Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

If You Want More of Something, Subsidize It

The UK's Home Office, the department of the British state responsible for keeping track of various government statistics, reports triumphantly that burglary is down in England & Wales by 20% from the previous year, and is now half of what it was in 1995! Just look!
Our target is to reduce domestic burglary between 1999 and 2005/06 by 25%, and we are pursuing various means to achieve this.

Working together

Working together is essential to combat burglary, and we have worked in partnership with companies target burglary prevention messages at specific groups such as people moving house, students, older people and holiday makers.

Tougher sentencing

This approach has gone hand-in-hand with other initiatives such as tougher sentencing. We have introduced a minimum sentence of at least three years for people convicted of burglary on three separate occasions.

Coded for keeps

We're also working to make it harder, riskier and less profitable for thieves to use or dispose of stolen goods. This includes several elements such as tackling handlers and other outlets for stolen goods and trying to get industry to produce (and the public to buy) more secure products.

You can help by marking your property with your postcode, and by not buying property you think might be stolen - it’s not just an offence (punishable by up to 14 years in prison) but it encourages thieves and funds drug habits.

Keeping burglary down

Burglary rates are dropping, and we want this to continue. You can help by making sure you do everything possible to secure your property, as you’re much less likely to be a victim of burglary if you have security measures in place in your home.

For example, the Crime in England and Wales 2004/2005 report found that while 83% of the general public had window locks, only 36% of burglary victims did. This strongly indicates that the more secure your property, the less likely it is you will be burgled.

Meaning, of course, that it's your own damned fault for not chaining everything you own down with titanium chain. But! Things have improved!

Not for freaking long, though.

David Hardy provides the link to this Daily Mail story:
'Let burglars off with caution', police told

Burglars will be allowed to escape without punishment under new instructions sent to all police forces. Police have been told they can let them off the threat of a court appearance and instead allow them to go with a caution.

The same leniency will be shown to criminals responsible for more than 60 other different offences, ranging from arson through vandalism to sex with underage girls.

New rules sent to police chiefs by the Home Office set out how seriously various crimes should be regarded, and when offenders who admit to them should be sent home with a caution.

A caution counts as a criminal record but means the offender does not face a court appearance which would be likely to end in a fine, a community punishment or jail.
But that's not all!
Some serious offences - including burglary of a shop or office, threatening to kill, actual bodily harm, and possession of Class A drugs such as heroin or cocaine - may now be dealt with by caution if police decide that would be the best approach.

And a string of crimes including common assault, threatening behaviour, sex with an underage girl or boy, and taking a car without its owner's consent, should normally be dealt with by a caution, the circular said.

The Home Office instruction applies to offenders who have admitted their guilt but who have no criminal record.

They are also likely to be able to show mitigating factors to lessen the seriousness of their crime.
And what is the reason behind all of this?
The instruction to abandon court prosecutions in more cases - even for people who admit to having carried out serious crimes - comes in the wake of repeated attempts by ministers and senior judges to persuade the courts to send fewer criminals to jail.

The crisis of overcrowding in UK prisons has also prompted moves to let many more convicts out earlier.

It emerged last month that some violent or sex offenders, given mandatory life sentences under a "two-strike" rule, have been freed after as little as 15 months.
Wow! Fifteen month "life sentences!"

Did it not occur to anyone that, just possibly, the reason crime rates were going down was because the criminals were in jail and couldn't commit crimes against the public in there?

I suppose not.
The latest move provoked condemnation yesterday from Tories and critics of the justice system.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "Yet again the Government is covertly undermining the penal system and throwing away the trust of ordinary citizens that criminals will be punished and punished properly.

"In the last few weeks we have witnessed a serial failure of Labour to protect the citizen, with murders of innocent people by criminals variously on early release or probation, and now we're finding that ever more serious crimes are not being brought to court at all."

Criminologist Dr David Green, of the Civitas think-tank, said: "They appear to have given up making the court system work and doing anything about delays and the deviousness of defence lawyers.

"This is part of the wider problem that the Home Office has an anti-prison bias. But while they regard prison as uncivilised, they don't seem to care whether the alternatives work or not."
Of course not! Only intentions matter! Once you've built a philosophy, you can't let anything as banal as reality interfere! I'm not going to reproduce the rest of the article, but isn't this the mirror-image of NYC's "broken windows" policy? Well, it would seem that England & Wales will be a petri dish to test that theory in now. Anyone want to bet on which way Britain's crime rates are going to go? They have made the cop on the beat the judge, but told him, in effect, to not judge.

