Violence in Nottingham
The Bishop of Southwell's letter
31st July 2002
I attach a copy of the letter which the Bishop of
Southwell, the Moderator of the East Midlands Region of the United
Reformed Church and other city centre clergy signed at the end of last
I hope that you will find the contents helpful, and if
you are supportive of the move to engage all parts of the community in the
debate about the underlying causes of the problems currently facing
Nottingham, and what can be done about them, that you will indicate that.
Our hope is to arrange a round table discussion early in the autumn with
representatives of as many community groups and agencies as we can.
There are no simplistic answers, and many of the issues
relate to the nature of modem city culture. That cannot just change
overnight. But by engaging all parts of the community we might be able to
uncover some strategic thinking which will both support the police in
their difficult task and also recognise our common responsibility for the
environment in which we live, as well as coming with some practical ideas
that could help the immediate situation.
As Christian leaders in Nottingham we would like to express our growing
concern at the rising level of violence and violent crime that we are
witnessing in our city.
Nottingham is a city to be proud of. It is a good place to live for
people of all ages and backgrounds. Many agencies, statutory, voluntary and
commercial are working hard to continue its development, and there are
exciting and imaginative plans coming forward that will ensure that it is
one of the top cities in Europe for many years to come. We delight in that,
and offer our support to those who bear the responsibility for forwarding
and overseeing those plans.
However, there is a parallel trend that is deeply disturbing. We feel
challenged to address this serious issue of the rapid rise in violence that
has been focussed this past week on a number of unrelated incidents
involving the use of firearms. Over the past months the situation in
Nottingham has received national publicity. First we heard that police
patrols in some areas of the city were now regularly armed; then the news
broke that Nottingham had come second behind London in the number of
recorded violent crimes in 2001. During the World Cup we became aware of a
succession of disturbances in the city that tested police resources, and
created much ill feeling in the city. We know that, for many people, the
City Centre on any normal Friday or Saturday night can be a threatening
place, and that many people will not venture into the city for their
entertainment for that reason.
The spate of incidents over this past weeks, however, which include a
number of gun related incidents, must take our concern to another level.
Many cities in the United States of America are being destroyed by 'gun
law'. We cannot allow that 'randomness of brutality', as one of our MPs
described it this week, to drag our city down the same way.
As well as expressing our concern and support for the police in their
difficult task, therefore, we wish to challenge all those who are in a
position to address the current situation to exercise their influence
urgently. We include ourselves in that challenge, and we look not just to
the criminal justice system and the civic authorities, but much more widely
to parents, to schools, to the universities, to politicians, to those who
run licensed premises, to all working in the various communities of our
city, to join together to defeat this evil which leaves nothing but fear,
tragedy and destruction in its wake. The future of our city as a good place
to live relies on us getting to the root of the problem now.
List of signatories to Bishop of Southwell's letter
- The Right Revd. George Cassidy, the Bishop of Southwell
- The Revd Trevor Hatton, Priest-in-Charge, St Nicholas', Nottingham
- The Revd Eileen McLean, Area Dean, Nottingham Central Deanery
- Canon Andrew Deuchar, Rector of St Peter's Nottingham &
Priest-in-Charge, All Saints', Nottingham
- The Revd Stephen Morris, Lecturer, St Mary's Nottingham
- The Revd Peter Willis, Central Methodist Mission, Nottingham
- The Revd Malcolm Hanson, Provincial Moderator, The United Reformed
- The Very Revd Mgr Tom McGovern, Administrator, St Barnabas Cathedral &
Vicar-General, Chair of Nottingham Council of Churches
- The Revd. James Stapleton, Open Christian Fellowship
- The Revd Christian Weaver, The Pilgrim Church, Nottingham
- The Revd Clifford Wilton, St Andrew's with Castlegate United Reformed
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