Monday, January 15, 2007

We've had ASBO's, now Tony wants Super ASBO's!

According to this article in yesterday's Sunday Times, and reports I have seen on BBC News 24 the government want to introduce something called a violent offender order, or VOO.

This is aimed at violent offenders, apparently including those who have commit ed no offence. You do have to ask just how do you know someone is going to be violent if they have commit ed no offence, but there you go.

From the Sunday Times article we have this:
According to a Home Office document outlining the plan, to be published next month, the measures will ban potential trouble-makers from certain areas or mixing with certain people, alert police when they move house and possibly force them to live in a named hostel, give details of vehicles they own and impose a curfew on them.
Hmm.. Well, technically you have to give details of vehicles you own anyway, though failure to do so is unlikely to land you in jail, but the thing that worries me most is the term "potential trouble-makers".

Surely Hazel Blears is a potential trouble maker, as can be seen from this, Tom Watson certainly has been a trouble maker as he signed a letter saying Tony Blair should go, and now. Hazel Blears is a serial protester against her own governments health policy, whilst Tom Watson was key in the attempted coup against Tony Blair last year.

ASBO's have also been used and abused against protesters as can be seen from the statewatch website section on ASBO's for protesters. It is already a disgusting travesty of justice.

However the report goes on:
A report out today, by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in association with The Sunday Times, reveals that almost half of the offenders caught by police are getting away without a court punishment, robberies have risen and murders are up by a third. Street muggings remain stubbornly high.
Well, that is a problem, but surely you have to ask why? Half of the offenders? Is this guilt before any process, or is there some other problem like the police feeling a greater need to fill in paperwork or meeting other targets so they have not investigated these crimes correctly? Are the CPS working effectively with the police to bring cases to court?

Further on the article says:
The Voos are designed to be a “preventative measure”, according to the Home Office paper. “It would mean that, where an individual was known to be dangerous but had not committed a specific qualifying offence, restrictions could still be placed on their behaviour,” it says.
Known by whom? And rather more pertinently how? How can you tell someone is dangerous if they have not committed some offence? Also, breach of a VOO like an ASBO will be a criminal offence, and also like an ASBO all sorts of hearsay evidence will be taken into account, so look at some one in what they think is a dangerous way, and you could end up with a VOO.

The article goes on:
Unlike Asbos, which solely cover antisocial behaviour, Voos would be targeted at thugs who would be placed on the violent and sex offender register, a national database for intelligence on people deemed to be a serious risk to the public.

Well, actually ASBO frequently ban people from committing specific criminal acts for which the normal route could well have been taken had the Police and CPS been bothered in the first place, as well as legitimate protest such as this one.
Ministers are concerned that the Asbo regime has failed to give police and the authorities enough powers to tackle potentially violent offenders.
Again the word "potentially" scares me. The police have plenty of powers to lock up people who threaten violence, (affray) or cause alarm , harassment or distress (See the Protection from Harassment Act 1997) so why do ministers feel the need for more laws?

The paper identifies a series of “risk factors” that could lead to a person being targeted for the new order. These include a person’s formative years and upbringing, “cognitive deficiencies”, “entrenched pro-criminal or antisocial attitudes,” “a history of substance abuse or mental health issues”.

I see. Why not just lock up all the Jews, or do a DNA test for homosexuality, perhaps even find people with DNA that says they could be a criminal? Perhaps we could get teachers to inform on misfits, whilst children in the "youth movement" will of course alert the authorities to deviant activity by both parents an teachers?

I have to say this is the most bizarre thing I have heard in a long time. “cognitive deficiencies”? What? are we supposed to lock up thick people? Or just the people who can't quite see the inherent truth in the party line? Surely people with mental health issues should be cared for rather than criminalised?

The article goes on. I suggest you read it.

Needless to say Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty is against it, as I suspect would be most right thinking totalitarian dictators. This is after all a bonkers idea that further strips away what it is to be British.


ZMan! said...

Sounds to me like the UK and the USA are conspiring to make communist countries. Same BS is happening over in the USA or should I say USSA.

Benedict White said...

Thanks Zman, yes your patriot Act looks to protect a country which sounds nothng like the USA.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a case a while ago about a couple with learning difficulties who were threatened with having their children taken away? They hadn't harmed their children or anything like that, it was just because they were mentally slow. I know the MP was quite involved, but I can't remember his name, I think he was a Tory, maybe in the Essex area. Any ideas?

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, I don't know, but I would be interested to find out. It sounds absolutely horrific.

Ellee said...

We could all have a field day on potential trouble makers, there is no justice in that at all. With Tony Blair being a barrister, he should know that prosecutions only stand if they are based on evidence. It would be ludicrous, a waste of time and money.

Benedict White said...

Ellee, I am just amused at what would be defined as trouble making.

On Blair being a barrister, he seems to hate much of our legal system. He seems to despise jury systems and innocent until proved innocent.

Anonymous said...

Benedict White - I've been googling. It was in Essex. A Lib Dem county councillor called Barry Aspinell was involved. The Tory MP was Eric Pickles.,,1550558,00.html

Here are some different stories in a vaguely similar vein:-

Anonymous said...

URL correction,,1550558,00.html

I hope they are all there this time. If not, the Times articles are by Camilla Cavendish, and the Guardian article by Yvonne Roberts.

Benedict White said...

Many thanks for the links,Anonymous.

Scary. very scary.

wrong. Very very wrong.

Anonymous said...

Me again, I posted about the low IQ parents from a year or two ago - I've just seen there is a similar story in the Daily Mail today - it's an old case from 17 years ago, but just make sure that you read all the comments at the bottom of the article, some are from social workers saying this sort of thing happens all the time!

'How the State stole my daughter'

Benedict White said...

Anonymous Thanks for that link as well. Very very sad, but with a happy ending.