In my role as an ‘Active Citizen’ working with the police in Southend, I took part in Operation Vibrant today where we had a stand in the Victoria Centre with the charity organisation Only Coward’s Carry. Only Cowards Carry Weapons Awareness was founded in November 2012 by Caroline Shearer in memory of her 17 year old son Jay Whiston, who was fatally stabbed in in Colchester in September 2012.
Primarily this is an anti-knife crime initiative aimed at young people though we were happy to engage with any members of the public to talk about this or any other policing issue.
A large amount of knife crime stems from gang culture and the gangs’ involvement in drug dealing. If young people can be dissuaded from joining gangs they made avoid the deadly consequences of, what to some, seems a glamorous escape from their reality. There is a knife amnesty bin located outside Southend Police Station.
Something I believe needs more serious consideration is the legalisation of some drugs. Not only would many of the criminal activities that occur due to the illegal taking and supply of drugs disappear – such as the criminal gangs that supply the drugs and the burglaries and theft that users engage in to feed their habits, but the revenue from a regulated and taxed business could provide funds to help those dependant on these drugs. That’s a very simplified case for legalisation and obviously there’s more to it. Unfortunately I think too many politicians shy away from taking a more progressive approach to this subject for fear of a public backlash, but the tried and tested policies that are in use now seem to be failing dismally and creating more problems than they solve.