TikTok criminals off our streets

The problem is the crime, not it being seen online

Artillery Row

Everyone’s got something to say about Mizzy — a lout so stupid that he can’t help but start filming every time he commits an assault, trespasses into someone’s house, or grabs someone’s pet and runs away. 

Young Londoners, who are sick of seeing their city kowtow to trust-destroying menaces, have demanded the castle doctrine in Britain. Communist commentator Ash Sarkar has implied that the reaction to his content is an example of a “moral panic”, whilst the Independent has chimed in on the subject of the serial harasser by suggesting that his actions have sparked “a conversation about white privilege”. I assume it is referring to the hard-won privilege to be assaulted or have your house invaded by a bunch of lunatic teenagers (the paper has now retracted this claim).

Amidst this ocean of takes, the prize for the dumbest must surely land with Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones, whose reaction to Mizzy’s madness is to suggest that the only real problem is that it’s being broadcast online. Davies-Jones said his content was “distributing [sic] and upsetting”, describing it as “another example of how we desperately need the Online Safety Bill to hold the social media platforms to account”.

Mizzy is unlikely to be held responsible by our emaciated police forces

Unsurprisingly, she came in for a lot of criticism. It is so silly to suggest that the real problem here is not that a street-harassing lunatic has been free to continue ruining everyone’s day across the capital, but rather that it can be uploaded to TikTok, that this take could only be delivered by a parliamentarian. 

To her minor credit, Davies-Jones, a shadow minister who will likely wield great powers in Internet regulation by Christmas next year, followed up her nonsense tweet by urging the Met to “take action”. Yet then she again reaffirmed that social media platforms need to be “held responsible” for the footage. 

Mizzy has not held responsible because our emaciated police forces are stuffed with what Peter Hitchens calls “paramilitary social workers”, who conduct the policing equivalent of making sure law-abiding citizens stand behind the proverbial yellow line, rather than the legions of crime-hunting coppers we desperately need on the streets. If politicians spent more time trying to hold the police to account for this failure, rather than posturing on “institutional racism” or other inventions, then perhaps MPs would have fewer upsetting videos to complain about. 

The flagrant actions of Mizzy, real name Bacari Ogarro, have united my Twitter timeline in a state of constant ire like few things in recent years. It’s the careless, cowardly nature of his criminality — which takes advantage of the last remaining impulses of trust felt by Londoners who accept phone and bike theft as routine — mixed in with the wholly inadequate response by the police force that is sworn to swoop in on hateful little menaces like him. Even his face has sent me and thousands of others loopy, with his arrogant smirk and grin that accompanies every incident of him ruining someone’s day, likely affecting how they act in public for much longer. When Mizzy grabs someone’s dog, strolls into their house or harrasses a woman on the tube, he expands the growing population of Londoners who anxiously grab their pockets or look over their shoulders for fear that their property or life might suddenly be at risk.

Far from virulently racist, the Met appears pathetically hamstrung

The Metropolitan Police, which was dubiously decried as “institutionally racist” by Dame Louise Casey’s review earlier this year, has seemingly done everything it can to avoid arresting this young black man who regularly broadcasts himself committing crimes. It is impossible to reconcile these two situations. 

Far from being a virulent racist force, the Met appears pathetically hamstrung in its response to this rage-inducing ruffian, whose would-be rap sheet covers endless pages of open hostility and public order disturbances. He has been helpfully assisted in keeping a record of all of his offences by parliamentary worker Salman Anwar, with lowlights including stealing people’s dogs, asking young women travelling alone in London if they “want to die, and assaulting and harassing Jews in North London. 

For our luminaries in Westminster like Davies-Jones, this society-destroying behaviour is little more than an opportunity for them to harp on about social media regulation — as if that is even close to the real problem on display. The problem here is that Mizzy is free to harass people with impunity, not that his harassment is then posted online.

This twisting of a terrifying situation — and much of what Mizzy has done is truly terrifying, such as asking random blokes if they “want to die” whilst wearing balaclavas — has an echo of the murder of Sir David Amess, when politicians reacted to the Islamist killing by calling for more social media regulation. If you’re hunting for a reason to understand why politicians are the only trade less trusted than journalists, it is these self-serving instances of spin designed to advance their niche and often highly authoritarian policy preferences over the wellbeing of ordinary and law-abiding people.

The problem with Mizzy is not that he has unlimited data and access to social media; it’s that he’s not in jail. Politicians should assess why they have curated a situation where he remains free rather than spinning his crimes to suit their interventionist agendas. The solution is simple: hands off TikTok; cuffs on the criminals.

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