Features

How did Britain ever have unarmed criminals?

It wasn’t lack of firearms that kept them from shooting. It was something else

8 November 2014

9:00 AM

8 November 2014

9:00 AM

The release of Harry Roberts, the man responsible for shooting dead three policemen in 1966, has sparked a vigorous debate about whether he should have stayed in prison until he died. The idea that ‘life should mean life’ for anyone who kills a policeman is a police-pleasing policy that the Home Secretary promised she would implement in a speech to the Police Federation last year. But a more interesting aspect  of the Roberts story is what it shows about the changing nature of Britain’s career criminals, and the values — if that is the right word for them — that they share.

Until quite recently, criminals in this country did not routinely carry guns. The relative rarity with which criminals went armed made it possible to have an unarmed police force. For most of the 20th century, policemen could be reasonably sure that when they tried to arrest a suspect, they would not be shot at. Had guns been carried by British criminals to the degree that they are carried by, say, criminals in the United States, the pressure to arm the ordinary British bobby would have been irresistible. It would also have been completely understandable. No reasonable person could require police officers to know that, in any interaction they had with a criminal, there was a serious possibility that they would be fired on — and they would have no means to defend themselves except by wielding a truncheon.

Harry Roberts
Murderer Harry Roberts Photo: Getty

The fact that guns have not always been carried by criminals in Britain is in many ways surprising. Criminals, in their dealings with each other, do not have many options apart from the threat of extreme violence to enforce the deals and ‘contracts’ they make. Organised crime in particular has to use violence. And that, one would think, would mean gangsters had to carry guns.

And yet surprisingly, for much of the 20th century, they did not do so, even though two world wars ensured that there were plenty of guns in circulation and the penalties for being caught with an illegal firearm were significantly less severe than they are now.

Why not? Not using guns is certainly beneficial for criminals. If neither other criminals nor the police have guns, criminal activity is much less dangerous: the life expectancy of criminals goes up when neither the police nor their own rivals shoot them. But if the absence of guns benefits the criminal fraternity as a whole, it’s obviously to the advantage of each individual criminal if he is the only one who carries a gun. So how does a convention that guns should not be carried ever get started? And if it gets started, how can it possibly be maintained?


The answer to those questions is something of a mystery. But it seems that, essentially, criminals in London and across Britain took the view that their collective interest in diminishing the level of violence was sufficiently great for them to punish individuals who broke the convention of not using guns. Furthermore, the criminal fraternity was close-knit enough for the credible threat of punishment from criminal colleagues to keep the convention more or less intact.

The case of Harry Roberts illustrates this. After he shot those policemen, he thought he would be protected by the criminal underworld in London in which he habitually moved. Instead, the criminal fraternity shunned Roberts. He was unable to take advantage of any of the considerable resources that London’s criminals could muster to protect one of their own. They were not willing to extend their protection. Roberts was eventually located, possibly after a tip-off from one of London’s criminals, hiding in a barn in Hertfordshire. Compare that reaction with the response to the shooting of Mark Duggan in 2011. Mark Duggan was a known criminal. Armed policemen went to arrest him. He was stopped getting out of a cab. The police say Duggan pulled a gun. One of the armed police officers reacted by shooting Duggan twice. Duggan died of his wounds.

 

Mark Duggan Vigil In Tottenham After Inquest Result

Two things are notable about this incident. One is the escalation in violence from both criminals and cops. Criminals who belong to some form of criminal organisation now routinely carry guns. That has inevitably led to an increase in the number of police authorised to carry firearms. When they meet, both sides fear that the other will use their weapons, so each believes that their own safety depends on being first to fire — which leads to the police shooting a lot more people they take to be armed criminals. It also leads to more officers getting shot.

The other notable feature of the case is the way Duggan’s friends and associates reacted to his killing. Duggan was turned into a local hero. His death led to protests outside the police station involving several hundred people, and eventually to riots. The reaction to the police was uniformly hostile. Admittedly, the police killed Duggan. But no one seems to have thought that he was wrong to react to an attempt to arrest him by pulling a gun.

The convention that neither side should carry guns is obviously over. Paul Collier, a professor of economics at Oxford who discusses the contrast between the reaction to Roberts and to Duggan in his fascinating book Exodus, thinks the arrival in Britain of criminal gangs from other countries may have started the process which has led to the convention’s demise. The murder rate in Jamaica is more than 50 times the rate in the UK. There, criminals have always carried guns, as have the police.

The Funeral Of Murdered Police Officer Fiona Bone At Manchester Cathedral
Colleagues of PC Fiona Bone pay their respects Photo: Getty

When Jamaican gangs came to Britain, they probably thought it just stupid not to use guns. That would have led to the convention against carrying them unravelling very quickly. Indigenous criminals have reacted by becoming just as violent, if not more so, than their immigrant colleagues. Dale Cregan, the Manchester drug dealer and gangster who killed PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes in 2012 by luring them to an address with a fake 999 call, seems always to have carried a gun. Indeed, Cregan went one step further: he used to kill people by lobbing a grenade.

Overall, rates of crime are down in Britain, as they are almost everywhere in the developed world. Even violent crime in this country has fallen over the past decade. But despite our very strict firearms laws, which carry some of the most ferocious penalties in the world, criminals now go armed to an extent that they did not when Harry Roberts was thieving and bullying his way across London. Whether or not crime continues to fall, it is going to be increasingly difficult to stop our police doing what nearly all their European colleagues do: carry a gun whenever they go out on the street.

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Show comments
  • Rik

    Doh We abolished the death penalty for murder in 1965 after which firearm use in armed robbery skyrocketed.prior to this if one gang member out of say five used a firearm and killed someone in the course of a robbery ALL FIVE could be hung.Damn right they controlled gun use.
    Post 1965 no incentive not to risk using firearms leading to todays draconian gun laws,a heavily armed almost paramilitary police “service” a heavily armed criminal class and an almost totally disarmed citizenry.

    • ArthurSparknottle

      Hmmmm – I was well alive and noticing things by 1965 and I can’t remember too many multiple hangings carried out like that. The only one I can recall off the top of my head was Bentley who was hanged while the shooter got off because he was sixteen.

      • sfin

        There were also two polish criminals hanged in the same decade. One had a gun – which the other claimed not to know about. Their attempted robbery failed and they fled in different directions.

        The one with the gun shot, and killed, a ‘have a go’ hero. His accomplice was streets away. They both hanged.

        The point is that the collective responsibility law existed, and the professional criminal knew it. They were bright enough, in their way, to way up the odds against getting caught, and so there was a degree of internal control against unnecessary violence.

  • James Dalrymple

    Hmm. The escalation of violent crime during the 80s and 90s has a lot to do with the heroin and crack cocaine trades that decimated communities during a period of large-scale de-industrialization. These are drugs that are not known to make dependent users violent – so dealers probably needed more “insurance” than ever before. In any case, the debate is far more complex than can be summed up in a short simplistic article like this.

    • GraveDave

      There is no fall in violent crime .Certainly not where I live. I hear the same from my neighbours in the next town or borough /city whatever.

