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Its  not  just  shopping  centres  that  use  undercover  police,  a  new  scheme  ‘can  you  see  me, because  i  can  see  you’  has  been  launched  targeting  public  transport  users  specifically  on busses  and  trains  across  the  West  Midlands.  The  work  of  Safer  Travel  Partnership  has  helped to  cut  crime  on  public  transport  by  49%  in  the  last  5  years,  and  campaign  awareness  are hoping  that  this  figure  will  continue  to  shrink  once  the  scheme  has  been  launched.   The  ‘can  you  see  me  because  i  can  see  you’  campaign  isn’t  designed  to  bring  in  more undercover  officers,  its  the  idea  of  raising  awareness  of  the  officers  that  are  out,  so users  will  think  twice  before  committing  a  crime.  Safer  Travel  Police  team  have  spoken  out about  the  operation  saying  ‘deploying  officers  in  plain  clothes  is  a  great  way  of  seeing the  behaviours  of  people  we  normally  miss  in  uniform.’  He  goes  on  to  say  ‘the  tactic  is  a really  good  way  of  targeting  crime  and  anti-social  behaviour  on  the  public  transport network  and  when  we  need  to  act  or  intervene  it  always  has  a  positive  reaction  from  other passengers  on  board.  It  is  one  of  those  tactics  that  does  help  to  make  people  feel  safer.’   Its  not  just  the  undercover  police  campaign  the  STP  team  are  trying  to  draw  peoples attention  to,  there  also  promoting  the  ‘see  something  say  something’  service’  which encourages  people  to  speak  up  if  they  see  a  crime,  as  so  many  crimes  go  unaware  to  the police-  due  to  people  not  wanting  to  say  what  exactly  they’ve  seen.  They  idea  is  to  make  the spectators  aware  that  this  is  an  anonymous  service-  meaning  that  the  criminals  will  never know  who  saw  them  commit  the  crime.   I  was  able  to  interview  an  undercover  security  guard  who  is  currently  working  for  a  well regarded  supermarket  chain,  and  what  it’s  like  working  undercover  in  comparison  to  a uniformed  guard.  Name  and  location  must  remain  anonymous.


Handsworth Riots Racial tension and community discontentment escalated on the street of hands worth, Birmingham in the 80s, the areas suffered from poor housing, high unemployment and particular problems with racial tensions, here are interviews of people who experienced the riots and how they saw those few days of hell. I was fifteen at the time and lived on Carpenters Road, just off Lozells Road. I remember being home alone when things first erupted and at the time my grandmother and her husband lived next door. They came to our back door to get me into their house without having to go into the street. During that time I also worked in the Butcher’s shop on Lozells Road. I remember many things about those few days. I remember seeing a TV reporter being badly beaten by rioters outside my living room window and another man coming to our window with a machette knife yelling at us to stay inside or be killed.

I was fifteen at the time and lived on Carpenters Road, just off Lozells Road. I remember being home alone when things first erupted and at the time my grandmother and her husband lived next door. They came to our back door to get me into their house without having to go into the street. During that time I also worked in the Butcher’s shop on Lozells Road. I remember many things about those few days. I remember seeing a TV reporter being badly beaten by rioters outside my living room window and another man coming to our window with a machette knife yelling at us to stay inside or be killed. We were watching TV images and real life at the same time! We later found all kinds of items in our garden, from a cash registers to tins of food from Food City. I stayed up all night serving tea and sandwiches to the police and fireman from the butcher’s shop in Lozells Road and later received a letter from the B’ham Chief of Police thanking me for doing so. It was an experience I will never forget and the experience has followed me through life.


LINDERS B Y K A E P THE

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Why do you think Aikido is a good way to help these children? Discipline and structure of a traditional martial art are good for improving behaviour. Not just aikido but any traditional martial art really. How do you feel aikido will help these children? Study has proven starting a martial art will help improve behaviour, school grades, attendance. I have wrote a paper on the subject and I have done all the research and I truly think it would help a lot of kids. How soon might we see changes to the children’s behaviour? Changes to the Childs behaviour may be seen as early as 8-10 weeks into the course. Again, there must be the will to want to change! Would the children join the current classes or would they have their own? The children would be integrated in the normal classes at the dojo, these kids need to learn to integrate with society. Being separated off into individual classes would not help as much as being with other people. Philp Smith 6th dan Hombu Shidoin


art? Is it just expressi the work you will of message within the political, crime rela general self expressi controversy and spl and residents.

