September 18, 2004

Robbed Blind

David Blunkett is at it once again. Without bothering to consult his parliamentary colleagues, he has just re-written one of the most fundamental principles of the law. It is no longer a crime to steal.

Effective next week, stealing goods of up to 200 in value from a shop will not incur criminal charges or even a caution from the police. It will not result in a criminal record.

It will only result in an 80 pound fixed penalty notice called a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND). It will be like getting an expensive parking ticket - unless you live in London, where parking tickets go for up to 100. And who says crime doesn't pay. 200 in goods - 80 fine - you do the math. Given that 70% of shoplifting is done to support drug habits, the new measures will ease the burden on treatment programmes. Courts could direct offenders into rehab, but now there will be no such external guidance.

However, on the other side of the equation, nicking a 30p bar of chocolate will also result in an 80 fine. However, it will not be enforced against the primary schoolboy of 10 years old, but rather against his parents. That's right, the minimum age for incurring the fine will be 10.

It's not only shoplifting that is being added to the list of PNDs. Criminal damage will no longer by criminal as long as it doesn't exceed 500 in value and various underage drinking offences will apparently become underage drinking disorders.

The main result for the Government will be a nice drop in the crime statistics. Crime will be falling because fewer things are against the law. Behaviour won't have changed. The lives of the law-abiding public will not be improved in quality. If anything, behaviour will continue to decline and will have more of an incentive to do so and the quality of life in this country - already plagued by a culture of thievery and thuggery - will continue to ebb.

I don't know if David Blunkett just can't see what's happening or just doesn't care.

Posted by david at September 18, 2004 06:50 PM | TrackBack

aah, manipulating the statistics...what this Government does best !
So crime will "go down" and we will all be drip-fed the party line that their policies are *obviously* working.
They must really think we are stupid..........

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 20, 2004 07:47 PM

The stupidity of the general public will be confirmed or refuted by the results at the next general election. After all, these people were re-elected in 2001.

Posted by: Dave at September 20, 2004 11:10 PM