The ongoing problems of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in the UK have been highlighted in a number of previous posts on this blog, and indeed it will have been obvious to all and sundry in Britain that the whole system broke down a long long time ago, don’t you think?
Now there are multiple reasons for that, but it all started primarily perhaps with the liberalising ‘do-gooders’ [including the likes of the intellectual pontificators of the Howard League for Penal Reform?], who somehow have convinced our society’s lawmakers and enforcers that any harsh punishment dished-out to criminals needed to be avoided at all costs – while it is clear that the ongoing debilitating heavy penalties are indeed those paid by the innocent victims of crime, isn’t it?
You see, there are a number of elements involved in a justice system which includes having laws to clearly define what crimes are and what consequences follow for those convicted of them, provision of a force to police the community against criminals and enforce the law by investigating crimes to identify the perpetrators, employment of fair and efficient facilities to try the accused and quickly convict the guilty, ensure due and effective appropriate punishment follows, attempt to rehabilitate offenders so they abandon a life of crime, and indeed deter them and all others from committing any criminal offences
For hundreds of years here in Britain, understandably there has been debate and dispute on the relative importance of all those various fundamentals of crime handling in the UK, hasn’t there? Well, there need be no further critical focused attention on that, because every single bloody element involved is now ‘up-the-creek-without-a paddle’ as the idiom goes, which has left the UK justice system in disarray, on its knees and in total meltdown, wouldn’t you say?
That is a dreadful state of affairs, but what is even more disgusting though is that our government is STILL doing absolutely SOD-ALL about it – as the good ship Justice is being scuttled.
Now, the biggest reason for that, by a long chalk, is MONEY, or to be more precise the lack of it, because the entire system has been financially starved to near death, hasn’t it? Oh yes, and that started long before cretin George Osborne dreamt-up the age of austerity that has now destroyed the basic framework of British society. [The justice ministry as a whole is being cut by 40% over the current decade].
While it is said that the rule of law demands that justice be separated at arm’s length from politics, it is not as simple as all that, is it? No, it is the politicians who initially control what the law says [judges make case law adjustments] and significantly they also determine how effectively it is implemented by exercising financial control over and availability of operational facilities,
However, not only are UK’s criminal laws in terms of crime designation and punishments both utterly inadequate and predominately archaically antiquated so often don’t cope with current-day criminality [like fraud/ hacking/ international gangs/ etc], and when furthermore our laws are constrained by Britain’s membership of the EU [or get overruled by it or not allowed to represent the will of the British people – capital punishment/life sentences/etc?], but our Westminster so called Parliament is so diverted by energy spent on fiddling expenses, bullying, and sexual harassment, that it has no time left to enact the much needed laws [for example 5 years have past and the law change to deny parole to killers who won’t disclose the whereabouts of victims’ bodies is STILL not on the statute book, eh?]
These days, successfully meeting the UK’s current demand for law enforcement is nothing short of a joke, because there’s insufficient money to deal with major criminals let alone protect the public and patrol the streets of our towns & Cities. While the ongoing threat of national & international terrorism is an increasing haemorrhage on budgets for both security and police resources, we see that because of funding cuts our outstanding and resilient police forces can no longer do the job required of them when numbers and resources have been decimated over the past decade.
Consequently, even in a climate of rising violence & knife-crime, unbelievably some 60% of crimes are no longer fully investigated, while in the large forces [like London’s MET (the largest force) and say Manchester], thousands of termed ‘low-level’ offences [say thefts, car crime, shoplifting, criminal damage] are not being pursued at all because the police simply don’t have enough officers to do so, eh? [It is NOT as if the police have developed a ‘casual attitude’ to crime, as some would have it, is it? However, unless officers are out of their Stations investigating crimes then clear-up rates will continue to be abysmal]
All of that of course has a horrendous impact on the victims of such offences [that including burglary and car theft], as well as having a destructive debilitating impact on the worst affected communities around the UK
Victims of burglary are certainly ones who are rightly aggrieved about matters, as they feel particularly ‘violated’ and insecure in that someone has been in their home and rummaged through their most private stuff, as well as looted their treasured property – but they then get little comfort knowing that nothing is done to corral the evil burglars, do they? No, the police have basically increasingly ‘given-up’ on investigating burglary let alone catching perpetrators, so we can’t sleep easy in our own beds, can we? Consequently, people now don’t always report burglary because they know that generally only one in twenty reports actually result in someone being even charged [let alone convicted], and in some areas that falls to much less than half of that.
