Saturday, 6 March 2010

A burgeoning underclass of violent, sociopathic thugs.

"Something is rotten in the State of Denmark" - Hamlet Act 1 Scene 4.

The Daily Mail (6th March) highlights the Overslade Crew - a gang operating in Rugby.  They refer to a "burgeoning underclass of violent, sociopathic thugs".  The Times also carried an article relating to London gangs though this article offers a rather different slant since it refers to not merely the "poverty, violence and constant trouble" but also tells of the "vulnerability and humanity" that few apart from the close families of gang members ever see.

In 1997 the Labour Party manifesto spoke of being "Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime."  Since 1997 there has been a massive expansion in criminal justice legislation and yet serious crime still blights the country and many of the underlying causes of crime remain to be properly addressed.  The answer - assuming there is one - cannot lie in the enactment of masses of further legislation but a good start would be the rigorous application of the law which exists.

The estimable Bystander Blog has recently drawn to our attention reports of HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMcpsi).  Just taking one report - (which can be read on the HMcpsi website) - for Hackney we see in the report this statement -  "The unit operates in a challenging environment in which there is a high level of gun and gang-related crime.  This present associated problems of intimidation of victims and witnesses to prevent their attendance at court when trials eventually take place.  Domestic violence is also prevalent."

The HMcpsi reports are distinctly uncomfortable reading.  As the general election is practically upon us, it might be time for politicians to tell us just what will actually be done about serious crime rather than pretending that everything is under control.  At the moment the Lord Ashcroft issue has been dominating politics.  A God-send for a government which needs a huge distraction away from the really important and serious issues facing Britain in 2010.

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