TORY Home Secretary Sajid Javid has this week launched a national consultation to assess whether there is a ‘public health duty’ for teachers and NHS staff to report ‘concerns’ over young people thought to be at risk of committing violent crimes.
In fact, Javid made it clear from the start that the Tories have already decided that teachers and NHS staff are not only going to be held legally responsible for reporting concerns, but are actually responsible for what Javid called ‘a disease rotting our society’.
Any young person attending an A&E department with an injury should immediately have their details notified to the police by hospital staff. This would inevitably lead injured people not going to A&E – and risking serious medical consequences as a result.
RCN Acting Chief Executive Dame Donna Kinnair noted: ‘It’s unclear how putting a further obligation on our members, already working incredibly hard to do all they can for patients, will prevent violent crime.’
She added: ‘It’s important that barriers aren’t placed in front of people seeking healthcare, especially in life-threatening circumstances. The first duty of healthcare workers is to treat and care for patients, and it’s important people aren’t deterred from seeking help for fear of being reported.’
Teachers are being scapegoated by Javid who pointed the finger at them for excluding children from schools.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: ‘It is concerning that a narrative appears to be developing whereby schools excluding pupils are potentially being scapegoated as being part of the problem, with exclusion being cited as a reason for pupils becoming involved in knife crime and gangs.’
Keates however made it clear that the real responsibility lies with the Tory government and its austerity cuts, saying: ‘There have been savage cuts by government to local authority funding which has resulted in either the severe reduction or the disappearance altogether of specialist external support, including appropriate referral units, on which schools have been able in the past to rely.
‘In addition, in many areas the pressure on schools to take pupils with serious behaviour issues, who should be in specialist provision, has increased.’
Schools operating under the tyranny of league tables and Ofsted reports have come under intolerable pressure to exclude pupils deemed disruptive – or risk being placed in ‘special measures’ at a time when specialist provision for these kids has been cut off.
Youth services are in the front line of the Tory slash-and-burn attacks on council budgets that started in 2010. Education Maintenance Allowance for 16-19 year olds from low income families to enable them to stay in education was ended, while families lost child tax credits, child benefit and housing benefit thus driving up poverty.
Spending on services for children and young people have been cut by £1 billion by the Tories at a time when cuts in benefits and increased poverty are causing a surge in the demand for support services like youth clubs.
Working class youth are confronted every day with poverty. All around them they see blocks of council flats demolished and replaced with luxury apartments complete with gates preventing the wealthy from having to mix with the children of the poor.
While 4.4 million children are condemned by this capitalist system to a life of poverty, youth see the bosses and bankers living in luxury, kept in their million pound bonuses and wages by government bail-outs paid for by the very austerity cuts that consign workers and their children to abject poverty.
This attempt by the Tories to criminalise young people, and place the blame for crime on teachers and NHS workers, is an expression of the fear of the ruling class that the crisis of capitalism has produced a revolutionary generation that understands it has no future under this system.
Capitalism, and the austerity it demands to keep the bankers and bosses in profit, is the source of all crime not young people. The only future for youth and workers is to overthrow capitalism through socialist revolution.
Every young person should join the WRP and Young Socialists and join the struggle to build the revolutionary leadership necessary to take the socialist revolution to victory.