      • James Dalrymple

        You’re simply wrong. The murder rate has almost halved since 2003 from nearly 1000 to around 550 in England in Wales in 2013. Of course there will be people who feel that this is not their experience on a local level but nationwide this is an indisputable fact. It is also supported by the independent Office of National Statistics crime surveys which are based on interviews with real people like you and me on their experience of crime, and which have shown year on year falls for some time now. There is no reason to be complacent about crime. Of course it still exists, of course there is still a lot of work to do, but the fact remains that crime and violent crime has fallen more quickly in the UK than in other developed countries which have also broadly seen the same trend. Even in the US violent crime has been in decline for years. Just as the murder rate in New York has declined from an astonishing 2000 a year in the 90s to about 300, London’s rate has gone down from about 200 ten years ago to about 80-90 today. This is not just about doctors better saving people’s lives, attempted murder rates have gone down at a similar rate.

        • mandelson

          I wonder how much of the decline in death from violent acts is down to UK health professionals need to learn the skills of battlefield surgeons due to the vast increase in gunshot /stabbing wounds over the last 40 years arguably much of the reduced murder rate is due to the advance of surgical skills.

          • James Dalrymple

            It is not totally relevant. If someone survives a particularly violent assault it is GBH or attempted murder. The rates for incidents of those types have also shown a parallel level of decline. Yes, health professionals are better equipped to save lives, but there are fewer incidents which necessitate life-saving intervention. There is not more violence than 10-15 years ago, just much more media to tell you about the incidents that do happen. From left to right of the political spectrum, people seem very reluctant to accept this. It seems people would rather labour under the delusion that crime and violence is going up. There are plenty of real bad news stories to worry about – this is not one of them. Despite regional variations (of course there will be areas that see year-on-year increases as others see decreases) crime across England & Wales has been in decline for years.

          • mandelson

            Your argument is not unreasonable but is predicated on a faith of statistics which I do not share and you may call that delusional if you wish.

          • James Dalrymple

            The Office of National Statistics crime data is based on surveys of people’s experience of crime. This data is different to that of the police, which has recently lost a lot of credibility. Yet it still shows a huge decline in the number of people who have been victims of crime and violence. I don’t know how many people they interview in order to reach their conclusions but certainly a great many. I understand your lack of faith in statistics but you must remember that these figures are not provided by the police or the government. The ONS has no vested interest in saying that crime is low, just as they had no vested interest in saying that is was comparatively high ten years ago and more. They just report what they find. The essential point is that the data comes from the victim themselves – and thus is more authoritative than any anecdotal or subjective experience that you or I may claim to have.

          • mandelson

            A coherent response, thanks.

          • Dodgy Geezer

            This is the fist time that I have read a polite and , on both sides, informed discussion on any blog. I thank you both for that experìence!

          • mandelson

            Agree usually degenerates into childish insults.

          • balance_and_reason

            I have supplied that insult, please see above.

          • ArthurSparknottle

            The problem with statistics is not one essentially of statistics but is one of politically inspired manipulation and distortion.

            An unwanted side effect of Labour’s introduction of target culture was that in order to stay in post, many high level managers began to seek ways to manipulate the data in their favour. This happened in education, policing and crime recording, and in the health service to name but three.

            What is more, Labour ministers themselves began to tamper with the data by changing the trigger points at which certain effects were recorded so as to make it appear that they had brought about desired changes. An example of this might be the way examination results were fiddled by decrees such as Blunkett’s decision that AS levels (comparatively trivial examinations) were equal to half an A level, a much more demanding examination. He also decreed (or under his guidance his officials did) that trivial GNVQ courses were the equivalent of four and five GCSE grades at C and above, or that slightly more demanding GNVQs (but not very demanding at all) were the equivalent of two A levels. This led to a miraculous ‘rise in standards’ which was no rise at all, merely a fiddle which some schools by adopting these courses wholesale seemed to be transformed from difficult establishments with mediocre or low achievement to budding Harrows and Eatons in our inner cities.

            The name that should be applied to this is FRAUD. It was and it is. The statistics are only as good as the swine who compile the data.

          • balance_and_reason

            your tag line suggests you are delusional.

          • Fergus Pickering

            But if you ignore all statistics on what do you base your opinion. Personal experience. In a long life I have known only one murderee and it might be said he was complicit in his own death since he WOULD pick up boys for sex.

          • ArthurSparknottle

            The fall in violent and other crime has been observed right across the developed world and is not unique to the UK. It is a very real fall and not an artefact of changing methods of counting and recording crime. The best explanation is that the fall follows the removal of tetra-ethyl lead from petrol. The practice of adding lead compounds to petrol for the purpose of reducing exhaust valve erosion dumped large amounts of toxic lead on the streets. It was by far the greatest cause of lead pollution in our cities and is now thought to have damaged the brains of children and young people, leading to greater impulsiveness and lack of emotional control. Wherever the practice was banned, and not all countries did it at the same time, a very robust correlation can be demonstrated of a rapid fall in crime of all kinds about fifteen years later. The lag would be accounted for by the gradual loss of criminal impulse that occurs naturally with age as the young grow older. Of course politicians and police chiefs the world over have tried to ascribe the fall to measures of their own or to the particular personalities of sheriffs and other law enforcement officials in the United States, but the one consistent change that has been made in these very different jurisdictions is removal of thousands of tonnes of lead dust from the streets and homes of the populations.

          • James Dalrymple

            Arthur, I agree with what you say here and have mentioned this in a separate thread below. The lead poisoning argument is a convincing one but unlikely to be the sole factor for the decline in violent crime. The coalition government have claimed that they have presided over these falls, but in fact they began before and were predicted for Europe before they happened by observers of similar phenomena in the US, where they stopped using lead in petrol before we did. Of course statistics are manipulated to political advantage, but one of the more difficult ones to distort is the homicide rate (which includes manslaughter) – as homicides aren’t so easy to reclassify as something else in the same way that other kinds of crime are. That said, and as I said before, the ONS surveys are victim-based, not police stats, and are therefore more authoritative.

        • ArthurSparknottle

          The facts you quote do not mean that he is wrong. he may simply live in an area which is a hotbed of criminality, probably in London or Nottingham or other place infested with drug dealers and gangsters. The general decline in criminality and violence though real does not mean that the effect is seen equally in every location.

          • James Dalrymple

            Cities have seen massive falls in violent crime, not surprising since cities had the highest concentration of lead in the atmosphere. London’s murder rate is under half what it was 10 years ago. Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and even Glasgow too. As I said in my previous post “of course there will be areas that see year-on-year increases as others see decreases”. The subjective experience of crime is not really relevant in a discussion about Britain as a whole. Fear of crime massively outweighs the real threat of it. In my view people are having their quality of life eroded by this fear when in fact Britain is one of the safest countries in the world, and has seen one of the fastest declines in violent crime. The more people wake up to this fact the better.

