April 09, 2006

British Losing Faith in Police and Courts

JusticeA follow up to the post on the UK letting criminals off without even appearing in court. Muggings go unreported in despair at police | the Daily Mail 58% of muggings are never reported to police. That would make the real figures for UK, not the 80,780 but 192,000. It would also make the official crime rate - already terrible - much worse.

The list of unreported crimes also includes 35 per cent of violent attacks by strangers, 38 per cent of burglaries and 42 per cent of thefts from vehicles.
The reason that all of these offenses have gone unreported is that the British populace doesn't believe anything will be done about them.
Victims believe police are so tied down by bureaucracy they will be unable to provide a quick response.
And even though the crime rate is bad (and probably worse than the official numbers), even though the people have lost confidence in the police, the British government refuses to recognize that self-defense would be the best way to cut down on crime. But possession of "offensive weapons" is severely punished.

Why bother to report a crime, when the criminal will not be sent to court - let alone jail - and be let off with a "caution?" Where is the justice in the United Kingdom's Criminal Justice System?

Is it any wonder there is a crime problem in the UK? [hat tip John Lott]

Posted by Zendo Deb at April 9, 2006 05:20 PM | TrackBack

What a nice solution to violent crime - just make it even more violent, and hope the criminals kill each other off.

Its a cultural problem. The ideal solution is to remove the motive, not the means, for crime. One of the reasons for the strict weapons controls is that we have had problems with pupils bringing knives into secondry schools on a regular basis - because its cool. It makes them ''Ard,' or whatever the current slang term is. How this should be corrected, I havn't the faintest idea. Perhaps education, try to get unemployment down... much as I hate to support anything that limits free speech, perhaps something should be done to limit entertainment that promotes the 'gangsta' culture popularised by rap music and some films (Thank you, America). That one is a problem, espicially as with our very high immigration rate there is a tendency for young people to cluster into gangs by ethnic group. But im sure giving everyone weapons is not the solution.

Locking up more of them would be nice. But the jails can barely handle the ones in there now - they would need expensive expansion. That is part of why so few go to court. As the article points out, jail expansion is not a popular idea.

Someone tried to build a sex-offender rehabilitation center in this county recently. Basicly a place where the soon-to-be-released go for monitoring and assessment, so its not too much of a shock to get out. The local oppionion was, "Yes, we need it - but we need it somewhere else." That is the reaction a prison recieves, whereever you build it.

The US has one vital element for prison construction that we lack. Vast areas of unoccupied land.

Besides, even if both are armed, who will win in a fight: A hesitent, surprised person who has never attacked anyone with serious intent to harm, or the mugger who jumps them from behind?

Posted by: Suricou Raven at April 9, 2006 05:56 PM

I'm sure there is some space in the north or even Scotland where a prison or 3 could be built.

But as for the "self-defense doesn't work" statement. Here are just a few...

most recent story - held a gun to a guy in a car

Pointed a gun at an off-duty security guard

In both of the above cases, the bad-guys were pointing a gun a the good guy before the good guy realized it... the good guys still won the arguments.

Here are a few more similar stories that include both robbery and home invasion.

But the point of my post really is that if you folks don't do something to stem the tide of violence washing over your country, it will only get worse.

In the late 80s and early 90s in this country, violent crime was at an all time high. We passed Get Tough on Crime Laws and backed them up with more prison cells. We also improved the ability of the average American to defend themselves legally. Consider the Map of states that allow concealed carry and how it has changed since 1987 when Florida changed its concealed carry law. (It was not the first state to have a Shall Issue Law, but it was the first change in a number of years. The URL shows how the law has changed in the various states.) Today the US violent crime rate is at 30 or 40 year lows. Getting tough on crime has made our streets safer.

It isn't about letting violent crime get more violent. It is about driving up the cost of crime. Make something cheap, and you get more of it. Make something expensive and you get less of it. Crime in the UK is cheap. There is next to no penalty for robbery and assault. And you are getting more of it every year. Besides, self-defense is human right.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at April 9, 2006 06:22 PM

I have also NEVER advocated giving everyone weapons. I just object to any state telling women that they are better off defenseless when confronted by rapists. They should be able to decide what they will do for defense - me I carry a firearm. In the past I have carried pepper spray/mace combinations and kept a military police night-stick handy.

If you want to lie down and spread your legs when a rapist taps you on the shoulder, be my guest. But don't expect everyone else in the world to share your view of what is the best strategy.

The only people who should have firearms - or any weapon - are those people who know at the bottom of their soul that when attacked, they will not hesitate to defend themselves or their family.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at April 9, 2006 06:33 PM

Your arguement there is most convincing. A few concealed weapons would certinly be a good deterent. Mug enough people and sooner or later...

Still, I notice that the US approach to gun control hasn't gone perfectly either. It looks like it has to be an either-or thing. If you allow people to have their own guns legally, even under very limited circumstances, then it becomes next to impossible to prevent people getting them illegally too.

We need more prisons, a government that doesn't try to quick-fix everything, and cultural change. More or less guns alone isn't going to work.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at April 12, 2006 05:56 PM

You guys have prevented people from having guns legally. You have NOT been able to stem the tide of illegal guns. (The last time I saw a report, you get a firearm in London for under 100 pounds.) All you did by outlawing guns is to ensure that only outlaws have guns. The balance of power has shifted away from law-abiding citizens, and into the hands of the criminal element.

The result is that criminals are not afraid of anyone. Not of the police or the courts, and certainly not afraid of the good citizens - they are helpless in the face of violence. And should they pick up a cricket bat or a carving knife and defend themselves, the crown's prosecutors will be more likely to go after the householder than the burglar.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at April 12, 2006 09:34 PM