This is an additional article as I had no idea what to write when starting this series, and it held me up months. The article draws mainly on Peter Hitchens – A Brief History of Crime, and massively adds details to my thinking.
It is slightly woolly compared to the rest. It hasn’t had the benefit of half a dozen rewrites so some of the arguments may not stand up so well to scrutiny.
Policemen as civilians in uniform
Anglo-Saxon vs European view of law
In the UK we have historically had a totally different perspective to most of Europe. We believe that Common Law is for the protection of the people. In Europe it is about protection of the state. Ours sees us as free beings, theirs sees us as subjects to be controlled by the powers that be. It is one of many reasons we never really fitted well in the EU.
The Anglo-Saxon premise was that we are all responsible for upholding the law. When Peel brought in policemen it was claimed they would only be civilians in uniform with very limited extra powers. Basically paid to be a permanent set of eyes watching a locality and keeping the peace. But we should note it is the responsibility of any able-bodied man (or woman) to intervene in any situation where a policeman would nowadays if present. This is something I will take on board and will intervene where I see fit in future.
This has all been lost over 200 hundred years – mostly from the 1960s onwards. The police have been turned into a body of men with unique powers to uphold the law for our benefit and we are expected to keep out of their way. It hasn’t worked out well for us. Crime is many times worse, and many areas in our cities are ruled by gangs.
Policing is missing a beat
Even with today’s technology there is a massive benefit from having a well-known face regularly patrolling an area. CCTV is a poor substitute: It does not identify people well enough and there is always a response time issue. CCTV outside of number plate recognition is of very limited value and very expensive.
There should only be one policeman per beat each shift – two will talk to each other, not the public. Must be able to cover the whole beat in half an hour. And it should be the same policemen patrolling. 3 per day 8 hours each. 2 sets to cover holidays and office/court time. This way people will learn to know and trust their local bobbies.
They would have authority to deal with petty incidents without recourse to paperwork. Including a thick ear. We must not be afraid of some physical chastisement. Nowadays officers overdoing it would soon be reported. In most cases this would only result in a warning to ease off. A case for a controlled use of force in many areas of life will be made in the final article.
Politicising the police
Fixed penalty notices can be used as a way to circumnavigate the courts and enforce political whims by the elite through the back door. They must be banned.
This will make using the police as political pawns more difficult. Clear free speech laws, and laws allowing for unhindered ability for people to conduct business (strikers will only be able to withdraw labour) and travel will prevent most protests. Again force must be used without fear or favour to uphold this. If people wish to protest they must do so around these laws. There are public parks, and very little difficulty publishing online.
While on duty, police will also not be allowed to make any sign of being for or against any body of people, protesting, parading, or celebrating etc. etc.
Courts and convicting criminals
People are generally trying to lead good lives and should be corrected and not prosecuted over many offences. E.g. car offences. If wilful intent then prosecute. If a car is not insured then that has to be sorted before it can be driven.
CPS would be scrapped and police allowed to prosecute where they see fit. One bureaucratic bottleneck removed. Possibly individual people that know what they are doing may be able to organise a public prosecution on behalf of the crown.
Thanks to the Police & Criminal Act 1984 – a lot of court time has to be spent on proving the police are not corrupt: Police should be assumed to be people of good standing – trials shouldn’t be abandoned on the basis of an error or two. When found corrupt, the law must be severe. Hopefully then investigations wouldn’t need to be held up so long and more criminals would accept they are guilty.
Courts are there to uphold Queen’s peace not for restitution for victims. It is about truth.
Magistrates – back to how they were. Independent and drawn from the local population.
Habeas Corpus needs to be fully reinstated. This means cancelling the Euro arrest warrant. Created with the best of intentions it is in fact a serious breach of our rights and a sop to European attitudes to their own populations.
Right to silence. Again recent laws are to be repealed back to the WW2 situation.
Juries 25+ or 30+
Juries are a very lucky break on the power of elites. It needs strengthening not eroding. This means more trials not less.
It has been our best protection against thought crimes. Whatever the law says, it is those 12 men and women that decide guilt of a crime. The government can then only govern by consent. If a jury of 12 disagrees with a law they won’t convict. I believe that a move to 11-1 decisions from 10-2 should be implemented. We can look at then going back to unanimous decisions only. This will be tempered by it being easier to prosecute and hopefully convict by believing in the police.
At nearly 50, I can just about remember being a teen and how poor some of my decisions were. Not overtly criminal, but not decisions to be proud of. I’m not sure at 18 I was in a position to understand as well, all those of my age let alone people who had lived a long life. It would have been unfair for someone to rely on my understanding of the world for their freedom. Therefore I believe there is a good argument for moving the minimum age of a juror to 25 or better yet 30. I don’t believe a subset that owns property would be advantageous nowadays. The main stipulation would be no criminal record as an adult.
Prison for convicts not designed for middle-class softies
Prison reform came around after middle-class ‘political’ prisoners were sent there. The suffragettes and conscious objectors of WW1. It wasn’t as such that prison needed reforming, more that with hindsight these people should never have been imprisoned in the first place.
Punishment – then rehabilitation. The word screw for a prison warden comes from when prisoners had to break stones with a grinder. If they behaved badly a warder could turn the screw to make the task more difficult. This and other punishments would often break most prisoners.
Even murderers were not imprisoned for too many years – they were released broken men. Until we get overall crime down this regime needs reestablishing to cut the cost of keeping criminals.
Which brings us to the death penalty. There is a great expense in keeping people for a long time in prison. One way to save money is to execute anyone that is sentenced for life. We cannot be soft on this. It won’t save a lot of family murders, but gang killings should reduce massively, making life a lot safer in many of our most deprived areas.
Freedom to bear arms
After the wake of mass shootings in this and other countries, we have had the strictest laws imposed on us in the world. It has probably made our country more unsafe, not less.
One casualty of these restrictions was the loss of many gun clubs. People should be allowed to set them up again. We could even move to competent people being allowed to carry guns in public. Where the police believe a person shouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, human rights laws should not prevent the police from doing so.
Carrying a knife will also be legal. It isn’t the knife committing the crime but the user.
- Bobbies with clearly defined beats and able to sort out minor matters without recourse to paperwork.
- Police to be seen as being of good standing.
- Scrap fixed penalty notices.
- More, shorter & more timely trials.
- Scrap CPS
- Jurors to be at least 25 years old, maybe 30+
- Move to 11-1 decisions and then possibly unanimous
- Magistrates to be returned to the role of pre-1984.
- Revocation of the Euro Arrest Warrant
- Harsh punishment to be reintroduced in prisons
- Death penalty for life sentences. Back to one hang, all hang for gangs.
- Relaxation on carrying weapons, even in public.
Next up – Let’s cook the planet: Part 9: Energy Policy & The Environment
© Jerry Mandarin 2022