The Blog

Guns On the streets: Whose Fault is it?

It's barely a dozen days since the shooting of Indian post-grad student Anuj Bidve on the streets of Salford and the accusations of blame have begun. An earlier shooting in September just yards from where Anuj was gunned down in Ordsall has, so far, gone unsolved. Assuming the two incidents are unconnected, that's two unrecovered guns still on Salford's streets.

Twenty year-old Kiaran "psycho" Stapleton has been arrested and charged with the murder of Anuj Bidve and this article is not meant to prejudice any criminal proceeding. If he is found guilty after a fair trial, he will serve a long sentence for that crime. Innocent until proven guilty.

Salford's City Councillors have blamed the "rotten few" and have proclaimed loudly and publicly that Ordsall residents are, on the whole, good people and shocked by this horrific act just yards from family homes. Many of the local residents themselves on the other hand, blame the Police for their (perceived) lack of action and more widely, the government. The government itself (notably Keith Vaz, chair of the commons select committee) agrees that gun crime across the country is a problem and Mr Vaz has even promised that his own committee will look back on what it is doing with regard to gun crime nationally.

Outside of the city, the local newspaper's online comments threads are filling with negative remarks about Salford in general and Ordsall in particular - since in the past neither area has had a particularly good reputation. Largely, those comments are unfair. Much has been done by both the city council and successive governments to regenerate the area - as a result crime has and is continuing to fall in Ordsall and Salford as a whole.

In India, certainly if successive tabloid reporting is to be believed, the perception is that Salford itself is racist (since it seems the attack was racially-motivated). That seems an overly-harsh generalisation of Salfordians.

So who is to blame?

The person who pulled the trigger? The supplier of the weapon? The gang who arms themselves? The community who refuse to give up the guilty? The civic leaders? The Police? The government?

I think it's all of the above. We could all do more to remove guns from our streets - we all have our part to play. By working together, it's possible to end this problem in Salford and the UK.