          • Robert the Devil

            Britain may still be “one of the safest countries in the world” as you say. However, it is far less safe than it used to be. Back in the 1960s when I was young, I was often on the streets of London at all hours and never felt threatened. Street muggings played no part in the culture, and were unknown then. However, by the 1980s, when my wife was “mugged” and had her bag snatched by a black man in broad daylight on the platform at Battersea railway station, and my son was threatened and robbed near East Croydon station, again by several black youths, things had changed dramatically; street muggings became common. There is no doubt in my mind that these sorts of crimes, as well as others, were brought into the country by those from different cultures. I find your faith in government crime statistics naïve, given that anecdotal evidence often suggests otherwise, as well as your failure to recognise that such statistics are often massaged for political reasons.

          • James Dalrymple

            Yes, of course it is less safe than it used to be in the 60s. Crime in general is said have returned to about the level of the early 1980s. Let’s see how far the decline goes.

            Concerning the ONS statistics, since the.Statistics and Registration Service Act in 2007, the UK Statistics Authority has been a non-ministerial department, and thus not beholden to any political party. It is part of the government, yes, but is no more a propaganda tool for the Tories than it is for Labour.

          • Fergus Pickering

            When I was a child I never felt the threat of paedophiles. Because I knew nothing about it. I was accostedd by dirty old man who wanted me to wank him off, but I felt no trauma because I was very vague about what was going on. I think my experience was general.

    • ArthurSparknottle

      LOL – I see you are using left wing tropes such as ‘de-industrialisation’ as the root cause. Surprised you didn’t blame Thatcher directly. Of course in good old lefty style, you ignore the writer’s key point that it was in fact due to the importation of new unwelcome mores along with foreign gangs. Mass immigration is never to be blamed for anything according to the left. Only racists make such observations.

      Your remarks about the cost of alcohol rising against income is just flat wrong, by the way…. No surprise there then. Never before in recent history have the 18-30 group drunk so much hard liquor or been anything like as habitually drunk as they are now. You are my friend talking out of your arse.

      • James Dalrymple

        I didn’t say ‘de-industrialisation’ was a root cause. I said that heroin in particular arrived at a time when many cities were coping with mass and sudden unemployment, and the demise of traditional working class industries, with devastating effect. I can hardly blame Thatcher for the heroin epidemic, which was a crisis felt beyond far beyond the UK’s shores. But the simultaneity of its arrival at that particular time in Britain was extremely unfortunate. To deny this is the case is very naive. My remarks about alcohol rising, with inflation, while younger people have lost spending power is not wrong, it has been widely reported. These issues, along with others, have all been mooted for the decline in violent crime over the last ten years by journalists and criminologists. I am not “talking out of my arse” – if you can’t handle a reasoned debate without being insulting don’t bother entering it.

  • GraveDave

    That up there looks like the sekiden pea shooting gun I used to have when I was about ten.Nowadays I should imagine even one of those would see you pulled over and arrested. As for cap guns – bang! bang! Now fall down dead.

  • Polly Radial

    The point about immigration is significant.
    If you plot on a graph the rise in numbers of immigrants from 1990 – 2014 and also the incidence of gun-related crime, the two lines will be almost identical.

    • James Dalrymple

      Not true. Immigration to the UK has increased massively since the first wave of Eastern Europeans were allowed to travel freely in the EU ten years ago. The murder rate in England & Wales has practically halved since then. You can’t generalize about immigration. You could argue that we had a problem with gun crime among, say, Jamaican Yardie gangs in the late 90s early 2000s, but that would be to ignore how much more violent society was in general during that period compared to today (see my comments above with stats). White Britons don’t have a very proud record when it comes to alcohol related disorder, either. As with other types of crime, though, it is better than it used to be, for a multitude of reasons.

      • Polly Radial

        I think you missed my point, James.

        I referred to all immigrants, not just EU, from 1990-2014, and to gun-related crime, not just murders (which are rarely committed with guns, anyway, surprisingly.)

        Try plotting the 2 lines on a graph, and you will see they are extremely close.

        I did not ‘generalize’ or comment on the factors behind this apparent correlation – unless someone else would like to?

        • James Dalrymple

          My point is that I don’t think immigration is the chief factor. Similar graphs could, and have, be drawn to correlate violent crime and murder and lead poisoning in the atmosphere, as lead poisoning is known to engender long-term psychotic effects. As cars now run on unleaded petrol, the rates of violence and murder have declined, a trend that was observed first in America and predicted for Europe where we switched to unleaded fuel later. Perhaps similar correlations could be made (as I said above) between the heroin and crack cocaine epidemics and gun crime. I don’t think you can divorce gun crime from violent crime trends in general by identifying it as somehow “foreign”. Indeed, gun murder has declined in proportion with other kinds of murder. Moreover, this whole debate is rather worthless given that the UK has fewer than 25 gun murders a year, a tiny number compared to most nations. This was probably brought about by strict gun control in the wake of the mass murders at Dunblane, Hungerford and Cumbria which were perpetrated by native Brits.

          • Polly Radial

            Aha, so those ‘native Brits’ are actually the dangerous ones, eh?
            Really, this liberal aversion to seeing the word ‘immigration’ and the word ‘crime’ in the same sentence is a bit like the Victorians covering up their table legs.

          • Swanky

            Did they cover up table legs? One of those ‘you’ll never believe how stupidly prudish Victorians were’ stories. Can’t have been all that prudish, considering how many children they had!

          • Polly Radial

            Good thing they didn’t have guns.

          • terence patrick hewett

            Golly Polly: the Victorians had plenty of guns: it’s not so long ago that I blew the door off my father’s shed with my home-made cannon. Designed and made by myself and fuelled with home-made gunpowder whose constituents were bought from the local chemists. Happy days. Not suprisingly I grew up to be a professional engineer.

          • Polly Radial

            I was trying to be amusing – failed again, obviously . . . .

          • James Dalrymple

            Immigration – or rather the problems of integration (integration is a two way street in my view) – is certainly one of a myriad of factors that make up such a social phenomenon. It is not irrelevant, but it can’t be taken in isolation from other social factors. But to identify it as the sole or major cause is probably racist and, as I have argued, erroneous.

          • Polly Radial

            Ludicrous and libellous drivel from a liberal propagandist.
            Dalrymple believes that ‘native Brits’ are dangerous.
            But of course that is not ‘racist.’

          • James Dalrymple

            I never said that native Brits are armed and dangerous. My point was that a lot of gun control, which has been highly successful in my view, was instigated (and I’m working from memory here) in the wake of the mass killings in Dunblane, Hungerford and perhaps Cumbria too. I am not denying that there have been problems with gun crime within, say, the black community. Trident was set up specifically to tackle this. But many of the perpetrators and victims of so-called black on black crime are second and third generation and British-born. As I said before, integration (of lack of) is a two-way street and one factor, among many, that might contribute to criminality. But to define gun crime as an issue of immigration alone is, I think, incorrect, and unhelpfully divisive.

          • Polly Radial

            You’re on a different planet to the rest of the population, James.

            Everybody knows that handguns are far more readily available now than before the ban. Only today they are in the hands of crooks, not honest handgun enthusiasts. That’s not ‘gun control’ – it’s gun distribution.

            Come to Nottingham, and I’ll buy you a gun in a pub car park. You couldn’t do that in 1990.

