This could be achieved by, for instance, through active partnership work between organisations working within the criminal justice system. Or perhaps borough could seek to formulate a policy that effectively aims to investigate the longer-term approach to tackling youth crime in London.

    �We need to end the appalling rowdiness on the buses and we need people to feel safe on the platforms of railway stations.�

    Through a comprehensive policing plan, the police in collaboration with Government and the Mayor of London should seek to reduce young people�s involvement in crime, reduce re-offending and additionally ensure young people feel safe. Your article plainly appears to suggest that only adults are somehow fearful, whilst completely rejecting the fact young people too feel fearful. Additionally, it is young people whom are overwhelming the victims of street crime.

    �Before these kids start killing each other, we can save time, and money, and lives if we get to the heart of the problem. These children are growing up without boundaries. They have no respect for adults because they have never been taught any such thing.�

    Once more, the suggestion that young people fall into crime simply due to social boundaries, is both false and incorrect. According to reports released by the Metropolitan Police, there is no single cause of youth crime. For instance, contributory factors could include family issues, schooling issues, community issues, personal matters, coping with early adulthood, and a wide range of other causes. How can we tackle youth crime in London? Perhaps drafting in positive role models to work with young people and youth, who are being sucked into inner city teenage violence, or providing diversionary schemes to assist young people to make that transition from childhood to adulthood. I agree with the sentiments expressed by Tarique Ghaffur, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, when he so eloquently asserted that “What we’re dealing with here is a generation of kids who grow up with a culture of violent crime.� Furthermore, many young people, according to Mr Ghaffur, �start shoplifting at 10, graduate to street robbery and drug dealing in their teens, and use guns for extortion and getting rid of rival dealers in their early twenties.� Furthermore, by the time these guys are 30 they are either dead, in prison – or are very successful criminals.� Thus, in my own personal opinion, it is society�s responsibility to ensure that we can prevent young people at a very young age from pursuing a life of crime. Perhaps offering opportunities of employment and training, or maybe Government should fund projects, which will in effect, enhance a young person to unleash their full potential? Who is to blame for this culture of violence and gun crime? Some suggest it is the corporate manufacturing companies or those responsible for producing objectionable music, which promotes violence, gang culture and gun crime. Why not target the big money makers who wield enormous influence upon the young? The overall goal of should be to reduce as far as possible the chances of young people becoming involved in crime.

    Furthermore, the police should work more effectively with schools by deploying officers to work with young people, in order to build confidence and trust in the police. For instance, since the tragic death of Stephen Lawrence, confidence in the police has been reduced and thus we need to address how we can work effectively to rebuild that trust. It is vitally important, in my humble opinion, that the police work with all sections of our society so that public support for the police increases and thus more people feel confident in reporting all kinds of crime. The work of Safer Neighbourhood teams is central to our work in creating a visible, accessible and responsive policing service with staff that understand and address local crime and safety issues raised by residents and visitors. Additionally, it is these same officers that should be deployed to work with school pupils, so young people feel they can trust the police. Finally, there should be statutory partnership work � which will bring together organizations in each London borough to research and take effective action against the causes of crime and ensuring that all residents feel safe. This element is bringing together people and organisations that can act to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour in our community.

    On a final note, I would argue the need for more positive role models to go into schools and youth environments and speak to young people, be active mentors and inspire young people to be able to reach to something in life. Many young people could benefit from positive role models, who have successfully achieved something in life.

    Thank you

  13. In much the same way as people who are denied legitimate routes to protest turn to illegitimate ones, people who are denied legitimate routes to earn respect turn to illegitimate ones.

    A society which pays people more to not work than to work is a society which is telling people quite clearly that they have negative value, and we see them acting on that information.

    Enough of the talking tough & waving the big stick, whilst we have endemic chavviness, we can’t lock ’em all up. We need to create opportunity for the frustrated majority to succeed, and let the police deal with the dregs. That means making sure people who work are better off than those who don’t, there is an incentive for the long term sick to return to work (such as national insurance exemption) and a squeeze on immigration so the easy choice of the willing and able Eastern European in favour of the recalcitrant Briton is no longer available. If the only people available to employers are natives, they’ll probably end up hiring a few.

    Tax & benefit restructuring to make it significantly preferable for people with kids to marry & raise them together, to go and work, save & prosper, are essential for the reconstruction of a civil society.

    Society is made by the people, not the omnipotent state. Now please let us get on with it.

