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* For business users only. Advance payment and fee applies. Official government fuel consumption figures in mpg (litres per 100km) for the E-Class Saloon range: urban: 20.5 (13.8) - 45.6 (6.2), extra urban: 37.7 (7.5) - 67.3 (4.2), combined: 28.8 (9.8) - 57.6 (4.9). CO2 emissions: 230 -129g/km. Model featured is a Mercedes-Benz E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Executive SE Saloon at £30,740 on-the-road including optional metallic paint at £645.00 (on-the-road price includes VAT, delivery, 12 months’ Road Fund Licence, number plates, first registration fee and fuel). *All payments subject to VAT: Finance example based on an E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Executive SE with metallic paint and manual transmission on a 36 month (6+35 profile) Operating Lease agreement, excluding maintenance, with an advance payment of £2,154.00. £180.00 acceptance fee payable in addition to and at the same time as the first rental. Based on 10,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges may apply. Rental includes first year’s Road Fund Licence only. Written quotations available on request including alternative contract lengths and mileages. Guarantees and indemnities may be required. This finance campaign is available on E 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Executive SE Saloon models ordered/credit approved between 1 October and 31 December 2011 and registered by 31 March 2012. Terms and conditions apply. Offers are subject to availability. Offers cannot be used in conjunction with any other published offer from the retailer. Credit provided subject to status by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services UK Limited, MK7 8ND. Prices correct at time of going to press (10/11). established 1828
Escape from gangland
The murder of a teenager on Boxing Day, stabbed during a brawl over a pair of trainers in Oxford Street, offers another horrifying glimpse of the culture of violence being incubated in our sink estates. Police have not yet confirmed if this was another gang killing, but it seems to fit a sickening pattern. There was Negus McClean, killed in April after he confronted a gang who tried to steal his brother’s mobile phone. Then Nicholas Pearton, stabbed to death in a shop doorway in May by a group of schoolboys. At each outrage politicians denounce criminality and the police promise crackdowns. Then things carry on as before.
It’s unclear at what point children killing children became part of British national life. But this social decay ought to be seen as the most urgent problem facing the country, more so than the need to balance the budget. Prosperity will hardly heal our society, given how much of the rot set in during what were supposedly boom years. Britain’s murder rate, per capita, was far lower a century ago, when the country was poorer and more unequal. It is a puzzle, for left and right.
Yet abroad the puzzle is being solved. In
Boston, after police crackdowns had failed to stop teenage murders, they tried a new technique: identify the gang members, haul them in, offer plenty of support if they volunteered to change their ways — and imprisonment if they did not. Teachers, surgeons who dealt with gunshot and knife wounds, former gang members and police would take turns in talking to the gangs. It was called Operation Ceasefire, a massive, costly exercise involving 61 gangs and 1,300 members. But it worked: the number of attacks halved. The method was adopted in Los Angeles and Chicago, with similar success.
It was not a politician but a police intelligence analyst, Karyn McCluskey, who brought the scheme to Glasgow four years ago. The city is now celebrating a 30 per cent drop in knife crime and a 40 per cent fall in attempted murders. Serious violence has halved in the city centre. Such an elaborate and large-scale intervention costs on average £6,650 per head, but this should be set against the £1.3 million expenditure on a murder inquiry or the £100,000 bill for incarcerating a young offender for a year.
The success rate is compelling. But
The Duke’s spirit
When the Duke of Edinburgh was released from hospital on Tuesday, the medical director of the British Heart Foundation gave him some advice. ‘It would be sensible to take it easy,’ said Professor Peter Weissberg. Such counsel is, of course, relative. The Duke is perhaps the only 90-year-old who counts chariot racing among his hobbies. He has a packed schedule for 2012, the year of his wife’s Diamond Jubilee. It is a celebration which would be almost unimaginable without him.
The widespread concern over his brief Christmas illness has underlined how cherished the Duke is. For many years, he has been portrayed as a doddering gaffe-machine by sections of the press (usually as an excuse to reprint his jokes).
In fact, his loyal and diligent service as consort helps to explain the extraordinary success of the Queen’s reign. His ability to bring levity to official occasions is simply the most publicised part of a job which he has done with dedication and panache for the spectator | 31 December 2011 | www.spectator.co.uk attempts to bring this programme to England have faltered. Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa May would like to introduce the system, and have a £10 million budget to do so — but they lack the powers. The Home Secretary cannot instruct English constabularies, many of which guard their own failing anti-violence strategies jealously. Even the Metropolitan Police cannot implement a city-wide plan, because borough commanders so often contemptuously reject the advice of Scotland Yard. when police cannot work with each other, persuading them to work with teachers and doctors is nigh-on impossible.
The extraordinary success of McCluskey’s Violence Reduction Unit is perhaps the first example of the devolved Scotland enacting a public policy that is better than England’s. Perhaps this is because inspirational figures such as Ms McCluskey are hard to find. But her success needs to be replicated in England, as it is across Scotland. David Cameron’s localism agenda has much to commend it, but a nationwide anti-gang strategy is urgently required. An effective solution to our growing gangs problem exists. All we need now is the political will to implement it.
64 years. The monarchy’s age-defying popularity, in Britain and throughout the Commonwealth, is a result of the conduct of the Queen and her family.
In our Christmas double issue, Quentin Letts proposed that, as part of the Jubilee celebrations, a minute’s standing ovation be held for the Duke in recognition of his inimitable contribution. The idea has much to commend it. Taking it easy has never been a phrase in his vocabulary, or that of his wife. We owe them a great deal.