The debate on Thursday night centred around knife crime, particularly in London. It sparked a series of horrifying responses from the audience, who discussed their own experiences with the panel. The question that started the discussion was asked by a member of the audience who said her son had been mugged locally “three times” in a year.
She wanted to know what the panel intended to do about knife crime.
In a devastatingly frank response, Mike Barton – who worked on the beat in Durham as the head of police – reassured the audience member of what role the police still have to play.
He said: “This is my fault, this is the fault of police because for 39 years, I’ve done your bidding.
“I’ve locked up a lot of drug dealers, and when I’ve locked them up, I’ve put them in the court and they’ve been put away for a long time.
“But two hours after I have locked them up, behind my back two more violent drug dealers have tried to take over the patch.
“And the most violent one has won.
“So I then go after the most violent drug dealer and this is a Darwinian spiral of violence.”
He added: “We’ve created that because we’ve done their bidding.
Another said: “We have to educate the parents we have to hold them responsible for where there kids are.”
A third responded: “How refreshing to hear a knowledgeable subject matter expert.
“Thank you M Barton.”
BBC Question Time returns next Thursday.