            And you keep referring to ‘gun crime as an issue of immigration alone’ – but who said that?
            You middle class liberals MUST stop crying ‘racist’ every time someone asks a simple question about immigration.

          • James Dalrymple

            Would that be Nottingham that USED to be called “Shottingham”, because – about 10 years ago – it USED to have a major problem with gun crime? Not to say it has gone altogether but you’d be naive to say it hasn’t massively improved. Nottingham then had one of the worst murder rates and gun crime rates in the country, but not any more. My point – and I feel that we have digressed here – is that net immigration to the UK has increased steadily for decades. You wanted to draw a line graph linking gun crime to immigration without any evidence whatsoever. I accept your point that this assumption is not intrinsically racist. However, the problem with the UKIP-Daily Mail-Anti-Immigration brigade (notice I didn’t use the word “You” here) is that they want to associate all of society’s ills with immigration. The murder rate, and gun crime, – unlike immigration – rather than showing a steady increase, is like a bell-curve. Your correlation doesn’t really exist. The greater problem with violent crime peaking 10-15 years ago and its subsequent decline is complex and is a subject of great debate among criminologists. You can dismiss my claims as some kind of liberal middle class conspiracy, but I am no more a propagandist than you, and the arguments I am putting forward are based on more than local anecdotes.

          • Polly Radial

            If 2 lines on a graph are almost identical . . .how can they not exist? It is a mathematical fact.
            You seem obsessed with the idea of linking crime and immigration, even though I suggested absolutely nothing of the kind. This liberal angst is very revealing!

          • James Dalrymple

            Polly, this is getting boring. What, if you were not linking immigration to crime, were you trying to say when you made your original comment: “If you plot on a graph the rise in numbers of immigrants from 1990 – 2014 and also the incidence of gun-related crime, the two lines will be almost identical.” Gun crime has declined to roughly pre-2000 levels, net immigration has continued to rise. If current trends continue, immigration will continue to rise, crime (guns included) will continue to fall. I am not saying crime is going down because of immigration, but I am disputing the correlation you are making between the two, which you are now bizarrely denying having made.

          • wudyermucuss

            UKIP-Daily Mail-Anti-Immigration brigade –
            Oh dear.
            And you were doing so well.

            I accept your negation of the improved medical service/murder rate relation.

            Do you accept that not all violent crime is reported?

            I know of at least one shooting and one stabbing that was witnessed by people I know (neighbour in one case,a friend in another) that elicited no police response and was presumably not reported.

            they want to associate all of society’s ills with immigration. –
            The Labour-Guardian-Mass Immigration brigade (notice I didn’t use the word “You” here) want to disassociate any of society’s ills with immigration.

          • James Dalrymple

            Ha ha, I was reacting to being called a middle class liberal propagandist. I’ll try not to insult you all by assuming you read the Daily Mail from now on!

            The studies to which I refer (the ONS crime surveys) are victim-based surveys – they are not about crime that is reported to the police. Even if people were reluctant to share their expériences, the same survey criteria are used every year, so the decline is indisputable, even if we can never have a truly accurate picture of all crime.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Interested in your view that “gun control” has been “highly successful” – perhaps you’d care to expand on this? It’s a subject that has interested me for decades: UK “gun control” has expanded hugely since 1920 when the first real measures were instigated, while gun crime has mushroomed in parallel. To the best of my knowledge, there is no substantive evidence that “gun control” has brought any benefit, any public good, whatsoever.
            If you have any evidence to the contrary I would be genuinely fascinated to learn about it.

          • James Dalrymple

            Malcolm – I admit that I don’t know much about legislative gun control and its impact, or otherwise, on gun crime. What I do know, and this information is not difficult to find, is that gun crime has been in steady decline for 10 years having peaked in in the early 2000s. The point I originally wanted to make is that this decline is in line with that of other sorts of crime, particularly violent crime and the murder rate, which peaked around 2003. I don’t want to reiterate the stats I have alluded to elsewhere suffice to say the trend in violence is in decline and that guns are just one facet of that. I would have assumed (and I am quite happy to admit ignorance on this) that gun control has had a positive role in that, but only as one of a myriad of factors, some of which I have already mentioned.

          • Malcolm Stevas

            Thanks for your reply. The difficulty is that you’re measuring this apparent “decline” on a very short timescale. To look at violent crime stats from, say, the past half century is to see a sequence of rises & falls which can only rarely be attributed with accuracy to any particular factor or legislative measure: more usually, they result from a combination of things, as you imply.
            Your assumption that “gun control” has had any “positive role” in the very recent statistical decline you say is to be found in very recent years is, I do sincerely assure you, wholly without foundation. It is a truism that gun laws affect only the law abiding: why should, or how could the handgun ban in the 1997 Act affect criminals’ misuse of handguns? Criminals do not obey laws. They never have paid any obvious attention to gun laws, which were always peripheral and irrelevant to them. This is why the “gun control” that followed the Firearms Acts of 1920 et seq has been paralleled in its rise by an overall huge (I do not exaggerate) increase in armed crime in the UK.
            Most people probably share your ready assumption: most people know little or nothing about guns, and happily assume (if they think about it at all) that gun laws = fewer guns = less gun crime. It’s a fallacy.
            If you were to look into it, you would find that handgun crime briefly increased in the years immediately following the handgun ban of 1997. Is this perverse, contradictory? No – it simply underlines the complete disjunction between “gun control” laws, and the criminal misuse of guns.
            I urge anyone to look into the origins of the 1920 Act; to consider the rationale behind it (hint: it wasn’t armed crime, which was remarkably uncommon); to look at subsequent Firearms Acts and at contemporary events to understand their motivations; to look at the way UK Police Forces have administered firearms certification and resisted bitterly the transfer of this task to an independent body; to consider how such atrocities as Hungerford & Dunblane came about; and to look at the past century’s worth of armed crime stats…
            It’s illuminating and instructive, in many ways.

          • James Dalrymple

            Thank you for your informative and thought-provoking comment. I guess we will never know whether the criminal use of arms would have been higher, lower or the same if the gun control législations you describe had not been implemented. What you say is not incompatible with the downward trend in violence and murder in general. It is my belief that armed or not, people are less inclined to resort to violence then they were.

          • wudyermucuss

            But many of the perpetrators and victims of so-called black on black crime are second and third generation and British-born. –
            And still retaining their Jamaican gun/gang culture.

          • James Dalrymple

            The first generations of Carribean migrants were enlisted in the reconstruction efforts post-World War II. I don’t think these first migrants came with a gun/gang culture. I am not saying that successive migrants did present those kinds of problems, but – just as I was trying to say to Polly – we have to be careful about generalizing about gun/gang culture. It cannot be separated from problems of integration that British society must (and did) share the burden of responsibility for. Racism was a factor among many others for the marginalization of certain social groups and that lead to a lot of civil conflict by the early 80s. With any social phenomenon we need to move away from the binary thinking and blame culture. Yes, immigration contributed towards violent crime and still does, but not in isolation. Violence was much higher than today ten years ago across society as a whole. Look at knife crime and gang culture in Glasgow, for instance: much worse 10 yeas ago than anything known in England & Wales. This is not generally associated with immigration but with (as I have argued above) deindustrialization and drug and alcohol abuse. Glasgow is now a safer city than it was.

