Hash Tag #GetTheArmy

Breaking News – PM Cancels Tennis Lesson

Amidst all the nonsense being spouted about the Police losing control of the streets a Twitter Hash Tag has emerged that is calling for the Army to get involved and, well, that’s where thing’s get a bit fuzzy.

Do what exactly, this isn’t the 1830’s, as much as it would be interesting to see the effect of Apache and CR2 on the hoodies I think it might rather be disproportionate :)

There is always of course the slight problem of numbers and commitments.

The Army is about to fall to 85,000, most are either in Germany or climes sunnier, there are more than 140,000 police officers in England and Wales alone and thats not counting Northern Ireland, Scotland or any of the numerous other quasi police organisations we now seem to have.

Many will have had their redundancy notices or be trying to work out how they can do more with less or what exactly the SDSR means by ‘no strategic shrinkage’

Rules of engagement you say, if soldiers can get hounded through the legal system for cracking a few heads in Basra, you know, an actual proper war zone, do these people seriously think anyone in uniform is going to want to be involved on the streets of London.

I can just imagine Human Rights barristers up and down the land are ordering their new Bentley’s as we speak, those common soldiery roughing up law abiding out of hours shoppers going about their normal looting business!

If the armed forces are called upon to support the civil power as described in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and Joint Doctrine Publication 02 (2nd Edition), click here if you want to read it. I also wrote about this a while ago. Perhaps we might ask those on post operational tour leave to pop into work or those waiting to see if the brown envelope is on it’s way to man a barricade.

So please, lets have no more calls for Tommy to start shooting hoodies or providing logistics support for emergency services because the cupboards are bare.

No doubt it will happen though, at least in some minor role, just so the PM can be seen to be on top of things

Always a good time for a spot of Kipling;

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! ”
But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!


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August 9, 2011 11:55 am

It won’t happen. There are too many constitutional issues in using the Army on the streets of the mainland. I would bet the farm it does not happen. And lo and behold on the news the HSec is already playing down the calls for it to be used. The Met, need to get a grip. And get a grip fast.

August 9, 2011 12:30 pm

Water cannons yes, army NO.

Some people seem to have this lovely idea that as soon as there is some violence call up army HQ and then suddenly lorries full of soldiers arrive, armoured vehicles driving down the street, everyone runs inside and the disorder suddenly stops!
The army aren’t trained like the police to deal with riots and civil unrest, they are equipped with real bullets not riot gear. Let the police handle this but why have we not seen any tear gas or water cannons?


August 9, 2011 12:31 pm

Not just because theres not much left…The idea of using troops untrained in crowd control and riot work, young lads with a rifle or baton whom can assault a target very well, wont know monkeys’ about riot control… its stupid…apart from constitutional reasons, it’d need to really hit the fan for the military to be called in.
Unlike most of europe, we dont have a paramilitary police unit specialising in riot/crowd work…all those police you saw on the streets these past few nights are ordinary bobbies given training….riot work is a second task to ordinary policing.

We rant about cuts to the military, last night was a clear show of cuts to the police, amongst other things too.

August 9, 2011 12:34 pm

Army policing the streets – no
Army running prison camps – wait and see
Jail numbers are running out fast. As these looters see it as a zero consequence game, if we have to start bailing them back into the community later this week, then next weekend is going to be hell.

Armoured police Jankel Guardians were finally deployed and used to great effect by charging down the street (popular tactic with the PSNI). I hope the Met has enough; if not then get some of those Snatch vehicles out of stores where they’re sat awaiting disposal. Admittingly not the best tool for the job but robust enough to shake off rocks during a charge and way better for blocking roads/shielding police, than with (soon to be burnt out) astra panda cars. With the economy still down and the assorted crazies the Olympics will bring out next year, we should also think again about cheaply flogging off Tangi land rovers overseas.

Rob P
Rob P
August 9, 2011 12:45 pm

There will be 16,000 police officers on the streets of London tonight, to control a small violent (mostly unarmed) element of a city population broadly supportive to law and order.

Contrast with 9,500 troops trying to bring order to an entire province, against armed and experienced militants.

It puts into perpective what our forces are being asked to do out there, and why it isn’t working. The only people entitled to cry #GetTheArmy are the Army!

Maybe people can now start to visualize just how small our forces are becoming.

August 9, 2011 1:12 pm


Tells you all you need to know. As I suspected from this morning, the “stand and gawk” approach is policy from Gold. A fundamental failure of the Met Police management (I won’t call them leaders because they are not).

August 9, 2011 1:42 pm

It’s absurd, but the thought of even deploying armed police is actually quite good fun :-)

Seriously, you want to complain about stop and search, well fancy living in Syria ?

How is a Molotov Cocktail different from a bomb or a gun ? Setting a building alight is obviously endangering life, so anyone seen with a lit molotov should be given the standard police challenge, and then shot ! OK. OK, never gonna happen, so how about shot with a bean bag round ? Shot with a Taser ???

How long until some grizzly old Tory back bencher suggests improving the defence budget and taking all the young unemployed riff raff off the streets by putting them into the Army…… hang on a minute, might onto to something there…. NOT ! ROFL…:-)

August 9, 2011 2:57 pm

Law and order is not the preserve of the army nor should it ever be. Police need to get a grip issue them with plastic baton round and water cannon or maybe that’s only appropriate crowd control for uk citizens outside of dear old england

August 9, 2011 3:59 pm

Such disorder will run out of steam in days or few weeks anyway, no matter what the state does.

