Saturday 28 May 2011

Prisoner Released - Breach of Right to Family Life

This story is from the Mail but it does seem to have an element of truth in it.

Brandon Bishop a thieving, burgling piece of scum, who has a string of convictions, has just been released from prison after serving just one month of an eight month sentence for burglary. He appealed against his eight month sentence on the basis that he is a single parent and his five children cannot be looked after properly by his sister who is trying to look after seven others. It therefore breached their right to a family life under the HRA.

Interestingly it is stated that while he was in prison, the children's mother looked after them at week-ends but not during the week. I assume she works. Can she not use childcare like other normal people have to.

This decision could have huge ramifications. It will only go to encourage the chav scum that infest our estates to carry on banging out children. Every time one of these people commit an offence suddenly they will claim they are their children's sole provider and carer (they know how to work the system) and a prison sentence is no longer an option.

So to all burglars/criminals the message is start banging out a few kids now or you might have to serve some porridge. We may as well give up!

Wednesday 25 May 2011

R v Harwood

I really don't understand all the fuss that some officers are making regards the news that PC Simon Harwood (pictured) is now to be charged with the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson may have been a drunk who sold the Big Issue and lived in a hostel for down and outs. He may have fathered nine children who he hardly had anything to do with and let the taxpayer pick up the cost of his irresponsibility. His family may have had nothing to do with him and may have now come crawling out of the woodwork smelling the scent of money. He may have been drunk on the day of his death and he may have been being a bloody nuisance. PC Harwood may have had a long day. He may have had a bad day. He may have been under a lot of stress. His supervisors and colleagues may have been inept at keeping him under control.

But none of that is relevant to his innocence or guilt. Some of it may be mitigation IF he is found guilty. If a member of the public had been videoed striking a man with a baton and later pushing him violently when there did not appear to be good grounds to do so, and that man shortly after collapsed and died then I think we would be surprised and probably outraged if they were not charged. I won't need to change my behaviour following this decision and no other officer should either if they behave appropriately and their actions are justified.

The only contention with the decision of the DPP, Kier Starmer, to charge PC Harwood is that a year ago he was told he would not be. The DPP has decided that significant new medical evidence arose from the inquest to alter that decision. This is a bit thin but, on balance, I think it the right decision.

The significant questions in this case are 1. Did anything else happen to Ian Tomlinson between being pushed over and a short while later collapsing and dying? 2. Did PC Harwoods actions cause Ian Tomlinsons death?

I am happy to let the jury decide.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Don't Dress Like Sluts!

I loved this story from Canada. A police officer was giving crime prevention advice to a group of young women at a college in Toronto. The poor naive officer at one point said that he shouldn't really say it but if you want to avoid sexual assault then don't dress like a slut.

These comments have caused outrage amongst women's rape support groups and the feminist movement as a whole and 'slut' marches have been taking place all over the world. Their message is that women should be allowed to dress and express themselves however they like but this is not an invitation to men to rape or sexually harass women. The suggestion by the officer is that women are perpetrators rather than victims.

I have every sympathy with the protesters view on these comments. In an ideal world women might be able to walk down the street wearing next to nothing and no man would so much as offer a wolf whistle. Likewise in an ideal world you should be able to walk down the road waving around a grand in cash and no one should think about robbing you. The trouble is that this Utopian state does not exist yet and so it probably is best not to dress like a slut or wave large wads of cash around.

This naive officer made the mistake of of giving some practical but non PC advice. He has been discliplined for it and hopefully will learn not to offer honest advice again.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

More on Drugs

Drugs - Never Did Me Any Harm!

A long time ago now I wrote an article vehemently against drug 'legalisation' and received the wrath of the liberals and users/addicts who believe that de-criminalising drugs will in some way improve the current position. I have not changed my view and having seen the real world of drug addiction, I loathe drug dealers.