          • wudyermucuss

            Jamaican gang/gun culture has been imported with the importation of Jamaicans.
            Yes,knife crime is a part of Glaswegian culture.

          • James Dalrymple

            The problem with this point of view is that you make it sound like all the white British people – or indeed immigrants from other parts of the world – involved in UK gun crime were somehow poisoned by Jamaican gang/gun culture. One of the arguments I originally made – and we really have digressed here – is that the real “import” that changed the face of criminality in Britain and elsewhere was hard drugs, particularly heroin and crack cocaine. This was not as much part of the criminal culture up until the late 70s. That coupled with a range of other societal and environmental factors: lead poisoning, poverty, poor post-war housing schemes, the demise of traditional working class industries, unemployment, and – yes – immigration, and you have (“had”, now, as crime decreases) a more violent society. I don’t want to prolong this debate any further – I know I will not change anyone’s mind here: I see I am in a minority among commentators for this publication. Suffice to say I advise taking “the long view”: that is, be wary of making a scapegoat of one ethnic group in order to provide a convenient narrative of postwar crime. Scapegoating one social group means that we never learn any lessons from past policy failures. Before the war it was jews who were the social “other” which engendered deep suspicion leading to (yes, even in the UK) riots, but the long view helps us read this differently.

          • wudyermucuss

            It is a fact,not a point of view,and yes,Jamaican culture has certainly affected our culture,though poisoned is your phrase.
            Jews didn’t/don’t disproportionately commit certain offences,as a cultural imperative,so your analogy is false,and wearyingly predictable.

          • ADW

            “Intergration is a two way street”. Whatever happened to when in Rome, do as the Romans do? You would not get far in most countries by turning up and demanding the locals integrate with you. I have no interest in integrating with most of the loathsome attitudes and behaviours I see others bring here – first cousin marriage, honour killings, fgm, covering women head to toe etc. similarly, when I go to France I go to experience French culture, and don’t expect them to alter anything for my convenience.

            I choose not to go to certain other countries, for that reason

          • James Dalrymple

            My point is that Britain has become a less racist place since the first wave of immigrants arrived. No more signs in cafés saying “No dogs, No Blacks, No Irish.” There is less institutional racism in the police, too, compared to the early 80s when Britain was marred by race riots. Positive discrimination has had an impact: integrating people of non-British backgrounds, and their children, into the workforce. I could go on. Britain has been proactive on these fronts and should be commended for it. My point is not that we should accept Sharia law in the UK, but that into order to integrate people into our society we have had to make an accommodating effort without which the situation would have been worse. Clearly we have become too politically correct in some instances to tackle widespread abuse in some communities (Rochdale, Rotherham), but I still think we should be proud of our tolerance and lack of prejudice compared to other nations in Europe and beyond, where ethnic communities are more ghettoized.

          • wudyermucuss

            I can take you round any number of ghettoized areas,balkanized too.

            There is less institutional racism in the police, too, compared to the early 80s when Britain was marred by race riots. –
            You say the former caused the latter?
            Trying to arrest a career criminal during which an overweight lady with a heart condition dies which leads to a riot during which an officer is nearly decapitated is caused by “institutional racism”?
            What about the institutional racism of some our immigrant communities to their hosts and other races?

            we have had to make an accommodating effort –
            No,we didn’t have to.
            We were forced to.

          • James Dalrymple

            There is less racism in society as a whole, among the population and in the police, and I think we are all the better off for it. I think we should treat all forms of racism seriously, no matter the perpetrator. We need transparent enquiries into police collusion with Steven Lawrence’s killers as much as we need a transparent enquiry as to why the police and local authorities turned a blind eye to sex abuse in Rotherham. Eventually we will get both. It is what makes Britain a progressive society.

          • wudyermucuss

            Collusion?
            You mean the surveillance cop taking a pee while a suspect removed evidence?
            Or the cops tracking down an on the run Norris senior,not for his crimes,but because he was the father of a Lawrence suspect?
            Or is it the police’s largest ever investigation that you allude to?

            You mention all forms of racism.
            Like anti-white racism and inter racial racism?

            We already know why police ignored mass racially selective rape in Rotherham and so,I suspect,do you.

            Britain,with its mass imported cheap labour,race rape,mediaeval ideological imports,FGM,forced marriage,honour killings,ghettoization/balkanization is a regressive society.

          • john p reid

            The reason that the police didn’t investigate Rotherham was fear of being called racist, those authorities were a labour council desperate for muslim votes, moats of them were ose calling the police racist.
            I,personally believe that the Locals Of Broadwater,farm, were given credence to hide the PC murdered, killers,when Haringey council came out With 180 derogatory or anti white racist comments about the police after the 1985′ riot, making it seem acceptable for the locals to hide the killers,champion them hold them up as heroes and shield them,

          • ADW

            You mean the white majority has become less racist since the immigration they never asked for was thrust upon them. The signs you mention are largely apocryphal, as it happens, but there’s no doubt that the majority of British did not want the mass immigration of the post war era, and they certainly did not want the multicultural ideology that told them to celebrate every culture but their own.

            Institutional racism is nonsense. An institution is racist if it has discriminatory rules and procedures, but that doesn’t describe the police of the 1980s. There were no doubt some racists among them, but that’s not the same thing. And they faced a situation where the black minority committed vastly disproportionate amounts of street crime. You might blame that on the evil white majority, though I would not that in every society where there is a black majority, the rate of offending is just as high if not higher.

            I am indeed proud of Britain’s tolerance, but there are now communities among us which have nothing to do with majority society, and which have all kinds of abhorrent practices that even the most ardent multiculturalists cannot defend. If instead of creating ghettos we had taken an assimilationist approach, we would have a lot less of these problems now. As it is, the country is being fast racked

          • James Dalrymple

            Institutional racism may well just be a reflection of racism in society, but given the power that the police hold it was surely important to hold the racism within the force to account?

            Maybe people did not want the mass immigration you describe, but we needed it to sustain the economic and industrial growth of the country and we looked towards the Commonwealth for help. If you look at my comments again you will see I did not blame racism in the white majority for the rise in crime, but that the social marginalization of the black community in the 70s and 80s surely contributed towards it.

            Remember too that there are different kinds of violent crime. In Britain there has always been a much bigger problem with alcohol related disorder than gun crime, most of which tends to be a “native” British problem.

          • ADW

            1. Immigration should not be gauged purely in economic terms. No amount of riches make up for the destruction of our democracy (I trust you are aware of the vote rigging judgments) or the assaults in Rotherham and elsewhere, nor the destruction of our social cohesion or the importation of ignorant brutality and stupidity s as fgm, first cousin marriage etc.

            2.

          • ADW

            And as I inferred – why is the crime rate in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean even higher than here? You can’t blame marginalisation of blacks there, they are the majority. So why don’t they manage to create and run a peaceful, ordered society by themselves?

          • wudyermucuss

            Have you informed Trident?

          • terence patrick hewett

            The story of Victorian piano legs draped to prevent the male of the species going mad from sexual lust is erronoeus.

