Chris Grayling gave a speech earlier today on Britain’s crime-ridden society.
It included two stories…
"Let me tell you a story about life in Britain today. It was told me by the father of a serving soldier, who will be risking his life for us in Afghanistan this spring. He was home on leave and was out in his local town centre when he was the victim of an unprovoked attack from behind by two youths. He was able to hold them off and the police were called. He was left badly bruised after what was a completely unpremeditated attack. The two young men were arrested, but then extraordinarily they were let off with a caution. That’s life in Britain today. A nation where we appear so used to a violent assault of this kind that police only deem it fit for a caution. And where the incidence of an attack like this is routine and not a rare exception. I don’t think there could be any clearer example of the fact that our society desperately needs change."
"Let me tell you another story. Of a visit I made to a run down area of Toxteth. To a family living in a seriously run-down block of flats. Two small girls and their mother. And every night, almost without fail, a gang of local teenagers gathered on the staircase outside their flats to take drugs. Leaving a state of debris and chaos around them. Breaking down doors to get there. And leaving a very scared family living in a state of misery. And I left the building after talking to them with one dominant thought in my mind. Why is this being allowed to happen?"
…and damning facts…
- "Violent crime is up almost 80% under Labour. Nearly 1.1 million violent crimes were recorded last year – half a million more than in 1998-99.
- Robbery is up 27% under Labour.
- Criminal damage is up past 1 million offences – that’s nearly 3000 incidents each day.
- There are over 400 serious knife crimes a week – 22,000 in one year.
- Fatal stabbings up by a third.
- Gun crime has nearly doubled under Labour – a gun crime was committed every hour in England and Wales in 2007-8.
- Injuries from gun crime are up almost four fold."
Mr Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary, reviews what the Tories already intend to do on family, welfare reform and schools choice in order to mend the broken society. He then sets out other actions relevant to his new brief:
- Powers to impose curfews on troublesome youngsters for operation outside school hours;
- Stronger licensing laws;
- An end to cautioning for violent and serious crimes.
We are entering a time when law and order are going to rocket up the agenda. The front page of today’s Guardian warns of a ‘summer of rage‘. Police intelligence suggests a mood change within public protests and a serious danger of "people who have lost their jobs, homes or savings becoming "footsoldiers" in a wave of potentially violent mass protests." Chris Grayling’s mettle will be tested very soon.