  14. I agree with Jeff. Funding an organisation to deal with this issue smacks of New Labour. Well meaning, ineffectual, money down the drain.

    A conservative approach to problem solving should be more targeted.

    If a problem is rooted in issues that the goverment can have no hope of changing it shouldn’t waste its energy on them.

    I very much agree with most of the comments on this site made by participants covering issues like support given to teachers in difficult schools, absurd levels of liberality and excessive softness; political correctness gone mad.

    There is a certain amount in this a government can hope to change.

    A government though, is not a church. It can not stop parents leading irresponsible lives. It can not produce miracles and inspire children to enjoy adademic study (I believe this is a function of character/natural ability) and nor should it be responsible for children’s social lives through providing activities etc.

    It may just be that Britain will have to get used to more violence and poor behaviour than in the past. I for one would like to attempt to avoid it where ever possible. What I want from government is that gives me opportunity to do so.

  15. I am 14 myself, and I despise those of my age who give teenagers a bad name, The church that I go to is vandalised by ‘travellors’ who the council have given housing to across the road, this is disgusting, it is St Alphage, parish of burnt oak,if you become mayor, i hope you will be able to do something about this.

  16. As a teenager growing up near London, I find I experience the issue of teenage ‘gangstaism’ (as i suppose it could be called) from a totally different perspective.

    I am privilidged enough to attend public school, however, even there, the instant a child is out of their parent’s chelsea tractor, they instantly have something to prove (generally involving a very large baseball cap, hoodie, suit and tie. Wierd but true).

    As far as I can tell, the street violence seen in london is merely as a result of an escalation of the ‘something to prove’ mentality. A combination of role models and the breakdown of traditional social strata and taboos has contributed to a lack of respect or pride amongst ‘da yoof’ of Britain.

    How a teenager myself came to this website and ended up using polysylabic words is another story.

  17. Boris Johnson to take on Ken?

    I say BRING IT ON, I am sick of putting up with up with expensive transport at low quality, sick of being paying an extortionate congestion charge if I drive into London and appauled by the high crime rate this city has; especially involving teenagers. Most of all, I am sick of seeing Ken walking around with that smug grin on his face; not looking like he really cares. Labour is all about lies, they can try and disguise themselves to be the party of integrity but history peaks for itself.

    Fellow Londoners, I say it is high time for a change…not just in London but nationwide. Being a student who is politically aware (not many are!), I can see a growing trend for the few students I have spoken to being sick with Labour. So let us take the first stand and do what can only be seen as the right and logical decision. Back Boris.

  18. Boris Johnson told the police to return to the streets of London with 24-hour patrols so that ordinary citizens would have the confidence to challenge thuggish behaviour. However, someone with minimal understanding of policing would suggest a return of 24 hour patrols, which is practically and frankly impossible.

    The Metropolitan Police Service needs to explore methods which will reduce bureaucracy in order to free up valuable policing time, providing a more effective and efficient service to all Londoners. The argument for 24-hour policing is slightly absurd, as the police already make use of the 999 operating system. Furthermore, each ward in London has a dedicated Safer Neighbourhood Team permanently posted, whose focus is to provide high visibility policing presence to deal with community issues.

    Perhaps Boris was elected as Mayor of London, how will he seek to work with the present Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service who he frankly intended to ensure resigned from his position?

    Personally, I am glad Sir Ian refused to resign from his position! He is an incredibly fantastic Commissioner of police and has done London a great service. As his Deputy Commissioner, Paul Stephenson, affirmed in his public statement to the media:

    “The Safer Neighbourhoods policing programme is a flagship that the MPS, fully supported by the Metropolitan Police Authority and the Mayor, has been rolled out under Sir Ian’s leadership. Furthermore,

  19. Antonia Bance, who is Labour Councillor for Oxford and also Deputy Director and Campaigns Manager of Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme, is clearly a supporter of Ken Livingstone. Here’s her wish-list for 2008, which includes your losing the mayoral election. I do hope this is not Oxfam’s position. Oxfam’s Antonia Bance includes the following in her wish-list for this year, listed on her blog:
    1. The Chancellor commit £4 billion to halve child poverty by 2010 in the Budget
    2. Labour consistently up in the polls, Ken winning again in London, and the feelgood factor back as through a few bright new ideas, good policies, quietly dropping some duff ones, no clangers and discipline we remind the country why they�ve trusted us for a decade
    3. An outright Labour majority on Oxford City Council when we go to bed early in the morning of Friday 2 May
    4. The last residents living in Orlit houses on Rose Hill moving into the wonderful newly-built houses, as Taylor Wimpey get stuck in and start building; a new Fresh Start primary school on our estate; crime continuing to fall; and the youth club opening for longer hours
    5. A liberalisation of abortion law, to enable women to access abortion on demand; a significant narrowing of the gender pay gap; increased funding for rape crisis centres
    6. Hundreds of new houses built in Oxford, hundreds of thousands nationally, and increased regulation to target profiteering and unscrupulous landlords