The police should keep its moderate reaction, for a more brutal and decisive reaction might be escalating. The shit did hit the fan in part because of police brutality, after all.

A use of an army at home is generally a poor idea, unless it’s an unarmed anti-disaster mission.

Some city and police officials should resign and be replaced with known people of good reputation.
The investigation of the one fatality that incited the powder keg should become quasi-public, with participation of respected community representatives (think: social workers, clerics) in order to counter fear concerning a cover-up.

Longer-term measures should not be publicly linked to the riots in order to avoid that riots be confirmed as a tool for extra-parliamentary political action.
Political promises for community development etc in Paris were broken anyway, and something like this would be expected in London as well.

Last but not least; the topic should imo be kept out of defence policy discussions and their usual platforms.

Phil Darley
August 9, 2011 4:28 pm

I have become totally indifferent to our current police force. They seem unwilling or unable to engage in what most people think a police officer us supposed ti do!

We see this stand and stare action all to often! It seems all their good for is pointing speed guns at basically law abiding citizens!

Catching real criminals is too much trouble for them!

When people like me lose trust in the police what must young blacks think?

The recent corruption allegations with the phone hacking scandal gas only added to the general publics disappointment and dare i say it loathing

In my view they are a waste of space!!!

August 9, 2011 4:36 pm
paul g
August 9, 2011 5:39 pm

The shit did hit the fan in part because of police brutality, after all.

nonsense they were tailing a known drug dealer who was carrying a pistol, you what to play with big boys toys then it’s big boys rules, and i bet 70% of the people out neither knew the guy or the reason for the protest.

Callum Lane
Callum Lane
August 9, 2011 5:51 pm

There are no constitutional issues that I am aware of preventing the use of the army in support of the civil powers on the UK mainland.

Based on the Public Order training that we went through in Northern Ireland, it takes 5 days to train up for public order, up 8 days from a standing start.

Based on my experience in Northern Ireland (I was there in the halcyon days of 1995-98, we did lots of public order!) in a public order situation the army are very good (compared to the police) at:

Rapid response in a fluid situation – we were consistently ahead of our partnered police serials; less a matter of comms and more of a more effective C2 system. Physically with all the gear we tended to move faster then many of our partnered police serials as well.
Crowd dispersal – short, sharp and aggressive shock action.
Greater endurance – both mentally and physically. We could take a greater pounding on the baseline, stag on for longer.

We were not so good at community relations and picking up the pieces afterwards. The police were very aware that they lived around and had to police this community for the forseeable future; we did not.

Would the army want to deploy? Almost certainly not. It is stretched as it is, but more importantly the use of the armed forces would accelerate the creeping politicisation (small ‘p’) of the armed forces.

In my opinion the problem the disorder has highlighted is a problem of the UK policing model and the UK Public Order (PO) model.

The UK policing model is based on minimum use of force and policing by consent. It is now up against people who have not given their consent to be policed and do not believe in minimum use of force – indeed they are actively using violence to their own ends.

UK PO policing is based on minimum use of force, containing the situation and gathering evidence for use afterwards. This generally works well with protest type disorder which is normally geographically contained and/or focused on specific (politically influenced) sites, but less so when confronted with anarchical violence (there appears to be no political motivating factor behid the violence) and deliberate (as opposed to opportunistic) looting. The lesson learnt from the student riots about use of modern comms and social media comms to enable ‘swarming disorder’ which out manoeuvres the police preferred tactic of containment also appears to have been learnt well.

The police cannot (so far) contain, and their options if they are on the scene are limited. They may have enough officers to challenge the rioters – but this goes against their ethos of minimum force. By the time they have enough officers to contain or arrest the rioters have dispersed to gather somewhere else. Arresting is also problematic because then there is all the paperwork to be completed. If we arrested someone in N Ireland then the ‘arresting soldier’ was effectively out of the picture for the remainder of the night.

A paramilitary style police that is actively cracking heads would probably nip the majority of this in the bud. These people (I suspect) are doing what they are doing because they can get away with it in the short term and it does not hurt them too much. Baton charges, bean bag guns, CS gas and rubber bullets might dissuade them. A job for community police? No. For paramilitary police? Maybe. For the army? Preferably not.

August 9, 2011 6:28 pm

@ Callum

Yep. No UK equivalent of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Further a while back there was quick discussion here over Gendarmerie. You said we needed one. I was against. I think I was wrong…..

Lastly I think Phil needs to take a deep breath, sit down, and get his head around the very, very complex issue of policing.

Callum Lane
Callum Lane
August 9, 2011 6:57 pm

I am not sure if we need ‘posse comitatus’; we didn’t in N Ireland, we didn’t for the Iranian Embassy and the armed forces recognise that Military Aid to the Civilian Powers (MACP) is a legitimate task and the government endorses this.
The army does not necessarily need the power of arrest to act in a public order situation (although it is preferable). I have operated with police constables providing the statutory powers and my boys providing the muscle so to speak.
Interesting times indeed.

August 9, 2011 7:10 pm

Paul G/Callum Totally agree I assume yellow card rules apply for army deployments in mainland too.

There is no excuse for whats going. There is 50,000 people work for the MET there is no need for the military unless addition communications or airborne surveillance is required.

In my view the regular army should be considered as a highly deployable war fighting organisation only and deployed as such.

