Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Crime and punishment in Labour Britain

I read this in The Mail about the "Pensioner who gave teenager 'clip round the ear' with church papers found guilty of assault" and was as annoyed as I expected to be by the way that as Mrs Harding's lawyer put it:
"The message sent out to young people in our society is that you are able to commit such actions freely knowing that the moment they complain to the police it will be taken seriously and anyone trying to do anything about it will end up in the dock."

Then I found something on David Copperfield:
"In the UK, there was a belief that crime could be beaten simply by accurately categorising incidents as crimes and then by detecting those crimes. In practical terms that meant police officers spending less time on serious offences and doing such things as arresting people by post (hey ho!) so that they could close cases and get detections. Over here (Canada), there's a belief that the more time you spend proactively patrolling, then the less crime there will be; the more visible you are, the more you deter. Consequently, that's what we get measured on: how much time is spent on proactive patrol versus how much time is spent reactively dealing with incidents versus how much time is spent eating.

I can't see that there's a direct correlation (for example, a 10% increase in patrolling equals a 20% reduction in crime) sufficient to satisfy an accountant, but I can see the sense in it. So, I look at the crime maps that are emailed to my patrol car and target those areas that need it, knowing that I've got the time to do it and the powers that be want me to do it.

I always thought detections for the sake of it were mostly nonsense, and I couldn't see how staying in the police station, sending out letters to people, then arresting them without much evidence was helping anyone, but for a long time my fears were allayed with the belief that someone with more intelligence than be had the whole thing worked out. Sadly, they didn't (they had more intelligence than me, they just didn't have this particular thing worked out)."

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