From Airstrip One to MegaCity One - Grin with cat attached
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From Airstrip One to MegaCity One Aug. 15th, 2006 09:13 am

Can't even find the anger to comment.

From: redcountess
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 08:20 am (Link)
Actually, once you get past the sensationalist headline and opening paragraph, I find the proposals themselves quite reasonable, as they seem to be based on isolating known and repeat offenders, and would probably do more good than ASBOs.
From: dennyd
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 08:45 am (Link)
From: redcountess
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 09:05 am (Link)
I still maintain that this is not as much a police state manouvre as other Labour law and order proposals like the ID card, as long as there are checks and balances ie. the EU Human Rights laws are not eroded. The issue of repeat offenders is a thorny one —prison is no longer a deterrent, and expensive for the government.
From: wechsler
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 08:56 am (Link)
Such powers are for the courts, not the police.
From: redcountess
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 09:10 am (Link)
But how do police then handle these repeat offenders? A stern "move along" no longer works, especially on council estates. It's one thing to tell people "don't be afraid", but what about the elderly and isolated who often feel threatened?
From: topbit
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 09:29 am (Link)
I'm with redcountess on this - though I'm not so sure about stop and search based on past convictions - strong suspicions _now_, is more reasonable - and that's pretty much already the case I think.

You are right that these need to be backed up by a court, and so if someone has a problem they should be able to immediately (within 72 hrs at max) to appeal to a magistrate to overturn it. Things like crushing cars should have to be signed off by a court.

BTW - what's the 'Airstrip One' reference?
From: topbit
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 09:47 am (Link)
From: meico
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 01:31 pm (Link)
I find the proposals themselves quite reasonable, as they seem to be based on isolating known and repeat offenders, and would probably do more good than ASBOs.

I don't. Regardless of the good intentions I find the proposals quite unreasonable. These powers are reserved for the courts for good reason. "Sus" laws lead to police abuse and corruption; there are many historical examples of this.

The real trouble here is that the police and courts seem unwilling or unable to use the powers they already have for such offenses. I am not a judge or police officer and I am sure they have their reasons for this, but I suspect the problem should be dealt with there and not by giving police more powers.

The idea of dealing with repeat offenders more harshly than first time offenders is something that is already integral to the legal system. These addition powers are both unnecessary, draconian, and open for abuse.

Powers for police officers to tackle "town centre yobs" and powers to tackle disorder by gangs who cause repeat disorder.

There are already laws against fighting, property damage, and being drunk and disorderly, etc. that can be used for immediate arrest. Repeat offense is normally taken into account during sentencing. A condition of parole can be and often is exclusion from certain areas at certain times and exclusion from association with certain persons. Breach of parole conditions is grounds for immediate re-arrest. No new laws or powers are needed.

Powers to tackle "the yob driver": those repeatedly stopped in an unregistered car with no insurance, no driving licence or MOT.

See the above. There are already laws against these specific offenses that include immediate arrest.

Tackling knife crime by enabling "reasonable suspicion" for stop and search to be based on previous convictions.

If "reasonable suspicion" for search becomes previous offenses then nearly everyone at all times will become targets for random searches. Ever got a parking ticket? Well, that proves you are not a law abiding citizen so I can search you just in case you are breaking some other law right now... Oh, you say you have never broken any laws? Please come with me into custody while I do a full background check to confirm that... Of course since you are within striking distance of me I have to do a search of you just to make sure that I am safe; you could be a knife wielding maniac after all.

The situation presented above is NOT theoretical. Please look up "Terry Stops" in US law.
From: dennyd
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 08:43 am (Link)
Powers to tackle "the yob driver": those repeatedly stopped in an unregistered car with no insurance, no driving licence or MOT, could face immediate seizure of the car which would be crushed.

"Hello, is that the police? My car has been stolen overnight."
"Ah yes sir, we caught the thief last night. We found that the car wasn't registered to him, so we had it crushed. Have a nice day."
From: d_floorlandmine
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 08:55 am (Link)
A former colleague of mine had her car crushed while she was on honeymoon for a fortnight. It was parked outside her flat, but someone on the estate said that it didn't belong to anyone who lived there and had been dumped. The estate management didn't do anything like checking DVLA registered address details, and just towed and crushed it.

Somewhat worrying!
From: purplerabbits
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 09:03 am (Link)
What is this obsession with crushing vehicles? Mini motorbikes I can kinda understand since there are far too many of them and the legal and sensible uses of such things must be minimal, but it surely can't be an eco-friendly way of taking a car away from someone. Well it might be if that car wasn't going to be replaced by a brand new one off the production line, but I somehow doubt that...
From: duncanneko
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 09:09 am (Link)
I'm just seeing the car equivalent of Cambridge police's recovered-bike-auction. Goodness knows where they'd put them all, though.

"The next lot is this charming white Ford, '97 registration, 2 careful owners and one guy who nicked it for a getaway vehicle. Do I hear £5 starting bid?"
From: kelemvor
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 10:14 am (Link)
My grandfather was a policeman about 50 years ago. Back then, if you complained to your dad that you'd had a clip around the ear from a copper, you got another one from him! The police need to be able to do something to discipline repeat offenders.
Why do they think that uninsured, unlicensed drivers are going to be deterred by a driving ban? They're already banned from driving!
It comes down to question - do we want freedom or justice?
From: wechsler
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 11:16 am (Link)
It's not an either-or question, except to the daily Mail and its ilk. Strange as they might find it, limits to Police powers are generally a Good Thing.

If, for some reason, it's deemed neccessary to exclude someone from a specific area, or take their car, then the courts can grant that power against that specific person.

Seperation of function between executive, legislative, judicial and legal enforcement agencies does not prevent "justice"; it is a basic and essential requirement of a liberal and (supposedly) democratic society.
From: kelemvor
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 11:54 am (Link)
Ouch. I appear to be turning into my (other) grandfather.

I suppose the main problem is getting the courts to do something about these people once they've been apprehended. I heard a while back that courts are run so as not to keep the judge waiting - several cases are scheduled to be heard at once so that if one or more parties to one case are not available, another take its place. Don't know if this is the case, but it seems both plausible and remarkably inefficient.
There's also the pervasive lack of respect for the authority of the courts, and that strikes me as being slightly harder to fix.

(I'm not against limiting the powers of the Police, BTW - I'd rather they had some useful and effective ones.)
From: drgndancer
Date: August 15th, 2006 - 02:29 pm (Link)
Doesn't really affect me of course, but I find it telling that even the union respresenting local rank and file police officers sees this as being over the top.

The problem with making the police "Judge, Jury, and Executioner" as it were, is that the system becomes immediately ripe for abuse. It's not to say the police are inherently abusive.. Hell many, even most police officer probably aren't but they're human and some will be less than nice people.

Judicial oversight is great in theory, but if the courts there are anything like the court here, petty crimes like this take months to wend their way through the system. By the time a given "criminal" got his or her appeal date his or her "sentence" would likely be over.