Should we consider a overseas stabilisation/emergency home support be a requirement in the FUTURE then it should be a TA role (this “police/paramilitary role” is often sighted as the most lacking area in failed states) with the appropriate training and equipment provided.

August 9, 2011 7:53 pm

“Lastly I think Phil needs to take a deep breath, sit down, and get his head around the very, very complex issue of policing.”

There is an obvious policy of containment, essentially watching the looters and expecting to sweep them up later on through CCTV evidence.

I’m sure they’ll get a lot of them. And I’m sure most of them will already have records of petty crime as long as your arm.

But none of that will change the fact that people feel scared, that businesses are being plundered and that the Police are not actively stopping this. The Police are there to protect. There is an implicit contract between the Police and Society, society forfeits a number of means of defence of property and lives and the Police fill this vacuum. Arresting people after the fact is not fulfilling their side of the bargain.

There is nothing sensitive about these plundering raid. It is Met management making up problems where they don’t exist because they are scared of looking bad again. They exist to make unpopular decisions – as long as they act within the law and apply some common sense – and they are not doing their job.

Some Constables are also using a perfectly right prosecution to excuse themselves and their lack of swingers. But above all, it is the Met management failing the general public.

The evidence is there right on TV – of coppers having to stand there and be injured and risk death because Gold Command have wet their knickers about upsetting the communities.

You don’t much more of a delicate and sensitive situation than in Northern Ireland and that has not stopped PSNI from being appropriately aggressive.

I’d dare you to take a deep breath if it was your business being torn into.

August 9, 2011 8:08 pm

There is no need for Gendarmerie or Para-military police. I am in complete accord with Phil, this is yet another symptom of political correctness gone mad, better to let them loot than to sue the Met for a black eye !

What is required is a full on public debate on the subject of whether consensual policing has had its day. Do we need more armed police, if not armed then should the “ROE” for use of pepper spray / batton / Taser (?) be more “robust”.

Look I have been picked up by coppers when I was a drunken sailor, and even when I worked in a different part of the criminal justice system, they often have to do a difficult job in difficult circumstances; institutionalised racism has no place, but I have no problem with shooting armed drug dealers, regardless of their colour and suspect most of UK public think the same.

Sure to fight crime you have to fight the causes of crime, well governments of all colours have failed at that, so time to man up and decide whether the old days of nice community coppers (like Sgt Tom from my village in 70’s) is long gone, and what are we looking for instead ???

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 9, 2011 8:47 pm

You do not need to deploy the whole army. Remember parts of the army have had riot training for N. Ireland/Basra, etc.
Under a thousand riot trained troops , in groups of 50 to 100, could stand alongside Police. It would send a message to the rioters & reassure the public.
A new 21st C Riot Act is needed, to toughen response for short periods, while there are riots.
There are new less lethal weapons. Time to test them & purchase the best for Police/Army.

Phil Darley
August 9, 2011 9:41 pm

If they can’t cope with and an England friendly at Wembly how the he’ll are they going to police the Olympics?

If I was the IOC I would be very very concerned that the Olympics could be severely impacted if any thing likes this happens next year.

August 9, 2011 9:48 pm


The last thing the police need is a more robust set of rules for tazers pepper spray etc. I can asure you I have dealt with officers who pepper spray for the offence of ‘Looking at me in a funny way’.

Any percieved failure to do as you are told quickly enough when arrested, will get you sprayed for ‘resisting arrest’ by some officers.

What they need is a set of balls, and a little brains. eg A riot control policy designed to deal with angry political protestors trying to get down a street or attack a particular building; is currently useless.

The police are facing 14-20 year old scallies in trainers and seatshirt hoodies. intent on smashing into shops to steal. Getting 35 year old 15 stone coppers in riot gear chasing after them is laughable. 3 charges = knackered cops.

Let the little sods try and outrun a batton round.

I know, I deal with little thugs like this every day. Whilst they percieve they won’t get caught they will go ‘shopping’ when they realise they will get caught or hurt they will stop.

This will fade away eventually The police jsut need to get in ther and stop using the wrong tactics.

PS I believe in the creation of a Civil guard style paramillitary police

August 9, 2011 9:58 pm

What is needed is the Met management having some trust in their Bronze commanders and stop micromanaging and putting into place blanket policies which do not reflect local situations. The higher echelons of the Met have no balls, no leadership and much much worse, they’ve tied the hands of the men who do have balls and leadership by imposing a citywide policy regardless of local events.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 9, 2011 10:05 pm

What of that microwave device mounted on a humvee by the US marines. Creates intense feeling of heat on surface of skin, but does not penetrate or cause lasting damage.

August 9, 2011 10:33 pm

The answer isn’t technology. Its good old public order policing and trusting your subordinates to apply local solutions without having a Commissioner staring over your shoulder on CCTV.

August 9, 2011 10:44 pm

My experience of working alongside the police is their often reluctance to act unless they have overwhelming numbers.

And anyone resisting arrest frankly deserves to be pepper sprayed. People don’t get arrested for nothing. The amount of paperwork that has to be filled in ensures that Police are rather reluctant to knick someone unless they really have no choice.

August 10, 2011 12:06 pm

lindley french on the riots and their cause:


John Hartley
John Hartley
August 10, 2011 12:33 pm

Google less lethal weapons & see what comes up.
I think the .500 S&W revolver loaded with “Octopus” less lethal rounds would be of use in these riots.
FN has the 303 less lethal gun.
There are less lethal rounds with unique marker paint to aid the prosecution of rioters.
Time for UK authorities to evaluate & adopt the latest non lethal or they will be unprepared in the future again.

