Monday, 21 July 2008

No Surprises Here, Either…

A government edict to get tough on knife offenders is being ignored by police forces throughout the country, despite mounting public concern and a spate of killings.

Figures obtained by The Times show that in some areas as many as half of all adults caught carrying a blade receive a caution instead of being prosecuted.
So, the police are ignoring the orders given to them and carrying on with their usual approach regardless, are they? I wonder where they got that idea from…?
Gordon Brown has ordered police forces to stop giving second chances to people who carry knives. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, said in February that there would be a presumption that knife offenders aged over 18 would be prosecuted rather than receive a reprimand.

The latest figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that many police forces were not doing so.
Oh, how they must hate that FOIA… :)
The Ministry of Justice said yesterday that the Government took tackling knife crime very seriously. Ministers have recently reemphasised the presumption to prosecute, which was extended to 16-year-olds last month.
Yeah, that’ll work…
However, police forces said that they would continue to give out cautions where they believed it was warranted. They pointed out that in some areas knife crime was relatively low and that cautions were an effective means of dealing with the issue. In Cumbria, there were 29 incidents during the three-month period.

A spokesman said that each case was treated on its merits. “If we feel a caution will act as a sufficient deterrent to that individual, then we will consider that as an option,” he said.
So there! After all, what can the government do about it? Fail to backdate their payrise again….?


Anonymous said...

Cauutioning is an "Offence Brought to Justice" and helps the Police to meet a target without all the palaver of a prosecution. It's high time that action was taken by those idle MPs to prevent cautioning for any offence of violence or for possession of weapons of any description.

John M Ward said...

The only problem with "weapons of any description" is that it leaves the way open to interpreting all sorts of items one might be carrying for legitimate purposes as "weapons".

Beyond that, the artful will find ways around such a crackdown by carrying "innocuous" items that they can use as weapons.

It is sad that this not such an easy, one-dimensional issue as one might have liked.

Anonymous said...

"Beyond that, the artful will find ways around such a crackdown by carrying "innocuous" items that they can use as weapons."

Or by using the method they are already known to use for drugs - get an underage member of the gang to carry them...

John M Ward said...

Yup, that too.

This isn't the solution -- it just changes the detailed nature of the ongoing problem. A new government will need to have a far better approach, though nothing I can think of will be an instant fix.