Letter to Rt Hon Theresa May MP

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The following letter was sent to Rt Hon Theresa May MP (by then, Home Secretary in David Cameron’s Cabinet), on July 4th, 2011. 

Dear Home Secretary,

Call for a People’s Inquiry into Gun and Knife Killings in the African Community

I write in relation to the recent upsurge of gun- and knife-enabled killings involving young people of African descent both as victims and perpetrators.

I am aware that this is a matter of huge concern to you and your Cabinet colleagues and I very much hope that you will give urgent attention to my proposal that there should be a “People’s Inquiry” to focus African communities up and down the land on the issues this relentless and senseless waste of young lives raises.  As I am sure you would agree, these are issues for the society as a whole, including for African families themselves, for the socialisation and preparation of our young people for life in civil society and for their participation in the economy, for community safety, for community cohesion and for law and order.

There is a growing urgency about this, not least because despite the efforts of Operation Trident and its counterparts in other Force areas, the recorded age of those involved in gun- and knife enabled crime is getting lower and lower and  consequently there is a growing number of school aged children killing one another, often while in school uniform.

While I am acutely aware of the financial constraints facing the Government and the country, I am also aware of the fact that this situation has become endemic since I first encountered it as a Director of Education in Hackney in 1989 and we keep losing some 25-30 young people on average each year.  I believe the time has come to do something different and to facilitate an in depth examination within African communities and specifically among young people themselves about how we might tackle this troubling issue.

I am happy to meet with you to discuss this in more detail and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely

Professor Gus John

Picture: “Speech to Home Office staff“, by ukhomeoffice (Flickr)

If you would like to download this letter in pdf format, please click here.

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