Kudos to Steve Bennett, a former detective with the West Midlands Force who runs a blog called Thin Blue Line over in the UK. Steve posted the following about England’s Conservative party platform regarding criminal justice across the way. Seems that though we are an ocean apart we have a lot of similar challenges. Any chance we can tie Harper, Ignatieff and Charest to a similar commitment?
I love the first statement:
“- Criminals aren’t caught because the police are stuck at desks doing paperwork.”
This is the criminological equivalent of Gretsky’s adage: “100% of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in the net “(to give it a nice hockey Canadian feel):
CONSERVATIVE PROMISE – IN A NUTSHELL
Following on from the rousing Conservative party conference in Manchester last week, here, in a nutshell, are a selection of observations, quotes and pledges from the speeches of David Cameron and Chris Grayling on the plans they have to reform the Criminal Justice System.
– Criminals aren’t caught because the police are stuck at desks doing paperwork.
– Violent offenders, sex offenders and heroin dealers get off with cautions because it’s the least hassle.
– Even if they go to prison, the Government releases them automatically after a fraction of their sentence to reoffend on the same streets as before.
– People think our criminal justice system is broken.
– Worrying too much about the criminals and not enough about the justice.
– It makes me furious. It makes you furious. And law abiding, decent, people are asking – who’s looking after me?
– That’s why need radical reform in every part of the system. The police. The CPS. The courts. Prisons. Probation. We need to sort it out, so there’s no more excuses, no more buck-passing, no more nonsense. We need a criminal justice system that is focused on fighting crime and that is exactly what we plan to deliver.
– No one thinks that the Government’s 24 hour drinking regime has led to the creation of a “continental café culture.
– We’re not talking about stopping people enjoying a few drinks in the pub. But things have gone far too far. Our town centres on a Friday and Saturday night can be battle zones for our police. Local parks and local estates are blighted by gangs of young troublemakers…. fuelled by alcohol given to them by irresponsible adults.
– I have talked to people up and down the country whose lives are being ruined by antisocial behaviour. It’s time we stood up for them.
– We’ll start with the problem of fourteen year olds hanging around with bottles of super-strength beers or ciders. It’s much too easy for them to get very drunk quickly and cheaply.
– We will increase the price of a four pack of super strength lager by £1.33. We will more than double tax on super strength cider. And our planned increase on alcopops will raise the price of a large bottle by £1.50. These tax changes will not hit responsible drinkers.
– We’ll tear up this Government’s lax licensing regime. Right now virtually anyone can get a licence to sell alcohol. We even have all night takeaways selling more drink to people as they stagger home from the pub. We will change that.
– We’ve also got to deal with those who commit the acts of antisocial behaviour and disorder as well. Right now they can offend again and again and just get away with it.
– Our criminal justice system is sending all the wrong messages. We need real punishments for young troublemakers. Not to send them home with a rap over the knuckles. That’s why we are working on a range of instant punishments for antisocial behaviour.
– Like grounding the offenders for up to a month. Or making them do community punishments, like cleaning up local parks. Real consequences for the trouble they’ve caused. But that’s for low level offences.
– For the more serious incidents, things must be different. We were all shocked by the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington. But let’s be clear. – What happened to her wasn’t antisocial behaviour. It was criminal.
– Giving someone a caution or a fixed penalty notice means box ticked, case closed, another solved crime. But we know the system is being misused. But when serious offenders, like people carrying knives, also get off with a caution, when they should be behind bars.
– I think anyone who assaults a police officer should end up in court facing time behind bars.
– It’s time for a new deal with our police. We’ll deal with the things that frustrate them. We’ll get rid of the mountains of bureaucracy that make it easier to cut corners. We’ll provide them with proper protection against violence. We’ll get rid of the target culture that makes it easier to issue a caution than to prosecute. And we’ll give them back more power to charge criminals themselves.
– But in return we want real action against the troublemakers. And we want them to be more accountable to the communities they serve. – The next Conservative Government will get rid of Britain’s caution culture. And will demand real moves to tackle antisocial behaviour. – It’s time justice was really done on our streets.
– We will tear down Labour’s big government bureaucracy, ripping up its timewasting, money-draining, responsibility-sapping nonsense.
– The police, the prosecution services, the prisons … is failing under the weight of big government targets and bureaucracy. The police aren’t on the streets because they’re busy complying with ten different inspection regimes.
– The police say the CPS isn’t charging people because they have to hit targets to reduce the number of unsuccessful trials.
And the prisons aren’t rehabilitating offenders because they’re focused on meeting thirty three different performance indicators.
This all needs to change. I’m not going to stand here and promise you a country where nothing bad ever happens. I do not underestimate how difficult it will be to deal with this problem of crime and disorder.
– We cannot rebuild social responsibility from on high. But the least we can do the least we can do is pledge to all the people who are scared, who live their lives in fear and who can’t protect themselves, that Chris Grayling, with Dominic Grieve, will reform the police, reform the courts, reform prisons.
– I see a country where you’re not so afraid to walk home alone, where you’re safe in the knowledge that right and wrong is restored to law and order.
– But if we pull together, come together, work together — we will get through this together.
And when we look back we will say not that the government made it happen … not that the minister made it happen … but the businesswoman made it happen … the police officer made it happen … the father made it happen …the teacher made it happen.
You made it happen.
Right now it seems that the Conservatives are closest to the real issues and have the desire to bring about the reforms that are essential if we are to enjoy a more peaceful society. The message we would send out to whichever party is elected at the next election is this. Show us that you have learned from the lessons, mistakes and errors of judgement of the past. Waste no time on party policital spin, we’ve had a belly full of it. Ditch the blame culture once you have cleared the decks. Show us the truth about the state of the Criminal Justice System as it stands now, then waste no time on blame, show us with your actions that you are healing the wounds inflicted on this country over recent years. Then you will have our blessing, support and confidence.
One last thing. There will be sectors of society waiting for you to trip up. Show us your guts and determination to succeed for us all. Don’t give them the ammunition to shoot you. There will be those who will accuse you too, of having your noses buried deeply in the trough. Be aware of that. Act with transparency and honesty so that we will not feel our trust is misplaced.
The Crime Analysis Team
Nice 1 Limited