  20. Tony Makara said: “Adults should be allowed to physically detain youngsters and call the police in instances of wanton vandalism. The police should then take the child into custody and the parents of that child should be held responsible for the actions of their child.”

    My response:

    The law presently provides general powers that allow any person to make a citizen’s arrest under certain circumstances – including if they witness an arrestable offence. However, there are many legal issues which make it a complex matter with many grey areas.

    What a ludicrous assertion regarding parents being held responsible for the action of their child. Perhaps women whose husbands

  21. I agree with Ed W. This forum is being stifled by over moderation, and by the tardiness of the moderator.

    If you’re afraid of open debate, say so, and don’t run a dishonest “forum”.

  22. Mr. Johnson, you wrote a really inspiring article in the Standard today. It is so great to find that these issues are being addressed, BY LOOKING AT THE DEEPER CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM which is hard, but the only way to sort it. This is definitely the way to go. sincerely angela king.

  23. part of the blame has to be with the police they are very good at catching the criminals after the event but my experience has been that they can decide not to investigate complaints on the grounds that it is not their priority even when several laws are being broken and although our youngsters are light years away from some of the recent reported incidents they none the less do not have much respect for the police, their parents or anyone else.

  24. Mr Johnson,

    I think we need to go one step further than your support of groups and charities. You are right, the usual fire fighting will not work, and we are going slowly down the path of the US. The big difference is the alien notion of gun use in society which thankfully slows the downward spiral into lawlessness.

    More police will not help. The conversation should be more ideological. Unfortunately our society bases itself on individualism and there is really no accountablitiy to the system or indeed respect for it as the difference between rich and poor is increasing and the ideology is based on the ability at any cost to feed our desires for the fast luxurious car, the big house, the power over ones peers.

    This manifests itself throughout society, whether you be the man on the street with no prospects, or the man looking for capital to get into downing Street, cash for honours etc. This corruption throughout society is based and rooted in the most important question of life. “how did i get here, why am i here, and what will happen wen i die!”.

    In our society the answer is “you were a product of chance, you are here to satiate these burning desires within you, and when you die its game over.”

    This is the root my freind. You have to go to the root cause.

  25. I think that Mr. Johnson should continue to talk about this at every opportunity. He is right about the attitude of so many people to the murders and other crimes in London, unfortunately. If he truly does care, then he is a much better man to be Mayor of London than Ken Livingstone.

  26. “Londoners have worse problems with obesity than anywhere else in Britain, and 4,000 die every year from obesity-related conditions. But how can you expect people to go jogging after dark – or at any time – if they are terrified of juveniles?”

    Come on Boris, you are an intelligent guy who writes very well but this is a pretty desperate attempt, are you honestly trying to link obesity with street crime? Last time I checked it was the kebab and burger shops that are full of your hooded friends, not health food stores. When was the last time somebody was knifed for going on a diet? If I cycle to work I have a pleasant trip along the river, when I have to sit and wait in Hammersmith bus station it’s a whole different story.

    I agree that more needs to be done on street crime, however the fact that people are dying should be cause enough for change, I hope the majority of the people who have access to vote are intelligent enough to figure that out for themselves.

  27. I just came out of the imfamous secondary school Holland Park, Now Ide’ been going there since year 7, now im in University. I have probally seen more than most ‘adults’ most journalists who overblow incidents, hell, i’m a journalist. I have a simple solution, its un-ethical for adults to hurt kids, but to get other kids to beat the crap out of other kids. In schools doing this gets them a day in a room with other naughty children, where they get a day off, Holland Park called this, ‘the inclusion project’. Note: The system is flawed, if you clain self defence against a previous offender your off the hook straight away. If you claim witnesses, you will be off the hook straight away, they will never check this, although I think they might if grevious harm has been done.

    I myself found that to be left alone you had to eventually fight, it seemed like a barbaric system, but understandable as alpha, beta, and gama people, the strong won over the weak in the lower years. Unfortunately this lasts for 5 whole years, then they begin to drop out as they cant make the grade for A-levels.

