Thursday, 31 July 2008
Magistrates and Solicitors warned in an article published today by the Telegraph that many offenders are escaping court because of Police targets (whole story here)
The consensus of opinion seems to be that Police Officers are handing out fixed penalty notices and cautions for crimes that should require proper sentencing such as ABH resulting in the victim needing medical attention and stitches.
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Ever wondered what goes on in your street?
With new sharing of information you could be appraised of every crime that occurs. A google map could soon be available to residents mapping out every offence that takes place in the area you live.
Critics are already predicting these statistics could be used by criminals to target vulnerable area and by insurance companies to put premiums up. There is a link here to the article in today's Telegraph.
Four Police Force areas are publishing similar information on line now including North Yorkshire and West Midlands. The consensus in some circles is, that unless these statistics are being used to make the Police accountable to the public, they are of little value.
Perhaps in conjunction with PACT (Police and Communities Together - where priorities are set by the public) these statistics could be invaluable, as at present - there can be an issue with the way PACT is administered, because the areas with the strongest resident participation are setting all the priorities, and sometimes this means that a homogenised view of crime or antisocial behaviour leads to the less serious aspects of nuisance being tackled rather than the grass root causes. For example if a local park have a strong committee, a priority may be set to move Youths on if they are drinking in the parks in the evening. This leads to another area without the strength of participation having the problem moved into their area.
PACT needs to be developed, so it outreaches into the general population, and there needs to be a much wider net cast to catch feedback from all groups in the communities, especially the historically harder to reach groups.
Monday, 28 July 2008
In a report commissioned by BBC London, 55% of young people polled in Brent, Croydon, Hackney, Lambeth, and Southwark. said they fear becoming victims of knife crime, the full report can be found here. So far this year 21 teenagers have died in violent circumstances in England's Capital City.
In the same poll last year fear of crime was much lower.
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
In an article today, the Telegraph have reported Gordon Brown has ordered a review into the use of Ripa (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) because local authorities have been abusing the system. It is estimated there have been 10,000 cases where Ripa has been used to snoop on low level offences such as under age smoking, dog fouling and other such issues. Here is a link to the Home Office which goes into more detail about Ripa.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Men who kill their partners will no longer be able to claim provocation, under a shake up of UK law it was reported today in the Telegraph. Around a hundred men a year kill their partners and use defences such as nagging, unfaithfulness and provocation such as failing to cook meals. It was also noted in this report that it was easier for men to use this as a defence than women who kill their partners.
Domestic violence is horrific, and not only constrained to men offending against women, it can happen in same sex relationships and women offending against men, although, unfortunately there is a stigma attached to reporting this crime so the true scope of this problem cannot be guessed, although the Home Office thinks it affects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men during their lifetime.
If any readers, male or female, are suffering from domestic violence, whether it is physical, mental or financial, please ask for help and support........ There are lots of organisations out there who will support you.
Updated here, 29/07/08
Monday, 21 July 2008
The link here will take you to an article in the Times where 4 young offenders who are currently jailed for knife offences are interviewed about their crime. They actually talk of their experience of prison as being positive and how they wish to improve their lives when released. Perhaps in the current climate of people standing together to help stamp out knife crime, something may be achieved.
Sign petitions, join campaigns, lobby Parliament - do whatever you can to take a stand against this type of crime. If you are a parent or teacher, let children know the implications of carrying a knife or other weapon. Make them aware of the sorrow families feel at losing a loved one in such a tragic manner.
Today a Government plan was unveiled to make community work mandatory for thousands in receipt of benefits. Unemployed for a year? Then work for 4 weeks in your community carrying out chores such as graffiti removal and litter picking - Unemployed for 2 years? It becomes full time. This hot on the heels of a Guardian interview today which predicts hundreds of thousands of job losses due to the current recession. (I wonder if high ranking city workers will be subject to the same penalties?)
The third sector (non-profit) are always crying out for volunteers. It is almost impossible to volunteer full time if you are in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, or seek to improve your employment prospects with full time education. Perhaps it is time for a new benefit to be offered?
With claimants opting in for a period of a year (with an option to extend at the Benefit Agencies discretion) where the claimant either opts to work or study full time, as this would improve long term back to work prospects with a better salary.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Today an emergency witness protection bill was rushed through both houses as a stopgap until the law is amended. The full story can be read here.