Most of you will have read the story the death of Isobel Reilly  a 15 year old girl who died of a drugs overdose. She was at a friends party. The hosts father went out leaving a bunch of 14/15 year olds to themselves. (I love this laid back attitude that you just leave young people to it and they set their own boundaries.) The daughter knew her father kept a stash of drugs in his room. She and her friends went and found them and consumed them. Cannabis, Ecstacy and Ketamine. Just the sort of thing that every liberal freethinker has stashed unlocked in their bedroom. Isobel died and three others, including the 14 year daughter of the occupant, ended up in hospital. The father Brian Dodgeon, a University Lecturer and owner of the drugs was arrested and released on bail.

You may have also read that last Tuesday Mr Dodgeon jumped off a bridge in a failed suicide bid. He is in hospital with two broken legs.

Now, I am not suggesting that the case to continue to criminalise drugs hinges on the death of this young girl. The case does however highlight that liberal parents and drugs are a dangerous combination. Drugs are bad for you, whether you smoke a bit of cannabis, do some coke or ecstasy at weekends or you are a heroin addict stealing or prostituting yourself for your next fix.

We all have a responsibility to young people to set an example and encourage others not to break the law or do things that are injurious to their health and well being. Parents using drugs, no matter what their personal views, is wholly irresponsible and wrong. It isn't fashionable in today's liberal society, but it is about time public comment and influence on behaviour was reintroduced without the outcry that we should not be judgemental of peoples choices no matter how stupid they are or how much it costs us. People like Mr Dodgeon deserve to be judged.

Prison Works!

I wrote an article on this subject some time ago. Now research has shown that recidivism rates for those sentenced to 3 or 4 years in prison is significantly less than those sentenced to one or 2 years. There may be many reasons for this. I suspect that one of them is that those given short sentences are rarely engaged in any diversionary work in prison. Another is that a year or two means 4-12 months actual porridge. 3-4 years means 12 to 24 months which is a long time to reflect.

I reiterate what I said in my previous post. I am against throwing offenders in jail and throwing away they key. There needs to be significant investment in education and workplace training in prisons. Early release should depend on effort and progress.

I wonder if this research will have any effect on Kenneth Clarke's rather liberal view of sending fewer people to prison in favour of community penalties? Probably not.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Olympic Pay Bonus!!!!

You may have heard that the rail unions have made a deal with Network Rail. Transport workers will receive a 10% pay rise over the next two years and those working shifts during the Olympics will also get a bonus of £500.

In return for this the rail unions have agreed that during the run up to, and over the period of, the Olympics they will not take industrial action.

So, should the police look forward to a similar deal over the next two years? Of course not! We have been given a two year pay freeze and significant cuts to allowances. Anything to do with the fact that the police are legally barred from taking industrial action?

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Sudden Deaths - I hate them!

I have just been to another cot death. After speaking to the grieving parents I had to go and inform the grand parents. If anyone dies unexpectedly, the police have to attend to establish whether or not the death may be suspicious. It is a part of the job I have always detested. We live in a sterile world now where most people have never seen a body. In the third world it is commonplace.

Years ago I attended two cot deaths in a week when I had a nine month old baby at home. I sat up for hours checking my baby was still breathing and tried to buy equipment that would alert me if he stopped. Anything so as not to go through what the parents of those two young children went through.

More mundane, but a regular occurence, is following an ambulance up to the hospital with a heart attack victim who had collapsed in the road. Booking in the body at the mortuary. Searching the body and recording and securing any property. Removing clothing to check for injuries or any other signs of a 'suspicious' death. Are you aware that many bodies lose control of their bodily functions after death?

I don't know what it is but even after a few hours dead bodies have a dinstinctive smell. I know when an officer has been in the mortuary. The smell stays with them until they have showered and changed.

When I joined the police I hadn't even thought about dead bodies. I have lost count of the number I have now seen. Most were ill or just old, but some have been very untimely and awful. The motorcyclist who lost it on a corner and his face hit a lamp post at about 50 MPH. The farmer who sat in his armchair and blew his head off with a shotgun. The depressed woman who jumps eight stories off the town centre car park. The 19 year old boy who hung himself in the woods. The wife and mother who dies of a stroke in bed with her lover. The woman who throws herself in front of the train.

All of these people had families and either I or another police officer have to go and tell the nearest and dearest that their loved one is dead. Not easy, but do it as quickly as decency will allow in my experience.

Sometimes I hate this job!