Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More rough justice from New Labour......

Picture the scene if you will, a young ruffian up to no good is caught by PC Plod is given a right clip ‘round the ear with the caution, “Be off with you, you little scamp and get home to your mum”!

As the ruffian runs away from Plod, he turns and shouts while waving his fist, “Ere, copper, you’ll never catch me!” PC Plod shakes his head then says, while fondling his baton, “Youngsters of today, they need discipline”!

Oh those respectable days of 1950s Dixon Of Dock Green where the Morally Superior would be proud, where ruffians were ruffians and coppers were coppers. Lots of rough justice, shoving the evil blighters into the stocks, branding them, and birching them…Oh and hanging is well, just too good for them!

But what is that I see in 2006? The police are pressing for new powers to dispense “instant justice” (so stocks in the town centre then?) which includes the exclusion of “yobs” from town centres at night and bans on street gang members associating with each other. Senior members of The Filth argue that this would be a “modern version of a clip around the ear from the local Bobby”. They want, no demand, modern policing which has “bite” and meets with public approval.

Me thinks it is more of the Ye Olde Moral Panic. Playing on the fears of the public where the general perception of crime is blown out of proportion (statistically crime overall has been falling but paradoxically a high proportion of the public think it is on the increase). There is an emphasis on street crime while other forms of crime go pretty much unheard. ASBOs are skyrocketing and with these new proposals they will not diminish.

One of the proposals, which stand out, is tackling knife crime where police will be enabled to stop and search on the grounds of “reasonable suspicion”.

This sounds to me like the cops are desperate to bring back the dreaded racist Sus laws criminalizing mainly Black men. I agree with Shami Chakrabarti’s (Liberty) comments about these proposals.

Mark Rowley (Surrey’s Assistant Chief Constable) told Acpo’s Police Professional magazine:

“It is time to debate whether constables should be given substantial additional, discretionary summary powers to meet these challenges … Such powers would effectively bring existing criminal justice system powers to the street”.

More powers then to PC Plod and the continuing erosion of civil liberties. Welcome to “Tough on crime” Britain!

Oh and I wonder when these new proposals will be extended to demonstrators.....?