    Now i’m not saying that im innocent, but I had a few tussles, self defence of course, you see creativity was the key – hell, schools encourage that sort of thing. In self defence I ended up grating my attacks face accross a driveway. Also, one last thing, I think the whole streaming idea, of splitting the kids with higher grades and test results and lower into different tiers is flawed and undair, and is much of the cause of bullying in schools, as once this happens the strong become weak, and want revenge.

    Once they are put in lower groups it is like dooming them to fail, the way Holland Park worked was that a kid from the higher group MUST drop out/ or their grade lowered if they are to rise.

  28. Boris you certainly have my vote, but I would further like to make a point on this.

    It is very worrying the way society in the UK has turned. Here is one of the greatest metaphores I’ve heard to describe it, ‘We seem to have driven a serveral tonne lorry into a brick wall, whilst still drunk on the wine from the democratic victory of the 2nd world war’.

    In other words society never recovered from the war and once the war was over a new order took its way, the welfare state, egalitarianism, immigration and then the great sixites revolution, which happened at such a speed we didn’t know what to focus on or at least know what the consequences were going to be.

    I am only 25 so can’t be classed as a fuddy duddy old fogy, but I believe one of the ultimate reasons for our inability to control our youth is the abolishment of corporal punishment within the home and school. This aboloition has been a 30 year experiment which was dangerously implemented as it was the one social policy of any period which was unprseidented in the tens of thousands of year of human history,back to Adam and depending on your beliefs even further.

    We essentially surrended the most paramount components which contributes to a needed ‘consensus’ and the fabric of our society ‘the practise of discipline’ to a social experiment and we wonder why things are the way they are.

    The problems are obvious. The reasons are patent. The challenge is the rebirth of the old traditions against a society that has been raised to question everything and not to stand grounded firmly in beliefs, but to roam as free liberal spirits open to any experience.

  29. This is all a deliberate Policy, to cause society to collapse. The EU is a Police state.
    Remember it was Westminster that relaxed drug laws, pushed 24hr drinking, prohibited parents and teachers from disciplining children.
    Promoting divisions in society with radical feminism, to undermine the family, homosexuality on our Church all to divide and undermine the pillars of our Decent Christian, Family centred Society.
    Encouraging people to leave the church Marriage in Registry Offuces etc.
    It is called Frankfurt Subversion.
    Rockefeller
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nD7dbkkBIA&feature=related
    School Subversion
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiJEQwzB760
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvWsgTUaGHc&feature=related
    http://www.savethemales.ca/000280.html

    http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/04/09/03/press.htm
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59259
    AntiFamily Subversion
    http://www.savethemales.ca/000691.html

  30. I have always voted Tory and I would like to vote for you boris to be the mayor. But the congestion charges in london have completley destroyed my business as a service engineer. and so I must vote for no congestion charge party.

  31. Hello Boris,

    I support your campaign. i fully agree with your tough stance on youth crime. Being a piazza driver I am attacked regularly by yobs and police do nothing. Stand up to Labour nitwits who talk over opponents with faceitious twaddle on this issue. Its a usual tactic and they’ve been lying about how good the NHS, Police and Schools are too for 10 years now! Go on Boris I am SURE you and the Conservatives can expose these hypocrites. And I know you will bring some good leadership and common sense to the Capital once elected…! Go for it man, don’t stop now!

  32. It’s possibly a sign that I’m getting old,but I remember when we didn’t have these problems,or certainly not to the extent we have now.People blame fatherless families.But nowadays,divorce is a common event.Teenage pregnancy is a common event too,hardly surprising when you consider how daunting life must seem to young people who are less academically gifted. The thought of working on cash registers or labouring in factories,knowing you’ll never have enough cash to buy your own home or even insure a car when you are young is enough to cause a despair .With very little hope of nothing but a colossal struggle ahead in life.A life of drugs and crime probably doesn’t look so bad.After all,the punishments (designed by MP’s with law degrees) are not exactly a deterrent.Unfortunatly the legal system is nothing more than an industry itself providing rich pickings for those connected to it,whilst hardly serving its purpose of justice. I very much hope Boris becomes Mayor.But I think the way we are governed by westminster needs to radically change before any effective solutions to societies problems (or is that issues? ) are made.

