Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Dangerous Britain

From the Daily Express, news of a new survey of British attitudes towards crime:
The shocking “fear survey” reveals that 74 per cent of people feel Britain is more dangerous than it was in 2002, despite Gov­ernment claims that the chances of being a crime victim are at their lowest for 25 years.

The poll found 35 per cent blame the Government for not taking a tougher stance on cri­m­inals, while 10 per cent blame the Government and parents for letting youths run wild.

Sixty-one per cent say they feel frightened if they are home alone at night, with 14 per cent admitting they are so scared they keep a weapon near the bed for protection.

One in five Britons feel so vulnerable at home that they keep their windows shut at all times – even in hot weather.

Meanwhile, 12 per cent of people said they have considered moving home because they feel unsafe where they live. Almost half say they have either been been burgled in the past year, or know someone who has.

Nearly half of the 2,000 people quizzed in the survey – commissioned by Good House­keeping magazine – claim they have felt threatened in the street. And, while 16 per cent have been verbally abused by a stranger, three per cent admit to being physically attacked in the past five years. Parents are so terrified for their children’s safety when they are out that 60 per cent say they are unable to relax until they get home.

[...]

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: “This is a sad reflection on life under this Govern­ment. Labour have tied our police up in endless red tape so they are not out detecting and deterring crime.

“If an offender is actually caught they are more likely to be punished with a glorified parking ticket, which they are unlikely to pay anyway, than face proper justice.

“This is because our prisons are full to bursting and Labour’s only solution is to use all and any method to keep offenders out of jail – no matter what the risk to the public.”
This sounds like common sense. If only it were not coming from the party of 'hug a hoodie', I might almost think Davis meant it.
But Police Minister Tony McNulty insisted: “Public protection is our top priority. Crime and violent crime have fallen by over a third in the last nine years. The risk of being a victim is historically low.”
This would, I presume, be the same Tony McNulty who advised citizens who saw a crime being committed to "jump up and down" in order to "distract" the criminal.

Crime is yet another issue on which the public are routinely ignored by our political masters. Whoever is in power keeps asserting that crime is going down, those in opposition admit it isn't but assert that it would go down miraculously the moment they came into power, and the public know that they're all lying through their teeth. But there is little the public can do about that.

Indeed, if anyone does take direct personal action over crime (other than the state-sanctioned method of jumping up and down), the likelihood is that they'll end up in prison. Perhaps if the police spent a bit more time dealing with people like the
loathsome Connor family, and a bit less time harassing the likes of Linda Walker, the public might feel more secure. But there's little chance of that happening in the near future.

Postscript: Two more stories today illustrate the failures of the politicians, police, and courts to protect the public. First, the story of farmer John Graham, who was almost killed by a gang of young thugs when he tried to stop them vandalising parked cars. Of the four 'people' convicted, only one got a sentence longer than a year. Second, the news that police officer Johno Hills has resigned after being disciplined for writing to a local newspaper with his frustrations over the amount of red tape in which the police are tied up. If the police and government (Tony "jump up and down" McNulty making another triumphant appearance as police minister) were serious about tackling crime, one might think that they would respond to Mr Hills' concerns, rather than trying to silence him.

1 comment:

Bernard said...

FR:
My guess is that the 'fear survey' more or less reflects the increasing Urbanisation of the population. ie. there is a national trend, brought about by declining rural economies, towards living in towns and cities where crime is common.
I would bet the survey was centred on these places.