Drug turf war could be behind Islington’s stabbing spree

Councillor Paul Convery says the knifings maybe part of a drugs turf war

Councillor Paul Convery says the knifings maybe part of a drugs turf war - Credit: Archant

Islington Council crime expert says tragic lessons of Ben Kinsella’s murder have been forgotten


A drugs turf war could be responsible for a shocking spate of youth violence, a crime expert has said

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, made the comments after a series of non-fatal stabbings involving teenagers in the borough during February.

He said young people were “jostling” for control of the lucrative drugs trade following the crackdown on mobile phone thefts, and the current generation had forgotten the lessons of Ben Kinsella’s murder in 2008.

He said: “There has been a spike in violent crime, although the number is still relatively small.

“The rarity of these events is what makes them so shocking.

“But there is still evidence of a drugs trade right across the borough.

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“It’s only small numbers of young people involved. There is some jostling going on, what you might call ‘turf wars’.

“Paradoxically, it’s partly because the police have been very effective in reducing smart phone thefts, which were generating a lot of cash.

“Now that’s a more difficult option, some of these young criminals have moved back to the drugs business.

Just last week, a teenager was stabbed in the bottom shortly before Arsenal’s Champion’s League game with Monaco.

“Some of them have been doing humiliation attacks – stabbing people in the buttocks, hoping if they get caught it won’t be an attempted murder charge,” said Cllr Convery.

“It’s as if the lessons learnt years ago, particularly in the wake of Ben Kinsella’s tragic murder, this generation have forgotten them.

“We need to remind them very clearly.”

Cllr Convery said as a parent, he empathised with people’s concerns.

“People are reacting with a mixture of anger, grief and fear,” he said.

“I share that – I have two young boys, and people with families are worried.

“But we are confident the vast majority of our young people are safe. These are not random attacks.

“To solve the problem, we need to continue with enforcement and tackle the 50 or so households and families systematically involved with crime.

“But we must also offer more services for young people.

“And parents have got to step up more. If their kids are out at eight or nine o’clock at night, ask them why. If they come home with a bike, or cash they didn’t have before, question them and keep them on the straight and narrow.”

- A summit which will see young people talk about crime and the impact it has on their lives is set to take place at Islington town Hall, Upper Street, on March 14.