  33. I am a carer of my two great nephews and have been for the last twelve years. Although they had had many problems that I had tried to get help with for many years that was not forth coming the worst came when one of them at eleven years old started smoking cannabis.He was also staying out up to six nights a week. I did know the address of where he was going so reported this to the social services and police.I was informed that because I knew where he was even though it was without my consent nothing could be done as he was not a missing person.I decided to go to the address myself only to have a rottwieller come out of the house after me.I was also told that it was agaist my nephews human rights for me to have him drug tested.So even though all profesionals knew what was going on nothing has been done.He and his brother have more or less been told they can do as they please as it is their right.They are now fifteen and fourteen not in school and getting in to trouble.I have tryed everything possible to help the boys only to have services blame me.
    As a last resort I asked to see my conservative candidate for the greenwich borough I was informed that I could only see the labour MP.I went to see him today and was disgusted when he said I was blaming everyone else but not myself.He then asked me to leave his office as he had listened to me putting it down to every one else for the last fifteen miniutes and was not going to listen to anymore he said he disbelieved that nothing could be done about the drugs as this is not a policy.Yet I have spoken to the police,my doctor,social services,youth ofending and a drugs unit only to be told I can do nothing.I have given up my job to deal with this as I could not keep taking time off do go to meetings where nothing got resolved.This is why there are teenagers out of control because no one whats to listen just blame.I was also told by the MP when I said I would take it to a paper to do so as they would turn it on me.I love the boys as if they where my own but sometimes wish I could have seen in to the future as I may not have taken all this on and there must be many more people in my position.I can not wait untill a election comes as I hope that labour never get in again.I also hope that you make it as the next mayor hopefully you will listen to what is really going on.

  34. Hello, there.
    I’m a Yankee from Rochester, New York USA. Enjoyed the article in FT about UK being “the 51st State” The trouble with you is the problem with US-we have much in common besides Her Majesty’s Good British English. I had a computer repair business, most of my clients were in neighbourhoods resembling your Croyden in London-the Jefferson Avenue area,Portland Avenue,and other slums in Rochester. The clients-immigrant Yemeni families that owned small grocery stores. Twice, gangs of coloured ‘yobs’ as you call it tried to kill and rob me. Kill-when the head hood or gangsta has a steel pipe in his hand? But here it is different-I am licensed to carry concealed a Smith And Wesson 38 calibre revolver. Both times I had it in my hand-one can to notice the change in behaviour of these ‘yobs’-they turned tail and ran away as fast as their legs could carry them. Is this the only thing these jackals understand? The stress of being a stranger in a strange land-hunted by two legged predators in the concrete wilderness-caused me to give up the business last year-I do not want to kill anyone endeavouring to make money fixing computers. Tradition is as dead as a fossil in a museaum-but where and how can one draw the limits? It appears that places like Sweden and Estonia do not have these problems to the extent that ‘we’ do-what can be learned from them?

  35. I feel our country would benefit from Boot Camps dealing with disfunctional children/adults correcting their bad habbits/behaviour before it’s too late for the innocent people having to live in a society that is out of control.

  36. Perhaps increasing schooling until the age of 18 alcohol/smoking illegal until the age of 21. No public drinkng on the streets/transport any age. These are quick wins that can make a hugh differnce in society. Bring back National Service especially for people you have been unemployed for a period of time where it’s quite obvious they are too lazy to work! All I can say is Boris someone needs to take controll and deal with these issues.

  37. I’m glad sense has prevailed and we now have a decision- maker in place who speaks with transparency (and some unintentioned humour, with all due respect!). I’m also glad that it seems that the ‘do-gooding’ element of the LA has been replaced. Do gooders always seem to have good intentions but always lack in lateral thinking, not realising that quite often, their decisions lead to ‘unexpected’ and disasterous results.

    What ever happened to discipline? The do-gooders over the last 20 years seem to have taken over the asylum and their initial intentions are now creating havoc in some areas of society. I have to ask, do they think that the word ‘discipline’ relates to a belt, a cat o’ nine tails, the birch? It seems the word in question makes some parts of the community run and hide.

    Are they really that un-informed or unintelligent to think that discipline for children as well as adults is one of the key ingredients for a modern and civilised society?

    I do not believe we need national service in the 21st century, nor do I feel there is room for corporal punishment, but I do believe that some kind of respect for other human beings and society in general needs to be re-entrenched in some way, shape or form, and if that means removing the right of the perpetrators of the issues we face as a society to be part of our community, then that’s what needs to happen.

    A crime should be treated as a crime and dealt with by a punishment that reflects the severity of the crime.

