A senior Metropolitan police chief has suggested that social inequality is driving the rise in crime in Britain, claiming that those arrested and jailed tend to be people with ‘less money and opportunity.’
Patricia Gallan, the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner, said she was offering “an explanation, not an excuse” for the deep-rooted reasons behind the behavior of offenders. She feels she is well placed to offer such views, having seen first-hand the effect of poverty, being the child of a church minister and then as a police officer over a 31-year career, reports The Guardian.
“I think there are lots of causes of crime. This is a very personal view,” said Gallan. “If you start looking at where crime impacts, it happens in the poorest areas of society. Those that end up in the criminal justice system tend to be the people who have less money and less opportunity in our society.
“I think that is not good for society, for social cohesion, but also it is not good if people do not feel they have the stake in society. We have to look at and ask ourselves individually and collectively: Why do people feel they do not have a stake in society?”
Gallan, a key adviser to Commissioner Cressida Dick, heads the Met’s specialist crime and operations – leading the fight against gun crime, homicide, and high-harm and high-profile crimes.
Top-ranking police officials have talked privately about the damaging link between social inequality, poverty and crime; but it’s rare for someone of Gallan’s standing to comment publicly on the issue. Her remarks come as she prepares to retire as a senior frontline officer.
She suggested that society has to take a more holistic approach to tackling rising crime, insisting that “children are not born bad.”
“I think we deal with the symptoms and the outcomes, but society at large has got to think about how we solve some of the other issues about what has been causing the crime in the first place,” said Gallan.
“I don’t think children are born bad. I don’t believe that for one moment. If we don’t invest at the beginning we’ll have to invest in it in terms of criminal justice and in the prison system.”
It comes after a spate of murders in the capital this year, mainly involving teenagers. The Metropolitan police has launched its 75th murder investigation of 2018, following the death of a woman in east London.
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