.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Soft on crime?

New Labour has become increasingly virulent of late in its accusations that other parties are soft on crime. They have introduced a whole raft of measures to try and improve the quality of people's lives. Some of the measures are illiberal, others less so. One of the tests, however, is the effectiveness of these policies, both in terms of results but also in how they protect the rights of individuals. I have to say that there does not appear to be any marked improvement in my own community. Low level anti-social behaviour continues unchecked whilst the profile and accessibility of the local police remains as poor as ever. If it wasn't for the statistics I would be tempted to think that the aggresive rhetoric of the Labour Party on this issue was designed to hide their failures.

Well, it seems that now the statistics themselves are being questioned. A report by the Crime and Society Foundation, a new criminal justice think-tank, has claimed that the official crime statistics are an unreliable measure of the true level of offences. They have pointed out that the government's measure, the British Crime Survey, which asks 37,000 householders about their experience of illegality, excludes sex offences, drug-dealing and using, murder and fraud. Yet even its estimate of 11.7 million crimes outstrips the 5.9 million recorded by the police. The Foundation argue that neither the British Crime Survey nor the Police statistics can be trusted as reliable. All this piece proves of course is that statistics can be used to prove anything you want them to.

More serious though is the claim that there is a £350 million funding black hole that is leaving local councils across the country unable to pay for the scores of new police and community support officers demanded by new anti-crime initiatives. Chief constables and the police authorities that employ the country's 140,000 police have warned ministers that councils will face the stark choice of cutting the number of police on the streets or raising council tax.
The Government's record is not as good as they would like us to believe. Surely the failure to put their money where their mouth is makes Labour as soft on crime as any party or individual who voted against measures that will not work and that would not be out of place in a police state. Perhaps the lesson here is that all this macho posturing and rhetoric is not actually achieving anything for communities and victims of crime. Is it any wonder that people do not believe or trust politicians when they talk the talk but fail to deliver on the ground.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?