Here are some of the (as of this writing) 101 comments left in response to this April 3 (not April 1!) story:
If I park in the wrong place or go through a speed camera at five miles per hour more than I should do, then I must pay my dues to society.

Yet, if I go 'on the rob' or set fire to the occasional building, I will be let off with a caution. This is madness!

- Jakman, Bognor Regis


If the government keep giving guidelines like this to the police forces and burglary and crimes like these are no longer classed as a crime, then the government will soon reach it's lower target on crime figures and we could soon end up with a crime free country and then we can say that crime is on the decrease, who are we trying to kid.

- Larry, Little Sutton, Ellesmere Port
I think Larry's on to something here...
How long before there are no such crimes as burglary, arson, vandalism and sex with under age girls? Then the incompetents in government and the Home Office will not need to worry about meeting their own imposed targets!
The anarchy of Blair's elected dictatorship worsens by the day.

- Brian Tomkinson, Bolton, UK
Seems Brian's on the same frequency.
Why don't we just disband the police altogether as they are largely ineffective anyway.
Unless a motorist is involved with the crime of parking without a ticket.

- A.J.Langley, Kent, UK


Are the government losing their minds? My friends frail parents aged 80 and 82 were robbed in their home while they watched TV in the lounge. Their bedroom was a total mess and several items were taken including a watch that had belonged to their son who was killed in an accident.

Not content with the pain and suffering they had caused, the burglars phoned them the next day and verbally threatened them.

Give burglars a caution - they should bring back birching!

- Sally, Manchester, UK


Having been burgled recently I now come to work in dread of what I may find when I get home. If they do not want to send these scum to jail then they should be taken to the market square and flogged.

- Phil Beardsley, Nottingham, England


Typical of this government. Talk about honour among thieves. It won't be long before it will be the victim who gets locked up for putting temptation in front of weak individuals. It is time they went before we have a revolution in the streets, Paris ain't that far away!

- Nigel, Somerset
Sorry, Nigel, but as much as it pains me to say it, those of you who still have the balls to revolt are too few and far between, I think.
It really doesn't matter whether the sentence is a scolding or twenty years imprisonment. Until the police start catching criminals neither 'punishment' will act as a deterrent.

- Chris Downing, Rothwell, England


Something akin to a licence to kill really - just shows the state of British Justice when it's more of an offence to drop litter than to burgle someone's house! No wonder this place has gone to the dogs!

- Ms. Fred Moulson, Desborough
Of course it's more of an offense to drop litter! You're a law-abiding citizen who will do as you're told. If you're a criminal, they know you won't show up in court, so what's the point? But you solid citizens, you'll take your medicine!
I'm disappointed they are not giving them a safari holiday as well.

- Martyn James Fraser, Liverpool
Don't give them any ideas, Martyn. They take more than enough of your money in taxes as it is.
We might as well leave our doors and windows open for the burglars to walk in and help themselves.

Far less stressful than getting up in the morning to find that person, or persons unknown, have invaded your privacy whilst you were asleep and caused mayhem.

Of course if I was fined £80 for dropping litter, maybe I could walk into the nearest shop and ask for £80 out of the till to pay it.

The Police wouldn't do anything. Would they?

- Barbara Brown, Southport, UK
Now that might very well start happening. Except, of course, they won't be "asking."
What planet are the police living on at the moment. They're giving burglars a licence to rob knowing that they are not going to get any punishment. What deterrent is a caution?

Perhaps if they started nipping crime in the bud with big sentences or fines, it might deter people. Everything is in favour of the villain and no rights to the victim.

- Carol Broadhurst, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
What planet are you living on, Carol? The police can only do as they are instructed. It's not their decision. The "license to rob" comes from the Home Office, not the cops.

But that brings up a good point. It's time, once again, to replay Sir Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Modern Policing:
  • The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

  • The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions.

  • Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

  • The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

  • Police seek and preserve public favour not by catering to public opinion but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

  • Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient.

  • Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

  • Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

  • The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.
Here's a quiz: How many of Sir Robert's principles have been violated so far?

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