Growing up, I hated stop and search—now, increasing its use could be a matter of life and deathby Hashi Mohamed / April 7, 2018 / Leave a comment
This week I had a conversation with my sister about her youngest, a teenage boy. He’s calm and quiet, obedient and minds his own business. I am sure he will never get into trouble of his own volition. He has never had any issues with the police, and has never been suspended from school; never involved in the kind of scuffle you might expect from teenage boys.
But my nephew is a black Somali boy growing up in a rough part of North West London. He is a teenager who has a particular type of haircut and with a preferred dress code of a tracksuit set, trainers, a trendy jacket with a fur hoodie (though his is not the ubiquitous Canada Goose). But, while this helps him fit in with his peer group, it also makes him a walking target—not only for those on the streets seeking to protect their turf patches but also for the police.
I know I am not the only person having these conversations with young teenagers. My aunt is having the same conversations with her sons, checking precisely when they go to school and when they return. Teachers are having meetings about their most ‘at risk’ boys in their school. Community meetings and leaders may concentrate on what the police are doing, or not doing, or what this spike in knife crime has to do with drugs—but privately there is simply despair at how we are going to keep our young people safe.
At the time of writing, 50 people have been killed in London this year so far.
That means nearly one person is dying violently every other day in the capital. The majority of them are young black boys, most of whom have been murdered by other black boys now facing long jail sentences if they have been apprehended. This is now of epidemic proportions. Mothers on all sides are weeping for the loss of their sons, but they’re also crying for drastic action to stabilise a serious situation. Their voices are either not being heard beyond the wailing or they’re willfully being ignored. The murder rate in London, we are told, is higher than…