August 10, 2011 12:53 pm

Why would they be more unprepared than now? We have AEPs but they are not being used.

August 10, 2011 1:21 pm

A few points.
The army is neither equiped nor trained for “policing”
It is however trained and equiped to crush a rebellion.

If the police have been reduced to standing idly by as Free Englishmen are beaten to death, the Pax Britianica cannot be considered present, and the army is the natural tool to restore it.
Two battalions of motorised rifles could clear the streets with ease. They arent Chechen rebels, they dont ahev anti tank rockets.

Give each section a land rover and tell them to shoot anyone being a dick.

Possible, but that is an absolute worst case.

What *Should* have happened, is the day after the riots, the various police forces should have requested volunteer Special Constables, sworn in 10,000 of them, issued overalls, helmet, riot shield, riot batton and rounded up looters.

What Should now happen, is the entirely ineffective police high commands be sacked, and replaced with an elected Sherrif.
An elected sherrif, facing election, would put the interests of the majority first, not the loud minority.
It would also halt the spectacle of DC flying home to stage a few photo-ops.

The army has been used to clear london of rioters in the past, as have special constables.

Posse Commitatus is to allow conscription, there is no reason volunteers cannot be given “constable” status in an emergency.

August 10, 2011 1:21 pm

Chris B

People don’t get arrested for nothing.

Oh yes they do! And I make a reasonable living our of representing some of them. Including people who get Tazered and sprayed. Most deserve it but some, do not. Every defence lawyer has horror stories about particular clients getting sprayed, they do not make the press because when it finaly gets thru the Crowns thick scull that on this one the officer(s) were out of line; the prosecutions are quietly dropped.

Ask the Met how much it pays out in civil claims every year (with confidentiality clauses so the victims are not allowed to go to the press).

Whilst the days of being arrested for ‘Being in posession of thick lips and curly hair in built up area’ may well have long gone (One hopes), Being arrested on little or no evidence and excessive force used are not.

Every police force has officers which are more assulted, (and have therefore to used force to defend themselves) more than all the others in the force put together.

I still have the statement from the officer arresting (with 2 others) a struggling junky shoplifter who states: –

‘As X was on the floor and handcuffed to the rear, he was still resisting PC Y and Z, I therefore administered a distraction blow* by kicking him in the side of the head’.

CCTV showed all that but no X struugling funnily enough

*Home office approve certain blows derived from martial arts techniques, designed to cause pain but minimal injury to cause the arrested person to comply….. A kick to the head is not one of them.

August 10, 2011 1:36 pm

Dominic J

We need cool heads and measured approaches, not appocalyptic scenarios of armed citizens taking to the streets and the law into there own hands.

Have you any conception of the types who would rush forward to help round up rioters, thugs looking for an excuse for a ruck; wannabe gun nuts, would have to put down there copies of Guns and Ammo. The far right would be in orgasms over the chance to round up some black kids giving them a good hiding in the process…

Great we have chaos on our streets let’s unleash and untrained army of unrestrained wannabees as well…

Jesus will every body just calm down a bit, We will be arresting Nuns for being German paratroopers in disguise next..

Phil Darley
August 10, 2011 2:50 pm

IXION, you are right about the fitness of many of the officers! Quite a few old fatties !

I guess if you had dedicated riot squads things would be different.

August 10, 2011 3:02 pm

We *Have* Armed civillians patrolling the streets taking the law into there own hands already.

All I suggest is we recognise this fact and put them under direct police control.

I’d volunteer, I dont believe I’ve ever started a fight, give me a riot shield, a helmet, a baton and the same to a group of mates, we would quite happily pen in large numbers of looters, and yes, give any who resisted a damned unsporting beating.

Would some undesireables volunteer, probably, so, keep them under police supervision.

If you were in a town centre last night with your face covered on innocent business, you deserve a kicking to knock some sense into you.
If you were there to cause trouble…

Anyone with a criminal record cannot be sworn in as a special constable.

I can only repeat, this has been done before.

I can only repeat, we already have unrestrained wannabes on the streets, three of whom were ran down last night, lets bring them under police control and they might actualy do some good.

August 10, 2011 3:55 pm

People are perfectly entitled to make arrests and to use reasonable force in the protection of their lives and the lives of others. It is indeed taking the law into your own hands but I fail to see why this is seen as such a negative thing. The evidence is before the very eyes of the nation that for 48 hours the Met failed to meet the immediate need of a large number of people for physical protection. There should be no shame in citizens wielding their lawful powers responsibly in this context where the Police cannot or more likely will not respond. It is a right we all have in law and it is not some ancient easily dismissed law either, it was reaffirmed in Primary legislation in 2005.

I am sure bad people will use it all as an excuse to fight just like criminals pretend to have some scrape of humanity when they beat peadeo’s in gaol. But the law entrusts us with powers which can be responsibly wielded.

People with warrants do not have a monopoly on restraint and common sense.

August 10, 2011 4:57 pm

I am all for self defence, defence of another, and defence of property, I am all for reasonable force being used to do so and for citzens arrests, done one myself once.

I see no problems in people defending their own homes and banding together to do so…



1 just how do the police in this emergancy situation vet all the applicants?