            The legs of the furniture at the time were gussied up for good practical reasons. Since they had no refrigerators they had many larders, so they kept cats to control the mice: ipso facto they covered the furniture to stop the cats from sharpening their claws on the legs. Additionally, since they had large families it was a protection against damage to the legs of the furniture by all those wheeled wooden toys.

            The myth actually arose from Captain Frederick Marryat’s 1839 book, Diary in America, as a satirical comment on prissiness. No-one took this seriously at the time so they must be laughing their heads off at us from above (or below).

            Most of our views of the Victorians are now obtained from contemporary text; what they really thought was never committed to paper, although some idea may be got from Mayhew’s London Labour and the London Poor, Morrison’s A Child of the Jago, The Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith and the pronouncements of Miss Marie
            Lloyd. The works of Mr Peter Ackroyd of East Acton also come highly recommended.

          • ArthurSparknottle

            They are so averse that my post pointing out some of the highly undesirable cultural traits imported along with Middle Eastern migrants such as Honour Violence, was deleted within minutes of it being posted. Since the only other poster in this thread who is currently on line is the fellow you are addressing, I am guessing that he had it removed.

            The left love free speech as long as the only speech to be heard is their own.

          • UKSteve

            “Really, this liberal aversion to seeing the word ‘immigration’ and the word ‘crime’ in the same sentence is a bit like the Victorians covering up their table legs.”

            Which, of course, they never did. Urban myth.

  • Malcolm Stevas

    Minor correction: Roberts didn’t kill those three officers in Acton. He killed two, and Duddy the third. Both were sentenced to life, along with Witney the driver – the latter was also released early in 1991, and there was a fuss about that – he was subsequently murdered by a junkie… Duddy died in prison.
    The discussion interests me since I have long taken an interest in firearms legislation and its relationship to political liberty. The writer fails to mention that the steep logarithmic rise in firearms use by UK criminals parallels the equally steep rise in “gun control” legislation: prior to WW1 this country had no gun legislation that had any substantive effect – and while gun ownership was far more prevalent, gun crime really was quite scarce. This didn’t stop Establishment paranoia from causing
    the first Firearms Act of 1920, which registered guns here for the first time, and made their lawful ownership very much harder. Successive Acts followed this pattern, being brought about on the nod, as kneejerk responses to isolated incidents, and/or through bureaucratic momentum.
    The 1968 Act resulting directly from the Roberts (et al) murders is a case in point. Roberts & Duddy used unlicenced handguns to commit their crimes: there have always been vast but unquantifiable numbers of “off ticket” guns, and the quarter-million or so weapons surrendered in the half-dozen amnesties since WW2 must be presumed to be the tip of an iceberg since criminals would have no reason to participate in an amnesty. Did this Act result in a ban on handgun ownership by ordinary citizens? No, we had to wait until 1997 for that particular kneejerk… Instead, Home Secretary Roy Jenkins used the Act to introduce registration for shotguns! (until then, one bought a shotgun ticket at the Post Office then went and bought whatever shotguns desired, with no registration.) The best theory is that Jenkins wished to resist widespread calls for reintroducing the death penalty, by showing he was getting really tough on gun ownership with this futile, oppressive, superfluous action against shotgun owners…
    We might not know exactly why gun crime has mushroomed in the past few decades: we do not know all the reasons for what looks like an arbitrary, pointless pattern of “gun control” legislation. We just know the latter does not exactly show our legislators in a gloriously rational, liberal, democratic light.

    • ArthurSparknottle

      America is an especially violent nation as well as being one that is heaped up with firearms.

      The problem is cultural. If we look at the murder rates in European countries we find that Switzerland a country which has auto and semi auto firearms in most homes since its citizen army keeps military grade firearms at home for the purposes of national defence, the murder rate is lower than most European countries (0.71 per 100,000) while the UK’s is 1.17 per 100,000). Every able bodied man in Switzerland under 35 must be a part of the army and must keep his military firearms at home.

      The relationship between possession of firearms and the overall murder rate is nothing like as simple as ‘more guns equals more murder’. It is a cultural matter, not one of mere availability of firearms. It is true however that in Switzerland a greater proportion of the few murders which take place do involve the use of firearms. In Britain, our deranged murdering sort just use a knife, or a brick, or a hammer or some other commonly available weapon.

      Your point about the small number of murders which took place pre-1920 firearms controls even though any Tom Dick or Harry could have a firearm is well made.

      • James Dalrymple

        Seems to me that America’s violent crime rate is a combination of the deeply entrenched inequality and poverty AND the wide availability of firearms. The levels of poverty and inequality in the US are among the worst in the developed world, and shameful considering the vast wealth the country produces. I’m sure there are a raft of other factors too nebulous and complex for the likes of us to identify but I really doubt that the easy availability of firearms has nothing to do with it at all.

        • Malcolm Stevas

          You might be correct but there are several factors to consider, such as:
          – America is a more violent society all round, as the other chap said, and if you look at the stats you find their rates for crime involving e.g knives are higher than ours too.
          – Something generally ignored (or more likely unknown) by UK commentators is that gun crime and gun laws vary very greatly within the USA. As an admittedly rough rule of thumb, it is a fact that those parts with the most liberal gun laws – and in consequence where very many ordinary citizens own guns – tend to be the more peacable areas, with violent crime rates sometimes not too different from our own; for the most violent places you have to look where “gun control” is tightest, such as Washington DC, NYC, LA…. Go figure. Until our 1997 Act, it was in some ways easier to own a legally registered handgun here than it had been in NYC since 1911…
          – the “availability of firearms” argument tends to be discredited by our own experience, i.e. that pre-WW1 gun ownership in UK was very much more widespread than now, while gun crime was very much less frequent. Switzerland too – far more guns around in legal hands than in UK, with a not dissimilar rate of gun crime.

        • ArthurSparknottle

          LOL “Inequality” as the root of all evil – another left wing trope and utter rubbish. Reminds me of the dross, The Spirit Level that I had the misfortune to read a couple of years ago. Utter tripe, backed up only by assertions and statements declaring causality to factors that were merely mildly correlated. There are plenty of unequal societies which do not have the levels of violence of the United States. Take China for example. It would be hard to find a less equal society than that, and levels of homicide are minuscule. India likewise is a hugely unequal society and homicide is about half that of the states. As for firearms availability, Switzerland has automatic, military weapons in the household of every able bodied male under thirty-five and a huge popularity of shooting sports, but its homicide rate is 0.71 per hundred thousand while ours is 1.1 . Homicide above the minimal level caused by teh deranged is a cultural matter. America has culture which glorifies its violent mythology; a statement of what a man is that involves never backing down and dealing out vengeance. It pushes this in 95% of its greatest cultural export, cinema replete with massive violence. America’s homicide rate at four or five times our own and even more than five times that of Switzerland – a society with a far greater proportion of assault rifles and semi auto military pistols in its homes.

          I’m afraid you’ll have to do better than that old chap. Besides – just exactly HOW does inequality and poverty create homicide?

