Britain's Secretary of State for the Home Department Sajid Javid. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)


HOME secretary Sajid Javid said he could have turned to a life of crime as he grew up in a poor neighbourhood where his fellow pupils shoplifted.

Speaking to an audience of youth workers and senior police officers in east London on Monday (15), Javid said his life could have been very different had he not had the good influence of his parents and teachers.

“I grew up on what one tabloid dubbed Britain’s most dangerous street,” he said. “It’s not so difficult to see how, instead of being in cabinet, I could have turned out to have a life of crime myself. Pupils at my school were shoplifting and asked me if I wanted to help.

“There were drug addicts who stood near my school gates and told me if I joined in I could make some easy money. But I was lucky, I had loving and supportive parents who, despite my own circumstances, gave me the security that I needed.”

Javid defended his stop-and-search policy, and said increasing knife crimes in London has made him worry about his own children.

“I may be the home secretary, but I’m not ashamed to confess I have stayed up late at night waiting to hear the key turning in the door and only then going to bed knowing that they have come home safe and sound,” he said.

“When I watch the news and I see the faces of all those lost to knife crime … I cannot help but see the faces of my own children. I find it hard to detach the personal from the policy.”

The lack of social funding, the drug market and social media have led to an increase in knife crimes, said Javid.