EXCLUSIVE: How to stem Britain's growing murder and violence rate by top QC... and it's simp
MURDERS across Britain are being reported more frequently with London seeing around one every other day in recent weeks.
Some criminologists fear the public is becoming immune or desentisised to reports of extreme levels of violence on our streets. Here, leading criminal lawyer John Bromley-Davenport QC (pictures above), who has 48 years of experience in the criminal courts as a junior barrister, QC and a Crown Court Recorder , explains, in his view, how serious violence on our streets could be stemmed:
FORENSICS: Yet another murder scene on the capital's streets in June (Twitter)
The appalling increase in murder and violence in the streets highlights the extent to which the police have lost control, not just in London, but across the country.
If officers had been patrolling the streets when these atrocities were inflicted, instead of waiting for a call out, many of them could have been prevented. The absence of a strong police presence in our towns and cities gives carte blanche to criminals and their gangs, who take full advantage and use the freedom from control to murder, rob, deal drugs, and commit serious violence.
Visible policing would provide a real chance of preventing their activities and protecting the public and is an essential tool in the fight against crime.
It can only be achieved, however, by the deployment on the streets of large numbers of officers on foot patrol. A real police presence would be a real deterrent.
Criminals are inherently short sighted and it seldom occurs to them that they might be caught; nor do they fear long sentences because they believe that they will get away with the crime; but they are not imbeciles; if they can see a police officer or know that one may appear round the corner at a moment’s notice, they will be deterred.
And, if an officer is present when trouble starts, he can immediately step in to prevent the situation from developing and, if necessary, summon speedy reinforcements. And it is policemen on the beat that are required.
The growth in the culture of reactive policing does nothing to prevent crime.
CCTV is no more than an aid to detection; officers drinking coffee in the station and waiting for a call out only arrive in time to find the victims injured or dead; the same applies to those driving around in police cars, or whiling away the dreary hours, whilst parked up for a chat and a smoke.
We need a visible presence of foot patrols to remind the criminals that the police are there, ready to act and to summon help at a moment’s notice. The disappearance of police from our streets has not, of itself, caused crime; but it has done nothing to stop it happening.
In case after case, the absence of officers allows incidents to escalate, with tragic results. The current spate of murders and knife crime is a clear illustration of the problem, but the principle applies to all violence in public places and is an essential element in preventing death or injury. Those, including politicians, who suggest that the cost of policing on this scale is too great, ignore the massive economies change would create.
The daily photographs of crime scenes depicting large numbers of officers investigating a murder are clear illustrations of the problem.
Prevent the crime and the crime scene officers would be freed up to patrol the streets; but the overall savings made would also pay for tens of thousands of additional police officers across the country.
GANGLAND: A man is left critically injured after being shot at while driving in Barking in June (Instagram)
Money would be saved because there would be no need for expensive investigations, for the cost of finding and arresting the perpetrators, treating the wounded and burying the dead.
Further economies would derive from avoiding the need for lengthy and expensive inquests, gathering evidence and preparing for trial.
Add to this the colossal savings to the Criminal Justice system, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Legal Aid fund of avoiding lengthy trials with the attendance of many witnesses, including police officers, whose time could be better spent out in the streets. When the trials are over the crippling expense of locking up the criminals, sometimes for as long as thirty or forty years, puts the fees of private boarding schools in the shade.
One man imprisoned for twenty years costs the taxpayer at least £1,500,000, enough to pay the wages of thirty five new Metropolitan police constables.
And one must not forget the human cost and destroyed lives not just of victims and their families but of the families of the perpetrators as well.
The scale of potential savings is well demonstrated by a case tried at Preston Crown Court some years ago. One summer evening in the Lancashire town of Kirkham, crowds of people were enjoying a Saturday night out on the town.
The bar and the garden outside the Swan public house were packed, the landlord of was doing a roaring trade and a good time was being had by all. Suddenly violence erupted between locals and a man from Manchester, Wayne Redfearn, who was chatting up a local girl.
The fight quickly spilled onto the street and continued under the impotent gaze of CCTV cameras.
MANSLAUGHTER? Wayne Redfearn died after being kicked to death
Redfearn was badly injured in the initial confrontation but managed to break free from his attackers and run away.
He was pursued by ten men who caught up with him, knocked him down and kicked him to death. Eight of the attackers were later identified from CCTV footage and they were tried for murder at Preston Crown Court.
The trial proceeded for two months, after which the prosecution decided to accept pleas of guilty to manslaughter.
The defendants were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Avoiding the cost the investigation, trial and incarceration of the perpetrators of this single crime would have paid the annual wages of large numbers of additional police officers.
What was remarkable about the depressingly familiar facts of this case was the calm way in which each and every one of the many witnesses asserted, that what they had seen was a typical example of Saturday night activity in Kirkham; not a single person expressed the least vestige of surprise at the violence, which they had seen outside The Swan.
The fighting was regarded by all as no more than was to be expected on a Saturday night. But was there a police presence at this well known trouble spot?
Of course not! No policeman was in sight. The first officers, reacting to the CCTV, arrived, a quarter of an hour later, to find Wayne Redfearn dead in the street. All that was needed to prevent the tragic events of that July night was a couple of police officers on patrol. In the streets and public places of our towns and cities, the widespread reappearance of the “Bobby on the beat” would be cost effective and would be cheap at the price.