          • James Dalrymple

            You’d be a fool not to include inequality and poverty in the equation, nor the intertwined issues of drugs and guns and the legacy of slavery (ditto: Brazil). No criminologist would ever discount these factors in the rather supercilious way you just have. Switzerland doesn’t have the poverty and inequality of the US or even Britain for that matter. But as I also said, “I’m sure there are a raft of other factors too nebulous and complex for the likes of us to identify.” As far as the US is concerned – and here the comparison with India and China is particularly apt – I think one of the key contributing factors not yet raised here is individualism: conceived in Europe but transformed into a religion of sorts (for political reasons during the Cold War) in the US. Not many other countries on Earth champion so aggressively assert the notion of individual freedom over collective responsibility as they do in the US. The cultural exports that you allude to are the most obvious expression of this. It may be that on this subject we are finding some common ground, but to divorce this from issues such as the availability of guns, inequality, poverty etc. is ridiculous. The US glorification of a violent mythology is an expression of existing cultural and social codes, not its cause.

          • James Dalrymple

            Thought I’d replied to this yesterday, but the comment has since disappeared. As I said, inequality and poverty are factors among many others. Throw in guns, drugs and the legacy of slavery (ditto: Brazil) and you have some more answers. No criminologist would ever dismiss these factors in the supercilious way you do. You keep dismissing these factors as “left wing tropes”, as you did when I claimed that drugs and de-industrialization were responsible for high crime in Britain in the 80s. I suppose you would deny the same of Detroit, which has one of the highest murder rates in the States, and which suffered massively from the collapse of the automobile industry and the simultaneous arrival of crack cocaine. For you these two issues are entirely unrelated.

            Why does the US have a higher murder rate that India and China? Perhaps the idea lies in American individualism: practically no other country on earth asserts the primacy of the individual over collective responsibility. The cultural output (violent films etc.) is one expression of that, gun culture is another. Malcom made interesting points distinguishing gun control and gun crime, but “gun culture” is something else. In the US you are allowed to use lethal force to protect your property. In some states, as we have recently seen in Florida, you can use it to “stand your ground’ in street altercations. Many US gun owners may be law-abiding people, but these ideologies – related to the American belief in the right to bear arms as an intrinsic individual freedom – cannot be separated from gun crime.

  • sfin

    The answer to this conundrum is so simple, it’s barely worth saying…

    When we had, both the death penalty for murder, and collective responsibility for crimes carried out where more than one perpetrator was involved, criminals would routinely search each other for guns before ‘going on a job’. If one killed – they would all hang.

    Thanks to that idiot Roy Jenkins – that deterrent was removed (about one year before Roberts killed the policemen) – cheapening the lives of law abiding citizens and law enforcers.

    At the same time, his (Jenkins) and previous Labour governments had opened the floodgates to foreign criminal cultures, where gun carrying was the norm – indeed respected, in the case of black gangster culture.

    It was a perfect storm.

    • beenzrgud

      Exactly right. I thought it was common knowledge why criminals didn’t used to carry guns, but obviously I was wrong.

      • ArthurSparknottle

        They didn’t carry guns routinely for a very long time after hanging was abolished. If that had been significant, don’t you think the trend would have started earlier? I think the author of the piece has it about right; it is about the importation of foreign codes of ethics that came with foreign criminal organisations arriving and taking over. Also, don’t forget the insidious influence of the gun violence obsession of American TV and films with which we pollute our airwaves and cable channels. You can’t watch the average American film for five minutes without seeing gunfights and explosions by the half dozen.

        • beenzrgud

          My opinion is based on interviews with criminals of the time. If they carried on for a time without guns I’d put it down to old habits dying hard. Why would they change since they had managed to go about their business perfectly well without guns. Nowadays we have gangs of kids killing for kicks. You’re right that our culture has changed, but I’m not sure that we would have the senseless violence we have now if the laws hadn’t been changed. Remember that professional criminals are in it for the money, not to get a cheap thrill from killing someone.

          • ArthurSparknottle

            I think you are right to distinguish between what we would call professional criminals looking for easy profit and the gangs of feral scum (my label, not yours) who kill for kicks or more likely gang status. These people have abandoned all normal values and operate like predators in a parallel universe of morality. I think these attitudes have been imported from elsewhere – Yardi crime gangs in London, American violent rap / drug culture for starters. They are a quite different breed to the traditional British criminal classes. Not sure that the old gangland Cray type criminals fit with our ‘more moral’ criminal idea. They certainly employed murder and extreme violence to instil fear so they could profit from gangland operations like running drugs and prostitution and protection rackets…… Could we be seeing teh past through rose coloured spectacles? In anycase, I suspect that folk like the Cray brothers were fewer than the modern teenaged murder gangs.

      • davidofkent

        You were wrong purely for one reason – knowledge today is not common. Knowledge of anything other than the trivial lives of z-class celebrities is unknown amongst people below the age of about 50. History of both home and abroad is no longer taught other than ‘to examine the daily lives of ordinary folk’. Don’t bother asking anybody who was the first Plantaganet King of England because the blank stare will cut right through you.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Who WAS the first Plantagenet king of England? It depends on which historian you ask.Try asking who was Oliver Cromwell?

    • John Carins

      Indeed. If the criminal justice system was more robust then criminals would be less likely to carry guns and they would as before impose their own rules. In turn the Police would not then need to be armed. Let’s not be conned into “there’s no turning back”. It is not irreversible, we can return to a better past.

      • sfin

        Indeed.

        It’s why ‘progressives’ like that other idiot, Tony “I have no reverse gear” Blair, should be reviled, rather than given air time. The creep was on France Inter (France’s radio 4 equivalent) yesterday morning – I felt physically sick!

    • UKSteve

      You are quite correct.

      Handguns were banned here (UK) after the Dunblane massacre, but someone I know has a relative in the police of a West Midlands city. They told him that, 10 years after the handgun ban, you could get a pistol on 24 hour rent for a £50 deposit and £50 rental, ammo extra, at any of 3 pubs within 10 mins walk of the centre “…..if you knew the right Croatian”.

      Presumably this is what they mean when they refer ot “the benefits of a diverse, multicultural society”.

    • ADW

      What did Jenkins care? He retired to a small Oxfordshire village, ethnic minority count nil. Just like Ted Heath, who moved to that well-known den of diversity Salisbury Close. At££&&&holes the pair of them.

    • kingkevin3

      Well thought through Einstein..uh hold on …what about the guildford four, the birmingham six , the countless other innocent people who would have been sent to the galloways innocent of any crime. It may have escaped your attention but the Met and the other police forces throughout this country are riddiled with corruption. I would also add you have more prospects of being hit by lightning than getting shot with a fire arm..go figure Heisenberg.

      • sfin

        I wasn’t commenting on the merits or morals of capital punishment. I was offering a reason why criminals in Britain today have lost the fear of being armed and have, largely, abandoned internal controls against unnecessary violence.

        To counter the argument, which you raised (and I didn’t); there were at least 13 people killed by released murders in the decade up to the end of 2013.

        I would argue, from a moral standpoint that:

        a) The government’s first duty is the protection of the public.
        And:
        b) The criminal has a choice. The victim does not.

