May’s denials draw ridicule – and mothers plan direct action to protect their and others’ children.
On Monday Theresa May was ridiculed and heavily criticised for a nonsensical claim that massive cuts to police numbers – over twenty thousand frontline officers have gone – are not linked to the rise in violent crime:
Senior former police officers have poured scorn on the claim that crime rises are not linked to huge cuts in numbers. London’s top police officer Cressida Dick also dismissed it:
But a group of parents and others who have suffered loss are organising more direct action – and next month they plan to bring a key location in the centre of London to a standstill to focus minds on the urgent need to stem the tide.
OperationShutdown will take place on 17 April. The group’s press release describes who they are and what they hope to achieve:
Who are OPERATION SHUTDOWN?
We are a newly formed consortium of mums, dad’s and other bereaved family members and loved ones, working with and supported by other knife crime campaigners and campaigns, teachers, grassroots, youth and community groups, organising together under the banner of : #OPERATIONSHUTDOWN. This will be a lawful peaceful, but powerful protest.
We invite and encourage ALL who support our ethos and aims, who want the violence, deaths, pain, heartache and misery to stop, to join and come together on the day, as one; in peaceful protest.
Why are we doing #OPERATIONSHUTDOWN?
As a growing group of mum’s, dads, families, loved ones and knife crime campaigners, we are absolutely sick, tired and traumatised, by waking up daily and going to bed, after hearing more news, of young people being stabbed and murdered on our streets and within our local communities across the UK, daily.
As mothers, we did not carry our children for 9 months, give birth, raise them, to have our children go on to kill each other and die or be hurt at the hands of one another- often for senseless and incomprehensible reasons.
We will no longer accept the war zone type environment, our children and communities are now living in, in fear and trauma.
We will NEVER accept this level or type of violence as ‘normal’ nor get used to this, enough is enough; we are compelled to take direct action!
We do not believe nearly enough is being done, with enough urgency, with enough priority and nor treated like the national public health UK wide emergency it is.
We do not believe our voices and the voices of young people are heard, often enough, without filter, dilution, manipulation or censorship.
Why have we called the protest a SHUTDOWN?
• We intend on the day to SHUTDOWN a central key location in Central London
• We want to SHUTDOWN this violent epidemic
• We want to SHUTDOWN the misery and pain
• We want to SHUTDOWN the trauma and fear
• We want to SHUTDOWN the lack of justice
• We will SHUTDOWN further if our demands are not engaged with
The group says the plan has arisen from the growing desperation of parents at the appalling toll of lives lost to violent crime – and the abject failure of “the Prime Minister, her Cabinet Ministers and her Majesty’s Government as a whole, nor many of our own Councillor’s and MPs [to act] with enough priority, urgency, care, [or] consideration“.
The group says that while it is making political demands, it is not politically aligned. Its demands are that:
- a Victims Law be introduced with utmost urgency
- the Government immediately call a COBRA meeting
- those found guilty of murder and manslaughter to serve the full sentence, the maximum sentence possible in law
- that Parliament immediately review sentencing guidelines for repeat weapon offenders
- that prisons are revamped and reformed, so that every waking minute of incarceration is spent on rehabilitation activity
- the Government implement Baroness Newlove’s recommendations for the overhaul of Criminal Injuries Compensation law – CICA
- the Government agree to and announce an independent public inquiry into school exclusions, PRU’s and the links to serious violence
- the Government halt all further planned cuts to local council budgets and restore to pre austerity levels
- the Government restore police budgets to pre austerity levels, to ensure adequate police numbers, staffing and resources
- the Government halt and reverse cuts to education and all schools to pre-austerity spending levels
- the Government mandate youth work as a profession
- adequate effective protection and safeguarding is funded, supported and implemented by social services and their partnership agencies
- the Government, National Crime Agency and the police, begin a coordinated approach to rooting out and holding to account, the adults and criminals involved in trafficking, grooming and abuse of children and vulnerable young people
- the work, progress and outcomes of the VRU style public health approach, recently launched initiatives, is shared with local people by their local councils, at quarterly face to face public forums
- the Government’s relevant ministers and opposition shadow ministers, join us at a meeting called by us, for an audience with us and others directly affected by violence, to listen to us, as a consortium, to start a meaningful and productive relationship
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