In some cases of antisocial behaviour as well as crime, intimidation and fear of reprisal makes it very difficult to encourage people living with ASB to officially report it to the correct authorities. It is easy to ask the public to take a stand, but more difficult to provide a service that keeps witnesses free from intimidation and threat 24 hours a day.
I have attended events where the public have been rewarded for having the courage of their convictions and have stood up to people who make their and other peoples lives a misery, but sadly, in many of those cases the recipients of the awards have had had to move for their own safety. Justice needs to be swift and punitive for offences of this type, with no social reports taken into account to ensure more lenient sentencing.
There are more tools than ever to help facilitate this, but we still need more Police and a quicker turnaround from the courts. We also need more services to offer support through this stressful time. If anyone reading this Blog needs support because of antisocial behaviour click here.
In an article published by the Telegraph, new measures are now in place. They published a short list of what is now acceptable / unacceptable to protect yourself and your property.
"WHAT YOU CAN DO
* If fearful for your own life, you can stab or shoot a burglar if they confront you
* Overpower a burglar or a mugger and use their weapon to attack them – whether it is a knife, a gun or a baseball bat.
* Shoot an armed robber in the "heat of the moment" using a shotgun stored in your home if threatened by them
* Fight, punch and beat a mugger in the street threatening you or a bystander
* Tackle a fleeing burglar to the ground and hold them in a headlock until police arrive
WHAT YOU CANNOT DO
* Attack a fleeing burglar with a cricket bat, a golf club, a knife or any other weapon
* Lay in wait for a burglar and ambush them, or shoot them from behind
* Launch any premidated or prolongued attack - such as tying up, torturing or burning a burglar or mugger.
* Shoot or attack a trespasser on private land if they are challenged and run away"
(16/07/2008 Telegraph on line)
There has been much debate over the last decade about this subject with high profile cases like Tony Martin the Norfolk farmer, who was lucky to have Michael Wolkind QC representing him at his appeal, he subsequently had his sentence reduced to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility,and was freed after serving 3 years of a 5 year sentence. Martin however, shot the burglars as they were effecting an escape, much of the above seems written to cover scenarios highlighted by the aforementioned case.
CABOT would never suggest the public should put themselves at risk in any situation, (unless it is unavoidable) but at least now the guidelines are somewhat clearer.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Today it was announced in the popular press that 60 incidents of serious knife crime are carried out every day. With Jacqui Smith due to publish her long awaited Youth Crime Action Report this week, it must be hoped that stronger measures will be taken to combat this growing trend among the young. There is already dissent among the ranks with a spokesman for the Probation Service referring to the report as a 'damp squib', this is a doubtful remark, as the quality of Mrs Smiths team, including Sue Strickland MBE is not in doubt, Sue has an amazing record in the antisocial behaviour field.
One of the plans appears to be that offenders will be taken to A&E wards to be shown victims of knife crime in an effort to address offending behaviour with shock tactics. This American idea is a step closer to hammering home the consequences of carrying a weapon. Perhaps shock tactics need to be used in a pro social way and aimed at instilling boundaries before the offending behaviour gets a chance to take hold? .......... Just a thought!
Friday, 11 July 2008
Restorative justice is the latest buzz within the criminal justice system. Could they not go one step further and bill convicted criminals the charge of the investigations against them? The money could be reinvested in prisons and would mean less of a strain on the public tax payers purse.
One way this could happen is that prisons are turned into industries and profits earned by inmates working could be used to make them self sufficient, after all what industry do we have left in the UK compared with our heyday?
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Collateral damage Away from knife crime today, which the media is full of, it seems to be about time that the remote lawmakers looked at people being more important than property or finance. Stab someone to death, you could conceivably receive 7 years - defraud people and get 15! Mmmmm, food for thought really, no wonder people have such a low value of life!
Tuesday, 1 July 2008
..... I read an article in my local newspaper about antisocial behaviour perpetrated by children of 8 and 9 years of age. Although I have total empathy with the people living with this, it needs to urgently be resolved, and they need support from relevant agencies, I was actually more disgusted by the comments left by a couple of members of the public who advocated enforced sterilization of the parents of the perpetrators. One man who tried that, I believe, was born in Austria!
I wonder, if they actually put an effort into joining an organisation to help redress the situation - instead of sitting at home spewing naziesque vitriol - the situation may improve.
More than ever today, family interventions are being used by organisations empowered to use tools, including parenting orders - because someone has smelled the coffee and realised that a holistic approach to address offending behaviour is needed, especially with youth, although when these interventions are ignored then the system should be geared to come down hard on repeat offenders.