Friday, 12 August 2011

Why 6 months in gaol is wrong for the Lidl water thief.

I’m all for zero tolerance.

I’ve run summer camps for kids in the past. While working as a centre manager in London in 2005 we had the July 7th bombings. I was simultaneously working as a Special Constable for City of London Police and was on duty that day in the aftermath of chaos that brought the public transport system to a halt and had thousands of people scared out of their minds.

Strict to begin with, I then became every bad kid´s worst nightmare and anyone going off site without permission spent at least 2 hours picking up litter with a claw grabber, pair of surgical gloves and a bin bag…whether raining or sunny.

One smug Polish lad got caught with marijuana. Cocky and affronted that I’d searched his room without his permission he couldn’t have cared less about what he’d done and only started to cry at the point when I called him back to my office to say that in 2 hours he would be leaving.

The company eventually started sending me horrible kids from other centres on “thin ice” agreements. One further misdemeanor or twatty behaviour and you’re out.

However zero tolerance only works if you’re consistent with it. As Rudolph Giuliani so beautifully illustrated in New York.

Now we have the case of a student in Brixton with no prior criminal record being handed a custodial sentence for “looting” a bottle of water from Lidl in Brixton.

Clearly deciding to “go tough” on those involved in this week’s cretinous display of gleeful petulance, the district judge banged the lad up for half a year, despite his previously good character, early guilty plea and stated remorse for his actions. The background of “serious public disorder” was an aggravating feature.

Now normally I’d be over the moon with this type of sentence but only if it was due to Parliament having passed a new law called the Make Rioters Shit Blood and Cry For Their Mummys Act (2011) that made any and all illegal acts committed for the purpose of rioting or looting due to said riot, punishable by a minimum sentence of 6 months with no maximum term and an unlimited fine.

As it is we simply have the judiciary doing the polar opposite of what they have been doing under 13 years of Labour’s meddling and a year or so of the ConDem alliance.

In the UK, in the last year, NO ONE convicted of knife crime served the fully available sentence and not a single convicted burglar received the maximum sentence.

11 years ago I vividly recall a local paedophile being given a 12 month supervision order for touching up a 6 year old girl in the park as the judge felt he would not “benefit” from a spell in prison and needed help for his “problem”. His stated remorse and admittance that he knew his repulsive urges were wrong were factors that led Her Honour to shy away from a custodial sentence.

We live in a country where criminals are pampered, youth are given a sense of entitlement to whatever they want and social workers who criticise teenagers for deliberately pulling the heads of birds are called “judgmental”.

Only now, when it’s too late are judges and magistrates taking a hard line with rioters and looters, in a belated attempt to send the message that violent rampages against an unarmed and ill equipped police force will NOT be tolerated.

Nicolas Robinson has been used to set an example to others that, once the extra 8000 Bobbies from 30 forces around the UK have packed up their riot gear and gone back to whence they came and London is once again patrolled by half that number of cops…then you had better not be involved in public disorder or you WILL suffer for it.

I have no sympathy for Robinson. I merely know in my bones that this sentence will not be consistently handed out across the board and worse, that once all this is finally over and the dust has settled, the judiciary will once again attempt to “understand” the law breaking, immoral scum bags in front of them that rob, fight, drink themselves into oblivion, steal and once in court lie and say how sorry they are. When I worked as a cop I knew a burglar with 23 previous who had spent only one term in prison. A sentence of 9 months.

It has now been decided by both CPS and the Judiciary that police officers cannot arrest for people swearing at them as this is something officers should be able to tolerate and charges will not be laid against anyone gobbing off to cops. Cue squirm inducing images of self important scrotes ranting at constables who simply have to stand there and take it.

Things need to change. Going all Judge Dredd on Robinson will not help matters. On a scale of 1 to 10 of guilt for those involved in the last week he is at the most a ¼. While he definitely deserved to be punished, 6 months for THAT is ludicrous and makes a laughing stock of the English legal system.

Had this type of sentencing been in place to begin with (along with a cupboard full of baton guns and a every UK police force having a water cannon) then NONE of this would have happened.


  1. Interesting, Lance, re the obscene language directed at cops. Bow Street Magistrate (Stipe) never threw out any of our cases and neither did the county beaks after I transferred. In central London there were always passing Nuns and blue rinse middle Englanders expressing disgust at the language, as well as us shocked and disgusted plods. Wonder where they've all gone?

  2. Hussah, totally agree, a lack of consistency is not natural justice - unless linked directly to local problems


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