    I agree with W Williamson above but am saddened that we have to resort to a cure rather than a prevention at this time.

    However, if we make a concerted effort to fix the current, out-of-control issues by issuing a punishment that is abhornet to the criminal (and probably the do-gooders too!), then it should act as preventative medicine and future generations will not have to take on the burden of this generation’s mistakes.

    Let’s invest some of the questionable tax that we pay into this interm measure, build a few more prisons (or park a few large boats off the coast) and start issuing long penalties for heinous crimes.

    We also need to ensure the criminals don’t want to go back to prison after their term and maybe upset a few more do-gooders as a result.

  38. I think lack of discipline from an early age is half the problem. A lot of these kids don’t know about love and family life then they get into the wrong crowds of so called mates and the result is violence, probably trying to impress someone in the gang! EDUCATION and new Laws perhaps to give Teachers more say in how to deal with the kids at school because at the moment the KIDS RULE!!!

  39. Following on from your post in December 2007 on Teenage Gangsters, its now August 2008 and the knife and gun violence seems to be reportedly on an almost daily basis.
    My views on this subject are this, a large proportion of the perpertrators of some of these knife and gun crimes are from the so called “under class”, where a sub culture of “Get Rich Quick or Die trying” type of “live for today” mentality exists in these urban neighbourhoods.
    THE GHETTO, as it is affectionately referred to by Youths and Gangster wannabes is an attractive place where bravado, dominance and street culture rules the area.
    Twenty to thirty years ago street slang was formed from West Indian patois which became popularised by the youths into street lingo, over time this has also passed into the modern British school and youth communities, and is now spoken by all youths even those not of west indian descent. Having been derived from the Black community here in the uk, Street Slang also has a close association with the Hip Hop/Rap of the States, where a huge influence has affected British Youths in terms of music, dress code, language, culture, body language and mannerisms which has created a strong sense of identity and belonging in the Black community, and now also other ethnicities and white youths as identification of street credibility. The lively and social elements of black culture and the street slang have appealed to the blandness of the other populace and lead to the demise of correctly spoken english in many a secondary school of this country.
    Even the mobile phone communications of TEXT SPEAK has given rise to the incorrect use of the English language which exacerbates the already high illiteracy rates, albeit for those with dyslexia.
    The huge influx of migrants to the UK from the four corners of the earth also leads to poor communication and bad language skills as they pick up the street slang and learn the incorrect use of English, which then becomes the norm to these communities – Ignorance breeds Ignorance.
    Disturbingly it seems that the lack of role models and parental guidance has intensified the problems of anti social behaviour amongst children and youths.
    Kidulthood is a hard hitting but also poignant account of how British society has broken down, the values and morals that were mainstream are now only adhered to by much fewer numbers.
    The “Live for Today” and “Get Rich Quick” ideals enforced by the media, celebrityism, consumerism, advertising, gambling LOTTO, has succeeded in hypnotising todays youth into disaffected non ambitious, selfish and apathetic drop outs.
    The easy credit schemes of “Buy now pay later” eliminate the positive aspirations of yester year where people were proud to be able to work hard and save up their cash to buy the necessary material possessions. Its only the here and now that motivates an utterly despondant youth movement.
    By not being accountable for their actions because of misguidance or drug use is a commonplace excuse for the low aspirations and expectations of todays youth.
    Parents do not appear to be accountable or have any influence and control, its as though the whole process of socialisation in families has been erased. Some of the laws introduced to “Protect” children have had both positive and negative effects. The corporal punishment era had a positive effect when used as a last resort in instilling discipline and respect for elders and authority.
    These times any adult using force in defending themselves or their property against the thuggery of teenage deliquents are likely to be unjustly prosecuted, the fact that youths are aware of the laws that protect but also prevent justice allow them to mock adults and the authorities.
    I truly believe that social classes still exist today, despite what the Iron Lady said. Alot of working class people only aspire to gain in material possessions at the risk of debt, and have shunned the opportunity of improving their living standards or social mobility to their own detriment in the form of education.
    Lower income families would rather spend their income on grandiose Christmas celebrations and get into rather than resist the urge and improve their situations long term.
    In the event that I am accused of being affiliated to a right-wing group, I can proudly say that I am of the underclass, I am from a single parent family, but despite the deprivation and extreme poverty I was exposed to
    I made a choice in life not to venture into a low life world of drugs, crime, and debauchery that some of my own family have chosen.
    Any questions, i`d be happy to respond.

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