April 11, 2018, London
In the first three months of this year, 50 cases of homicide have been reported in London. If this wave of crimes continues, then 2018 might end up as the most violent year in modern history of the city. It’s also unprecedented for London to have more homicide cases than New York. Authorities are responding to the situation with the same old rhetoric, terming budget cuts, hip-hop culture and underworld scuffles the culprit. However, there is a politician who has suggested cannabis legalization to solve this ongoing problem.
The fact that London has surpassed NYC in homicide cases should be enough to evoke a strong reaction from the concerned authorities. Gun laws in the UK are way stricter than the US and experience less instances of shooting. Therefore, most of the murders were committed through knife attacks. 31 out of the 50 murders were indeed stabbings.
According to the city police, majority of the homicide cases are tied to gang fights for the reclamation of a turf. On the other hand, the city’s mayor holds lenient knife laws responsible for the current spike of stabbings. He has announced to form a specific task force comprising of 120 personnel for the prevention of violent street crimes.
Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has put the blame on the Conservative government’s regressive policies. He thinks that cutting the number of police officers on streets have encouraged people with criminal intent to wreak havoc. Nevertheless, he admits that police reforms can only be a one part of multifaceted solution.
It’s interesting to note that not many people have talked about the illegal drug operations in the city in connection to the rise of this heinous crime. But that doesn’t mean there is complete oblivion on the subject.
Khan recently hosted a summit on the issue. The summit is attended by leaders from all the political parties of the country. Vince Cable is the leader of Liberal Democrats, a left-leaning political party. He was also among the attendees of the conference. He suggested that legalization of ‘soft drugs’ could really aid in ending the streak of violent crimes. He also backed his suggestion with a comprehensive rationale.
As police indicates that gang fights over territory is the main reason behind this new wave of homicides. Cable thinks that with excluding the enticement (illegal drug business) by making cannabis legal, one can end this fight and it will consequently affect the crime rate of the city.
Cable has made it clear in an interview with BBC that he himself has anti-drug beliefs .But he also points out that the complete control of cannabis trade has made criminal gangs very powerful. Moreover, he doesn’t agree with Labour party’s inclusive approach to solve the problem. He maintains that illegal drug trade is at the core of higher homicide cases and other factors such as weak policing and higher unemployment rates act as catalyst to aggravate the problem.