North London Against Gun and Knife Crime

I hope that most north Londoners are against gun and knife crime, but relatively few turned up to express this at the march starting from Clapton Pond at noon on Sunday, but this is just the start of a campaign by Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime, and one in which I can only hope they will have some success.

Clapton Pond is a location curiously missing from modern maps – not marked on any of my several street atlases or the Ordnance Survey, but popular on the fronts of buses, and you can hardly miss the pond as you walk, ride or drive past.

It’s probably safest not to stop, as this is Hackney’s notorious “murder mile” along the Upper and Lower Clapton Road. Drug-related crime rose to levels in 2002 that led one of the senior consultant surgeons from nearby Homerton Hospital to go and study techniques used to treat stabbings and shootings in South Africa’s most dangerous township, Soweto – where statistically the crime rate was lower. In 2006 it was reported as having a murder on average every two weeks.

Chimes nightclub, a few yards from the start of the march, was forced to close following a murder outside – the last of a number of incidents there – in Jan 2006

Unlike the similar march in the London Borough of Brent, in north-west London, this does not appear to receive support from the local authority (it covers two, starting in Hackney and finishing in Haringay) or from the Metropolitan Police, although they were of course on hand for traffic control.

Marchers prepare to move off

The march was organised by CAGK, Communities Against Gun and Knife Crime, one of whose members has had one relative shot and two stabbed. Less than a hundred marchers started on the march from Clapton Pond, but by the time it had reached its destination for a rally at Tottenham Green, I’m told the numbers had more than doubled (I had left to photograph elsewhere.)

I hope they get more support for the meeting later this week, and gain support for their positive policies to cut down crime – in particular providing activities, education and real jobs that provide hope and a future away from crime for youth in the area.

The march starts.

More pictures

Peter Marshall

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