  • Paddy S

    The article shows the two worst groups in society are enabled to have a monopoly of force – the state, and the criminal. Every normal non convict person should have the right to a gun for self defense and protection.
    For liberal whingers who whine about scumbags rights and America: keep this in your head America has a far lower violent crime rate than UK, and most of the killings with firearms over there are gangbangers shooting other gangs, and people using their weapons in self defence…….

  • Alma Coin
  • balance_and_reason

    Yet another multicultural plus then!

  • Richard Eldritch

    I think it’s time that gun control was relaxed for the public as it has been for the Police who are taking up the American trend of becoming increasingly military in appearence and tactics.

  • ArthurSparknottle

    “the arrival in Britain of criminal gangs from other countries may have started the process which has led to the convention’s demise. The murder rate in Jamaica is fifty times that of the UK.”

    Just another example of how mass immigration has enriched our culture and our society. There are so many, but here are a few:

    Curry
    FGM
    Honour Violence
    Organised Misogyny
    Terrorism
    Corruption of the postal voting system
    Islamisation of some of our schools

    I could go on…..

    • AverageGuyInTheStreet

      If Duggan’s white mother had bred him with a white father, his killing would have gone almost unnoticed. Because she produced him by mating with an Afro-carrib, London burned, shops were looted, whites were forced to strip naked in the streets, and Richard Bowes was killed in Ealing by Darrell Desuze. Its not hard to see why white flight from London accelerated during the 00s to the point where we are now a minority in our own capital.

  • Bonkim

    It would have been better if the death penalty was not abolished.

  • wudyermucuss

    Duggan was turned into a local hero. –
    Only by some.

    His death led to protests outside the police station involving several hundred people –
    The initial protest was small,less than a hundred.
    It changed when they decided to block the main road,in an entirely unnecessary and deliberately provocative way.

    And yes,the effect of some aspects of Jamaican culture have had a wholly negative effect on our country.
    It is obvious,yet is never mentioned.

    Also,much rap type music glorifies and promotes guns and violence.
    It is overt incitement.
    It is hate speech.
    It flourishes.

  • Roger Hudson

    A very poor quality article, almost worthless.
    Britain had unarmed criminals for a few simple reasons.
    firstly, the law of common guilt, one felon has a gun the whole ‘gang’ are guilty.
    secondly, the death penalty for capital murder, shooting dead anyone while committing a felony, killing a policemen.
    thirdly, no American TV culture of gun violence.
    Today we have destroyed all three reasons, stupidity.
    I was seven when I first saw an armed British policeman, the siren at Broadmoor went off when I was a school as Mitchell had escaped and we were all escorted home on a coach with a policeman with a No.4 rifle. A wise precaution but no Rambo posing.
    Some of the poor quality current police intake can never ever be armed, just can’t pass a proper test. I used to have a licenced CZ75 9mm pistol and know how hard it is to be competent.
    The current ‘scenario’ where police will fire hundreds of rounds in Whitehall is total cr*p, can you name an incident where a singe copper has had to fire more than 6 round ( a revolvers worth) ? The militarisation of the police is an American nonsense. The American armed police are a huge danger to the general public.

  • Tom M

    Does the author realise that he went from :
    “….The police say Duggan pulled a gun….” implying some doubt. To :
    “…… But no one seems to have thought that he was wrong to react to an attempt to arrest him by pulling a gun….” implying no doubt at all.

  • MrJones

    According to research by a guy called Pinker lethal violence in Britain declined for 700 years but started to go up again after WWII.

    “Even violent crime in this country has fallen over the past decade”

    How many violent crimes have been committed by the grooming gangs and their clientele over the last 16 years? What percentage of those crimes are in the figures, 1%?

    Or the recent report (which the political class completely ignored) saying the scale of sexual violence on inner city estates was at war zone levels with gang rape accepted as a normal part of growing up on those estates?

    Just how much violent crime is being covered up because it contradicts PC?

    Given that such a lot of this violence seems to be being inflicted on 11-16 year old girls does that make it easier for the political class to cover it up?

    “police-pleasing policy”

    back when the political class had some common sense they put laws like that in place because the police are the ones who are going to be dealing with upset people holding weapons.

    • UKSteve

      Good point. The thing that everyone misses is that ther eis a drop in the number of reported crimes.

      As public faith in the police is at an all time low, how many crimes these days go unreported, in comparison.

      You mention grooming gangs: in fact, your th eonly bloody person that does. Because apart from all the posturing by that dizzy bint May over the chairmanship of the enquiry, due the system being completely bent and they wan tot sure they get the right ‘patsy’, no-one is saying anything about what went on in Rotheram.

  • John Cronin

    The author seems to be desperately ,desperately trying to ignore the fairly obvious difference between London in those days and London today: ie the absence of Afro-Carribeans.

  • Jim

    So the gist of it is that our own native gangsters were relatively civilised, until the Yardies got here shot holes in the consensus.
    How wonderfully diverse, how wonderfully enriching. Well worth it for the jerk chicken.

  • lailahaillallah

    A very good argument for introducing some aspects of Sharia Law to this country. Sooner the better. Let’s bring back the death penalty for premeditated murder as a starter and see how it goes.

  • Simon_in_London

    “the arrival in Britain of criminal gangs from other countries may have started the process which has led to the convention’s demise” – Yes, it is pretty obviously the result of immigration, plus possibly some American media/cultural influence. The British and Irish criminals who did not carry guns are mostly not the same as the (eg) Afro-Caribbean and Turkish criminals who carry guns now.
    That said, I think the article may be somewhat overstated, inasmuch as criminals always did carry guns when robbing banks. Roberts & co were unusual in murdering police, not in carrying guns.

  • paulthorgan

    The demise of the death penalty seems to have gone hand-in-hand with the rise of joint-enterprise as a way to secure convictions. Had joint-enterprise been used so much before abolition, then it is possible that more criminals would have gone to the gallows, even where they did not actually commit the capital crime.

    It may have been increasingly difficult for juries to convict on joint enterprise knowing that the hangman’s noose awaited. As executions fell, so joint-enterprise convictions appear to have risen.

  • Daniel Jeyn

    “…But no one seems to have thought that he was wrong to react to an attempt to arrest him by pulling a gun.”

    No one, eh? How widely have you canvassed for that consensus? I suspect it’s a self-selecting group skewering the perception, mayhaps.

  • john p reid

    There’s been 46 PC killed(manslaughter, death by dangerous driving) in the last 30 years, of whom 6 people have never been found guilty of it, onebeing kenneth Noye, who was found to ha e acted in self defence for stabbing 40 times to death DC fordham,who plain clothed had climbed over Noyes Homes fence

  • jpr

    More police were killed by firearms between 1900 and 1910 than in the whole of the 21st century so far and violent crime is currently falling. Those are measurable facts. The number of guns carried by criminals and criminal ‘codes of ethics’ are just speculation.

  • jenniferanistonsknickers

    “Overall, rates of crime are down in Britain” – Not so, the police just don’t record the crime that occurs as it just isn’t done to admit to reality.

    As to the Duggan issue I would give an honest response but my comment would be deleted as racist, because once again it just isn’t done to admit to reality.

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