[THE WORSE PERFORMING POLICE AREAS ON BURGLARY (reported burglaries resulting in a ‘charge’): – South Yorkshire 1.8%/ Northamptonshire 3%/ Gwent 3.1%/ Cambridgeshire 3.4%/ Gloucestershire 3.4%/ West Yorkshire 3.4%/ Kent 3.4%/ Avon & Somerset 3.6%/ Derbyshire 3.6%/ South Yorkshire 3.6%]
Even when criminals ARE caught, they regularly don’t face their day in open Court because the oppressive pressures on the system, deter all those involved in gathering evidence and getting charges laid, so it doesn’t happen. Those accused actually charged aren’t then banged-up awaiting trial but are given unsupervised bail, often unconditional bail [even sex offenders] – is it any wonder then that they go on to commit further offences when on bail [but that is only known about IF they get caught AGAIN so the disturbing stats on that are the tip of the iceberg]
Drastic cuts have also dragged the impoverished creaking court and prison systems into crisis, whence the straightjacket constraints on and the tools employable by the prosecutors, immensely favour the criminals at every stage, who then escape justice in their droves to pursue their lives of crime
Despite the indisputable fact that 98% of burglars get off scot-free, even those convicted can laugh-out-loud at the criminal justice system because sentences these days are so bloody light that burglars just return to their disgusting trade of creating misery with a slap on the wrist simply to become serial offenders, don’t they? [Just remember, theft of property used to be punishment by death in the 18th Century (the “bloody code”), eh?].
The whole system is skewed at every level, because of the glaring fact that there are by a long chalk insufficient prisons in the UK, so no place to lock-up the criminal bastards when they are caught, or when they are awaiting trial, or when they are convicted – therefore there is an incentive not even to apprehend them, a necessity to bail them, a desire to avoid banging them up on conviction, extreme pressure to give them light sentences, and a need to parole even some of the worst criminals who have committed serious violence or sexual offences when they have only served HALF of the jail term deemed ‘required’ by the Trial judge, as well as parole for dangerous manipulative prisoners who have been jailed indefinitely because they pose a serious ongoing danger to the public – all under a failed parole service resulting from a botched semi-privatisation four years ago.
Prison punishment nowadays is anything but punishment in the UK, when prisoners are more subjected to abject boredom than unforgiving punishment, incarcerated maybe but in an ever more indulgent environment with massive perks so ultimately more a training school for crooks than a rehabilitation unit, and where it’s easier to score drugs there in a jail than on a city centre street. Is it any surprise then that criminals come out of prison better equipped than ever for continuing a life of crime? The government’s drastic swingeing cuts to prison budgets has chopped staff to such an extent that prisons have become seriously dangerous places for both staff [assaults at unprecedented levels] and prisoners alike [assaults plus prisoner suicides escalating disturbingly], so many prisons are in crisis and basically are controlled by violent criminals and gangs.
Until criminals believe that the chances are that they are going to get caught and severely punished, they will carry on offending regardless, won’t they?
The latest crass ‘reform’ idea of the village idiot Justice Secretary is to wipe clean the criminal records of those who have been over four years in jail, even if for murder, manslaughter, rape, sex offences, assault, robbery, fraud, drug-dealing, or anything bloody else – the only provision apparently being that they haven’t offended ‘recently’ [does that mean they qualify if they come out of prison after say 20 years, do you think?].
The bizarre thinking behind this proposal is that it will make it easier for them to get a job – now doesn’t the nincompoop know that the reasons criminals with un-spent records can’t get jobs is because employers wishing to make safe recruitment decisions DON’T WANT such criminals in their midst? So the grand strategy is to hoodwink employers into thinking they are giving jobs to normal law-abiding citizens?
No doubt the ‘plan’ will have to be backed-up by a massive budget to pay compensation to employers, employees, and general public, who then are severely harmed by those incognito serious criminals allowed to masquerade as lawful, trustworthy, reliable, honest workers, wouldn’t you say? [Currently, someone if asked MUST tell an employer about past crimes IF the conviction is ‘un-spent’ (with a prison sentence of more than 4 years the conviction is NEVER ‘spent’). However, it’s against the law to refuse someone a job because they’ve got a spent conviction except if a disclosure and barring service record check shows that they are unsuitable]
So the idea is no longer to actually ‘rehabilitate’ criminals in prison [i.e. train them not to BE criminals] and do so before they commit major crimes, but to ‘pretend’ they are NOT criminals to be wary of downstream, eh?
[This Country needs to restore its past reputation for law and order competence, and to do so needs a major prison build programme and adequate funding to put back 7000 prison officers lost , an immediate increase in police funding with an extra 20,000 police officers recruited just to match on previous staffing, and full refunding of the criminal justice system to allow it to resume effective operation]