Graffiti. Art or Vandalism? We live in a society where art and culture are consistently intertwining, creating negative collisions as well as creative collaborations at the same time. Graffiti dates back as early as Ancient Egypt and Greece, but in modern times it is often considered a crime, as a form of defacement. Being the country’s second biggest city, graffiti is much more popular in Birmingham. But what is the reason for the volumes of graffiti in Birmingham? Is it

Obviously there are Birmingham that ha Undoubtedly it ma cannot seek any ap no offence is cause not to see it as art. have not lived in Bir the graffiti around t nothing but inspired! alone amazes me; city full of creative home to various gra it as street art. One For Hire’ are really c on graffiti. Custome for pieces of street bedrooms, and the 30 bedroom comm


ion? If we take time to examine ften find there is an underlying e work, whether that be social, ated, gang related, artistic or ion. But graffiti remains to create lit opinions amongst city officials

e plenty pieces of graffiti around ave not been given permission. ay be frustrating to some who ppreciation from it. But as long as ed by it, then there is no reason From my personal experience I rmingham very long, but seeing the city that I have seen, I am ! The Custard Factory, in Digbeth, it is the central art hub of the businesses. It adores arts and is affiti, but it is better to consider e business in particular, ‘Graffiti changing the market and views ers are paying them at least £145 art in places such as children’s e company are receiving about missions a week.

Birmingham City Council aims to remove offensive material within a day and will remove any graffiti from subways and recycling sites. They openly admit that they believe ‘Graffiti does nothing to enhance the look and feel of Birmingham. It is also illegal and excessive graffiti can significantly increase peoples’ fears of crime and violence.’ But are they right to assume that graffiti is a direct link to crime and violence? Surely something verbal or physical would raise more of a threat to crime and violence rather than pieces of art work. Also if graffiti is so bad why is that we are able to justify having Lucy McLauchlan, a well known street artist, paint all over the very public Birmingham Central Library? Back in 2010 she was appointed the role of decorating the previous library with her art work. As beautiful as it may be, it should still be considered graffiti, just graffiti with permission. It is evident that there are many examples of graffiti hidden and visible in the city of Birmingham; some pieces of graffiti being more controversial or inappropriate than others. However times are changing and visual communication is becoming ever more popular. Therefore the verdict is that graffiti should be appreciated as a form of art, as long as it does not create direct offence and is in a reasonable area. Any individual who chooses to express themselves in this way should not be frowned upon; instead we should be more open-minded to people’s creative differences. After all we can not penalise people for having a passion for arts. With all due respect this article is dedicated to Graffiti Artist Sam Opolli otherwise known as ‘Tame’ who sadly passed away whilst doing what he loved, spray painting earlier this year. RIP.


s a m t s i r h C s i h T Be Careful

It’s christmas time again and that means the Frankfurt christmas market is in town! The Frankfurt market also known as the german market has become a massive favourite with residents of Birmingham and brings in people from around the UK. Unfortunately with over 3 million visitors per year to the market there is bound to be crime. The German market is very crowded and the prime location for pickpocketing and thievery. Fortunately there is now a lot of security in place to try and prevent this. Plain clothes police officers backed up by highly visible police patrols and CCTV in operation around the area. Last year, While final visitor figures are yet to be confirmed, over 3 million people are thought to have visited the German market. There were only 20 crimes reported to police. Of these 3 were stall thefts and 17 were pickpocket related crimes. Some tips from the west midlands police on how to reduce your chances of being the victim to one of these crimes. Keep your bag closed and close to you. Don’t overload yourself with bags and coats. Avoid carrying your wallet in your back pocket. Don’t be flash with your cash and mobile phone, Be discreet and put them away after use. When you are out and about keep your valuable jewellery concealed and under clothing. Have a safe, crime free christmas this year.



Cryptic Magazine