2. What happend when; not if; some 13 year old black recipient of an ‘Unsporting’ beating at the hands of what transpires are the local chapter of the English defence league Dies as a result.

3. What about the demands for protection money – ‘give us grand and we will stand outside your shop’, what about when from this ‘force’ start happening?

4. It is unnescessary if the police deploy the right tactics and equipment, (not a soft liberal remember I am the one in favour of Batton rounds, water cannon and CS gas being used).

Genuinely there seems to be desire from left and right to cry ‘the sky is falling the sky is falling’

The left because it fits in with the
‘Evil Tory cuts cause uprising by oppressed masses’ Some of the Journalists pumping out the portentious bollocks last night should be sacked.

The Right because it fits in with the authorotarian hang em and flog em ‘we need the stamp of firm governance to keep law and order’ agenda.

We have Handfulls of scallies perhaps less than 5000 or so country wide launching sporadic raids on certain shopping arcades. This is not 1917 This is not Russia.

I was watching the ‘riots’ in Manchester last night there were no more than a hundred youths visable raiding certain shops. This is not a riot, this is ramraiding without the Ram.

The police were just standing there watching.

August 10, 2011 5:51 pm


A very good point – this a series of episodes of civil disorder / mass criminality, much of which I would NOT categorise as “riot”.

I am surprised, considering our line on armed police, that we are so far behind on non-lethal / less-than-lethal weapons. 12 Gauge shotgun delivered bean-bag rounds are considered to be considerably safer than traditional ‘baton’ rounds, and are used by most US police forces. Similarly there is a Taser round that can be fired from a shot gun; there are many more bits of kit, but you get the point.

August 10, 2011 6:12 pm

I’m not sure how many times I can say “under police supervision” without sounding like a broken record.

1, Vetting would be a problem, so vet afterwards, all volunteers must bring a passport or driving licence, and found afterwards to have a criminal record are jailed for rioting.

2, Since all groups would be under direct police supervision, ie, 7 specials, one salaried, I dont see this as likely, but if it does, so what?
Looter killed in scuffle with police.

3, Once more, under direct police supervision.
You are aware that the day to day policing has been done by unpaid volunteers for the past few days? To give the salaried police a breather.

4, So shooting looters with baton rounds is good, arresting them none violently with superior numbers is bad?
I’m sorry but that logic is twisted, and ignores reality, the 5th night of looting has already commenced, riot equipment is yet to be deployed.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 10, 2011 6:32 pm

Hi, i wasn’t going to comment on what’s going on but i think some here are looking at this from the wrong direction.

I’m going to post a short clip from an interview with a BBC Idiot and a man called Darcus Howe, who is a writer and broadcaster. I saw one of his programmes on the tensions (from a few years ago) near where i live in Birmingham, the man has made some intelligent documentries (imho).

Watch it carefully and count how many times he was interrupted and to cap it all off take note of how he was insulted.

I think it would be a disaster if the Army were to be called in, not least for the police forces themselves.

They are the people who have to re-learn how to do their jobs, think about “dependency culture”, if the police have someone they can run to whenever things get a little difficult, then they won’t get their act together, ever. This is their pidgeon.

I am prepared to give the police way more time, as you all know, most Military’s have had to fight their way out of their instruction manuals, time and time again, before getting a proper grip on the situations that they have faced.

I’m not happy with how the police have gone about things but then they are the police and i am not, so i’ll see how it all plays out and then probably bitch about it afterwards, although i am not a wannabe politician.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 10, 2011 6:38 pm

If everything is so fantastic up to now, why do we still have looting?
Clearly the Government/Police have not learned or properly reacted to G20 & student riots. I do not like making decisions on the hoof, but when things calm down, we need to look to tactics, manpower, legal use of force & human rights. Also look at new less lethal weapons. If these riots happen again & there are no new tactics or weapons & police are still unable to react because of human rights, then there will be an outcry from an exasperated majority.

August 10, 2011 6:52 pm

If everything is so fantastic up to now, why do we still have looting?

Eh? I never said anything was fantastic, least of all the Met’s reaction.

August 10, 2011 8:02 pm


That post is wrong on so many levels I can’t be arsed to point out the inacuracies/ wishful thininking, milinarial, end of the world rubbish.

In fact sod it I will make one point.

We have never been safer on the streets of our country than we are now.

Pause for exploding snorts of derrision from the Bufton Tuftons.

A few points untill the 1890 no woman of any quality went alone on streets; men did not usually travel unarmed. The East end of london was largely in reality un-policed (as were the rough areas of many cities). Crime statistics such as they were were hopelessly inaccurate eg window broken in a riot 10 people fighting outside, police turn up arrest 1 for breaking the window not all 10 for fighting.

For those of you who have vague ideas about some golden age of peace and security its rubbish.

EG many riots in the cities in the 30’s were not reported, armed gangs were holding up buses of tourist traveling from london to Margate. (Oh yes they were there were questions asked in the house about it).

The murder rate per 1000 of the population hasn’t changed much in 100 years.

The last govt created 3000 (I will repeat that 3000) new offences. So guess what ‘crime’ went up.

So to the Daily Mail/ Express crowd: – bollocks to the lot of you a proper study of the statistics and the underlying data shows.

We are safer on the streets of this country than at any other times in its history. (I repeat for emphasis)

BTW lots of riots always happening throughout history, in fact rather light on riots in recent years.

