April 6th, 2006 01:17 PM
"Let burglars off with caution", British Police Told
I saw this today, and believe it instructive of how steep the "Slippery Slope" may become if left to its own momentum. It is news from the UK, and not intended to get Mr. P95's "dander" up, but I'm sure he'll have a succinct observation or two...
I just consider it a "red flag" and an example of why we need to be vigilant here in the US.
From the UK Daily Mail:
Burglars will be allowed to escape without punishment under new instructions sent to all police forces. Police have been told they can let them off the threat of a court appearance and instead allow them to go with a caution.
The same leniency will be shown to criminals responsible for more than 60 other different offences, ranging from arson through vandalism to sex with underage girls.
New rules sent to police chiefs by the Home Office set out how seriously various crimes should be regarded, and when offenders who admit to them should be sent home with a caution.
A caution counts as a criminal record but means the offender does not face a court appearance which would be likely to end in a fine, a community punishment or jail.
Is this justice? Should criminals be let off with just a caution? Tell us in readers comments below.
Some serious offences - including burglary of a shop or office, threatening to kill, actual bodily harm, and possession of Class A drugs such as heroin or cocaine - may now be dealt with by caution if police decide that would be the best approach.
And a string of crimes including common assault, threatening behaviour, sex with an underage girl or boy, and taking a car without its owner's consent, should normally be dealt with by a caution, the circular said.
The Home Office instruction applies to offenders who have admitted their guilt but who have no criminal record.
They are also likely to be able to show mitigating factors to lessen the seriousness of their crime.
The instruction to abandon court prosecutions in more cases - even for people who admit to having carried out serious crimes - comes in the wake of repeated attempts by ministers and senior judges to persuade the courts to send fewer criminals to jail.
The crisis of overcrowding in UK prisons has also prompted moves to let many more convicts out earlier.
It emerged last month that some violent or sex offenders, given mandatory life sentences under a "two-strike" rule, have been freed after as little as 15 months.
The latest move provoked condemnation yesterday from Tories and critics of the justice system.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "Yet again the Government is covertly undermining the penal system and throwing away the trust of ordinary citizens that criminals will be punished and punished properly.
"In the last few weeks we have witnessed a serial failure of Labour to protect the citizen, with murders of innocent people by criminals variously on early release or probation, and now we're finding that ever more serious crimes are not being brought to court at all."
Criminologist Dr David Green, of the Civitas think-tank, said: "They appear to have given up making the court system work and doing anything about delays and the deviousness of defence lawyers.
"This is part of the wider problem that the Home Office has an anti-prison bias. But while they regard prison as uncivilised, they don't seem to care whether the alternatives work or not."
The Home Office circular to police forces has been sent amid a Government drive to reduce the number of cases coming before the courts.
A number of crimes - notably shoplifting - are now regularly dealt with by fixed penalty notices similar to a parking fine.
A whole range of offenders who admit traffic and more minor criminal offences will in future have their cases "processed" by new Government bureaucracies rather than by the courts.
At the same time judges and magistrates have been bombarded with instructions from the senior judiciary to send fewer criminals to jail.
Burglars and muggers should be spared prison more often, courts have been told, and last week sentencing authorities ordered a further "raising of the custody threshold" to keep out of prison more offenders who would in the past have been given up to a year in jail.
The new instructions to police on how to keep criminals out of the courts altogether are given in a 'Gravity Factor Matrix'.
This breaks down offences into four categories, with the most serious rated as four and the least serious as one.
For criminals over 18, who admit offences ranked at the third level of seriousness, the instruction is: "Normally charge but a simple caution may be appropriate if first offence".
Officers dealing with those who admit level two crimes are told: "Normally simple caution for a first offence but a charge may be appropriate if (there are) previous convictions or appropriate to circumstances."
The Home Office said the guidance had been circulated nationally because there had been regional anomalies in the way offenders were dealt with and these needed to be removed.
A spokesman said: 'Cautioning in individual cases is an operational matter for the police and Crown Prosecution Service.
"'The new circular firstly provides up to date guidance on the use of cautions to encourage consistency across the country.
"Secondly, with the introduction of statutory charging, the guidance needed to clarify what the effect would be on police responsibility for cautions. Finally the guidance was introduced to outline the practical process of administering a caution."
Cautioning was used heavily in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly for juvenile offenders under 18.
Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard cracked down on cautions in 1994 because young thugs and thieves were getting repeated cautions but no punishment.
But cautioning for adult offenders is now on the rise. Dr Green said: "The Home Office is missing its target to achieve a set number of offenders brought to justice. But it seems they regard a caution as an offender brought to justice.
"This is a nod and a wink to police forces - deal with your cases by cautions and we will hit our target."
April 6th, 2006 01:31 PM
Incredible. But, the British are subjects, not citizens. As they have no right to self-defense (as I understand it), it seems they also don't have any protection from criminals by their police.
I'm glad I'm here and hope we don't end up like them.
April 6th, 2006 02:07 PM
When the police become judge and jury dictating punishment or a lack there of, justice is over!!!
April 6th, 2006 02:27 PM
Unreal! But you have to admit, it will save a lot of money. They can get rid of the Police, Judicial system, and the prisons....... and just issue warnings.
Originally Posted by Rock and Glock
Why sir, you have stabbed that poor woman to death (they don't have guns, you know, had to use a knife!), Please refrain from doing that again in the future, Thank you!
EOD - Initial success or total failure
April 6th, 2006 03:06 PM
Originally Posted by rstickle
That's right, Those poor starving BG's shouldn't have to suffer through long prison terms. But then after a year of this, the whole island will be a prison,
can you say "Escape From New York"
"fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen." [Warren v. District of Columbia,(D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981)]
If I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand
April 6th, 2006 05:02 PM
AAAACK!!! Just how infuriating would that be if it was my house? My stuff gets broken into and stolen and the guys goes home so the courts don't have to do any work? double
Originally Posted by rstickle
Forget overcrowded jails; pack 'em in there. Maybe they won't want to return.
"Bad boy, don't do that again. Now go away." Yeah, whatever.
The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD
April 6th, 2006 06:00 PM
Richard - I have no ''dander'' to get up with this as far as posting it goes. No my ''dander'' is only well and truly fired up by the absolute absurdity of the whole scheme. I ceased to have fond feelings for my homeland long ago, as various trends became apparent over the last couple of decades or more. I just feel immensely sad for the folks I left behind having to endure such crap.
I actually hardly know how to describe my feelings of near amazement that the criminal in UK now has even greater ''carte blanche'' than before and this trend has been there IMO for ages already. This just extends it and makes it more official.
Add all this to the Brit's relative impotency when it comes to defence of home and self - and I can only see a continued downward slide to a point where, somehow - there is a wake up call and folks decide enough is enough. Tho to me that point is now anyways.
I'd better not rant further - this is a very disheartening subject. Career criminals will now probably flourish ever more.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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April 6th, 2006 07:05 PM
That is downright discussting.
The courts refuse to uphold property rights and the right of personal defense. It is wrong and immoral.
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