The vice-chairman of the Police Federation, Alan Gordon, says that new laws to tackle gun and knife crime will not work.
Yet again, we have witnessed another fatal shooting and another fatal stabbing this weekend of 22-year-old Krystal Hart, reportedly over a dispute about car parking, and 14-year-old Paul Erhahon. While this government seems to think it can legislate its way out of any problem since Labour was elected in 1997, they have passed the best part of 400 acts of Parliament and in excess of 32,000 statutory instruments Mr Gordon is surely right when he observes that people who have "such a scant regard for human life" will not be dissuaded in their actions by new legislation.
The organiser of Urban Concepts, a Brixton-based anti gun and knife crime campaign group, is also pessimistic. He told the BBC:
"We have taken our eye off the ball over the last ten years. Young people have been overlooked and there have been escalations in the community which no-one has really looked into - the closing down of youth facilities, the lack of investment in our young people, specially in the urban communities and black communities. And it was always going to reach this point. And I think it's going to get worse."The trouble is, having neglected the needs of young people for a decade, any investment in regeneration and any renewed focus on education and family values will probably take at least a decade before damage begins to be undone, which means we are still faced with a problem for the foreseeable future. Perhaps there is something in the suggestion that someone put to me a couple of days ago that anyone collecting their third ASBO ought to be conscripted to the Armed Forces.