August 10, 2011 8:07 pm


I am disapointed you actually support this populist right wing clapoptrap as brillian peice of writing.

I can point out to you a dozen pieces of victorian and Edwardian writing pointing out, ‘How the world has gone to hell in a handcart and the underclass of undeserving poor are to blame etc etc’….

August 10, 2011 8:37 pm

Christ IXION we agree on something. Bring the smelling salts!

August 10, 2011 8:39 pm


Matthew 26:11 “For ye have the poor always with you”

All too complex for me.

Phil Darley
August 10, 2011 8:53 pm

Phil… Still take issue with the strategy of “stand and stare”! Ok so maybe they can spot some of the crowd afterwards, but what about the business owners who see their stock taken and probably never recovered, not to mention the damage to their property or other uninsured loses. Not to mention the signal it sends to the looters I.e. They can loot with almost certain impunity!!

No sorry don’t agree at all…

It’s wrong wrong wrong and the Police need to review their policies and remember who they serve and what their job is!

The PC approach must go or their will be serious racial / religious riots in this and other countries!!!

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 10, 2011 9:14 pm


Luke 4.4 “Man does not live by bread alone”


Mathew 5.44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you!”

Give them time to re-learn what they need to.

I think they need to replace their sat-nav’s with maps and a working knowledge of all the hidy holes for starters.

Also a copper in riot gear/body armour is never going to catch a hyped up 18 year old in “new” lightweight trainers.

I think the real reason that we are seeing police officers either standing still or running forwards for 50 yards and then forming a line, is that the police have been hollowed out in a way that is similar to what has happened to the military.

Some would say that this “hollowing out” has happened to the whole country and i’d have to agree with them.

August 10, 2011 9:30 pm

“Ok so maybe they can spot some of the crowd afterwards, but what about the business owners who see their stock taken and probably never recovered, not to mention the damage to their property or other uninsured loses. Not to mention the signal it sends to the looters I.e. They can loot with almost certain impunity!!”

Mate, I agree with you! I never have not I don’t think!

Phil Darley
August 10, 2011 9:30 pm

TD just read the EUReferendum article, unlike Phil and IXION, I thought it was excellent. That is the Britain I see, for sure ( sorry fit the F1ism)!

As for comparing crime now versus 200 years ago! Well that’s just crazy. How about crime now versus the 40s/50s

Mike W
August 10, 2011 9:31 pm


I really cannot let you get away with all that!

“The murder rate per 1000 of the population hasn’t changed much in 100 years.” Hasn’t it?

A Research Paper appeared in 1999 called “A Century of Change: Trends in UK Statistics since 1900”, commissioned by the House of Commons no less!
It contained the following statement:

“Since the early 1960s the number of homicides per million of population has more than doubled.”

As for: “We have never been safer on the streets of our country than we are now.”, the report also states:

“The number of indictable offences per thousand population in 1900 was 2.4 and in 1997 the figure was 89.1.

Make of that what you like. And I am not even a member of the Daily Mail/ Express crowd!

August 10, 2011 9:49 pm

@ Mike (Civ)

Proverbs 29:14 “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.”

No not you Miliband………

Phil Darley
August 10, 2011 9:54 pm

Phil, sorry seemed to gave misunderstood your comment 1day 1 hr ago…

Just read it again and still not sure what you mean by the first paragraph as you go on to say exactly what my point was in response to that paragraph!


August 10, 2011 10:41 pm

Ixion et al

Head over to http://www.intelligencesquared.com – or look them up on iTunes and look for the pod cast of a debate called “Prison works” – an excellent debate on criminal justice system in general, and plenty of statistical evidence that shows how much crime has risen since the 50’s and how the efficacy of the criminal justice system plays into that.

I don’t usually admit to which part of the criminal justice system I worked in, but I was not police, but I was riot trained……

August 10, 2011 10:45 pm

Mike W

1st the ammount of indictable offences you can committ about trebbled between 1900 and 1997 (the Blair years increases were almost on top of that).

My late father in law was involved in writing the Transport Act in the late 60’s; he maintained that an articulated tanker lorry could committ 2000 seperate offences. Not a lot of those arround in 1900. (Ok not all of those indictable) But add factory Acts Health and safety at works Acts etc etc, you get the idea. Was not a lot of computer porn crimes in 1900 either!

As for homicide this is a real statistical mess. you have to weigh up the massive advances in medicine so many deaths now do not happen and are charged as violent assaults.

Against that, are the huge advances in police detective science forensic medicine, and general appreciation of the frequency of murder, eg many child deaths, ‘suicides’ and ‘accidents’ were either not detected or conveniently catogorised as not a crime. Poisoning is now almost unheard of, there were still a lot of ‘accidental poisonings in the 40-s and 50s when poisons were still much used in ordinary every day life and work.

It is a common misconception that without a body you can’t have a murder, but there were a huge ammount of ‘disappearences’ possibly many more per head of the population than now. So the statistics are very shakey. But we are not knee deep in corpses. Also bear in mind that the murder rate in scotland was statisticly much higher that England . In the early 1970’s the Murder rate in Glasgow was higher than Belfast.

BTW home office pathologist writing in the 1930’s estimated 2,700 rapes each year in london alone! But said there were no central statistics. I tried to find out in 1986 how many Posession of offensive weapons offences ther were in 1985 I was told that no policew force ‘Crimed it’ that is it was not part of the crime statisitcs, in the early 90’s all offences were ‘crimed’. That offence was made indictable about then if I remember correctly.

