Thursday, May 08, 2008

Police should harass young thugs says Home Secretary

I have to say I despair when I read of things like this in the Guardian and this on the BBC.

Jacqui Smith, the alleged Home Secretary has made a speech to an audience who work in the field of anti social behaviour.

It seems she wants the police to harass young thugs. This seems reminiscent of David Blunkett's threat to turn up outside a fireman's house who had been accused of football hooliganism in Portugal.

Harassment is a crime, made so by the Protection from Harassment act 1997. Presumably therefore this is not quite what she means though according to the BBC article persistent offenders will be targeted. Fair enough, if you think that person A keeps on breaking the law, watch him till he does and then arrest him. Keep doing so till learns.

The plan however seems to include for all sorts of other things as well. If there is someone in a household who is "persistently anti social" then they will check to see if you have paid your council tax, road tax have a car insured and even check if you have a TV licence. I do not which to defend people who break the law, but at least now we know what all those databases are for.

If you do not cooperate with the state, then they will dig and keep digging until they have something. Scary stuff. However you may feel that is fair enough as we are not talking about Mother Teresa here. It is not fair enough. If you happen to be the brother of a criminal it is not right that the police should single you out for special treatment. You have a right to be treated equally before the law.

Of course all this rampant populism fails to deal with the key issues which are that the police have far too much paperwork to do, even more if they arrest a youth and therefore not enough time to put feet on the ground to persistently arrest persistent offenders. Instead we now see the scary side of the database state, where if the state does not like you for one reason it will find many other ways of picking on you.

1 comment:

Wolfie said...

It sounds like yet another ill conceived sound-bite idea from a clueless politician. It also carefully neglects the crux of the problem, that the courts hand down very minor judgements to career criminals and thugs. Leaving the police just repeating the process indefinitely.