As I said earlier the police up to the 50’s regarded their job as keeping order and protecting the middle classes. Domestic violence and child abuse was for example almost never prosecuted.

DIXON of Dock Green once gave one of his little homilies on TV about how ‘we aren’t interrested if the working man gives his wife a belt of a saturday night’!

Phil Darly

Is that the 40’s and 50’s that spawned the London gangs, the Anti Immigration race riots in Nottinghill, Kray twins (who recieved their weapons training as conscripts), the Moors Murderers, Strathen etc etc. Teddy boys Banning of flick knives due to their being carried quiet a lot, Mods and Rockers (OK a bit later that last lot).

There has never been a ‘Golden age’ when Granny smith could leave her doors unlocked, everybody respected everyone etc etc.

Run for the hills! THEY* are comming, Buy tinned food put your money in Krugerrands, get Grandads shotgun down from the loft it’s


(Insert the Race, Creed, Colour, Age group, economic status, or employment status of your paranoa of choice..)

August 10, 2011 10:47 pm

@ Jed

Quite few matelots go into the Prison Service. I think it is something Freudian about heavy metal doors.

August 10, 2011 10:52 pm


My point above is that the ‘Statistics’ on crime are very shaky up to the early 90’s when it was decided that all crimes would be recorded.

There has been a huge increase in the number of crimes a citzen can committ,
The reporting of crime to the police has hugely improved, and
The detection of that crime has vastly improved.

You have never been safer than you are now (particularly if you are female).

Mike W
August 10, 2011 11:08 pm

“As for homicide this is a real statistical mess. you have to weigh up the massive advances in medicine so many deaths now do not happen and are charged as violent assaults.”

I’m sorry. My powers of logic are sadly lacking but isn’t the above an argument for the fact that the murder rate would be even higher if it were not for the massive advances in medicine? Or have I misunderstood what you are saying?

“There has never been a ‘Golden age’ when Granny smith could leave her doors unlocked”

Oh, I think there was. My wife came from Camberwell, now a pretty tough area of London, and she remembers that her family for years left the doors unlocked. That all started to change in the Sixties.

I wish I had time to take up some more of your interesting points tonight but I need my ugly sleep!

August 10, 2011 11:15 pm

Mike W

Yes you are right! I was making the point that, the improvements in medical science mean the rate would be even higher. Against that you have to set off the probable hugely increased detection/reporting of when a murder has occured.. Like I said it’s a mess.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 10, 2011 11:21 pm

So Britain is happy la la land with no crime & a smiling bobby on every street corner.
Wish I was on , what you are on.
The FBI no longer believes UK Home Office figures. They have been massaged since the abolition of the death penalty. For example, a suspicious open verdict by a coroners court is not treated as potential homicide. In the US it would be.
On average fifty people a year were murdered by guns in Britain. After Dunblane, private handguns were banned, but the numbers killed by guns rose to 80. The equivalent of 2 Dunblanes a year extra. So the next year, the numbers dropped to 50 , yet the number of shot & injured rose. Is the Home Office fiddling? If you are shot, but do not die straight away, do you just go into the shot & injured category? Less politically sensitive.
One police force cut its burglary numbers by reporting the broken pane of glass as minor property damage.
There are many ways to fiddle the figures.
I feel safer in the US than I do in Britain. I would not have said that 30 years ago.
I run a small business. It has been hit with more crime in the last decade than in the previous 24 years, since I joined it. Many other small businesses report similar conclusions, that crime is more frequent & more blatant.

August 10, 2011 11:22 pm

Mike W

Went on holiday 3 years ago accidently left the back door unlocked for 2 weeks- not burgled, those were the days back in 2008 when you could leave your doors unlocked.. (Never mind the police the wife gave me hell over that.)

August 10, 2011 11:28 pm


It is not perfect far from it. crime is a real threat to peoples safety and property.

Like I said I deal with it every day, I am ‘In the loop’ and see what goes on.

For example I have told both my daughters that if they enter certain areas of certain cities at certain timesand are attacked and raped don’t come crying to me about it Because thats what happens in certain areas of certain cities.

I have F off great big locks on my barns security lights and alarms etc

My point is it always has been like that for ever and a day, and it allways will be.

August 11, 2011 3:32 am

To a degree I have to agree with IXION (Huh!) that “the goold old days” are often covered in a fair amount of gloss by people looking back. We’ve had prisons for a long time now, and not without reason.

Trouble is, different parts of the country have different crime rates. Where I live there hasn’t been a burglary for about 10 years and that was the first in about 10 years prior to that.

Travel approx. 10 miles to the North West and you’ll find a certain estate in a certain town that probably suffers a burglary once every fortnight. 10 miles, two vastly different stories.

Similarly there hasn’t been a recorded murder where I live since records began. In some inner city areas the murder rate has shot up. Where you live plays a big part in perception.

What bugs me is the notion that these riots were caused by something; be it racial tensions, poverty blah, blah, blah.

What people don’t want to face up to is the fact these “riots” are nothing more than a bunch of chancers out to make a few easy quid and have a laugh. For some reason people across the country are having great difficulty understanding that this is nothing more than theft on a grand scale.

There are no churches or mosques or Synagoges (apologies if I spelt that wrong) being burnt down. People aren’t smashing up the banks or the job centres. This isn’t a rebellion against the man.

The violence is isolated in the over whelming majority of cases to city centres and shopping centres. This is just a bunch of knobs out on the loot and it stuns me that the highly paid jorunalists of the TV and written press are having such a hard time understanding this. It’s about theft.

These are not Rebels. These are not Rebels without a cause. These are shoplifters; black, white, asian, young, old, male and female, working together in perfect cross cultural, cross generation, cross sex harmony.

They are out on the nick while they think they can get away with it, and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 11, 2011 7:48 am

Chris B
It is not everyone “on the rob”. It is a mix of black youth, male & female, some as old as mid 30s.
White neet “little Britain”, age & sex as the blacks. Some mixed asians as above.
Does not seem to be any Poles, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists or middle aged “country has gone to the dogs” white men caught rioting so far. If I am wrong, let me know.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 11, 2011 8:48 am

I’d agree with some of what Chris.B said. It’s not primarily political or racial protest, it’s groups of knobs out thieving. That’s possibly why the police had so much difficulty dealing with it at the begining.
Much rioting is often centered around a particular neighbourhood, or grows from a gathering of protestors. This time around has seen many relatively small and independant groups, without a containable central mass and without focus on a single location, who with modern communications have totally out-manoeuvred plod. With better intel and high mobility groups of their own, maybe this could have been snuffed out earlier and without the reliance on overwhelming numbers.

August 11, 2011 8:55 am

Chris B

Yea I know we agree- worrying isn’t it although we also agree about carriers…

It appears


show was ‘Rain stopped play’ last night.

August 11, 2011 9:23 am

“Still take issue with the strategy of “stand and stare”! Ok so maybe they can spot some of the crowd afterwards,”

The purpose of the police is to prevent crime, not document it and secure convictions.
“The police will be judged on the absence of crime”

Your stats are very interesting, but I do not care about the crime rates 50 or 500 years ago, I care about them now.
I do not care about “national statistics”, I care about my perceptions of crime.

Your arguement boils down to we’re all too stupid and the professionals must be left to get on with it.

“Went on holiday 3 years ago accidently left the back door unlocked for 2 weeks- not burgled”
Its a regular occurance for our doors to be checked overnight, I’ve sat and watched a group of 5 lads walk the local area looking for open doors.

Phoned the police the first time, havent bothered since. PC ploddette turns up 4 hours later and calls you a liar.

August 11, 2011 9:43 am

@ JH

I didn’t say it was everyone. I just said white, black and asian, male and female, of all ages (roughly).

This precisely what we’ve seen. On camera and in court. Maybe the elder generations have avoided it, but broadly speaking the groups I mentioned are spot on.

And they are all on the nick.

August 11, 2011 11:53 am

“Its a regular occurance for our doors to be checked overnight, I’ve sat and watched a group of 5 lads walk the local area looking for open doors.”

:( that is sad, i don’t leave doors unlocked, but where i live we really could do i we wanted.

city living has forged me otherwise i’m afraid, but our neighbours regularly leave their bikes propped next to the pavement facing front door.

August 11, 2011 1:04 pm


Like I said Crime is a real threat to peoples lives livelyhoods safety and well being.

More than happy to admitt that, after all like I said I make my living out of it.

But yes where possible we should leave the enforcing of the laws to the trained offficers of the crown paid to do it.

We should assist in every way sometimes at the risk to our safety and we may arrest those breaking those laws if no proffesional help can be summoned.

But if you want to see true anarchy, truely high murder rates, and true ‘Lawlessness’ Invite joe public to enforce his perception of the law on his patch. There was evidence on the last night of rioting that things were breaking down on ethnic lines, black kids being chased out of ‘white’ areas, muslim v non muslim etc that way lies madness: – and a murder rate that would make your head spin.

August 11, 2011 1:58 pm

“But yes where possible we should leave the enforcing of the laws to the trained offficers of the crown paid to do it.”

Except the Police are not supposed to be a “special” class.
The police are the people and people are the police. The Police are merely people paid to enforce the law full time.

Again, I can only repeat what I have already said.
The police should have requested volunteer special constables.
These SC’s shopuld have been issued overalls, helmet, riot shield and batton.
Small groups, say, 4-7, should have been placed under the command of a police officer, with a radio.

We could have even made them multi racial/relgion teams, a mixed EDL/Muslim group defending a Sikh bakers, the possibilities are endless.

The problem is “the people” and “the scum” have now both seen how the impentrable blue line of law and order is actualy more a very thin dotted line. That they only way they can protect “their” families, is if “they” drive out anyone different, and arm themselves to take on all comers.

Frankly, quite fairly.
The compact is I give up the right to defend myself if the Police do so.
The police supremely failed to defend a lot of people over the past 5 nights, they have every right to look to their own defence.

I do worry that next time, once the papers get hold of the court records, “the people” wont bother phoning the police to come and watch “the scum” burn down their homes, to arrest them a few days later, when a magistrate will tell them off for being very naughty and make them promise not to do it again, they’ll beat them unconcious and hang them.

We havent prevented your worst case scenario, we’ve set course straight to it.

August 11, 2011 2:04 pm

Meh, it is what it is, lock your doors, have noisey dogs, and ensure theres effective weapons to arm yourself with on the way to investigate.

Anything outside, not a chance of it staying.
Well, the backs not too bad, but thats an arse to get to, my eglus survived a good three months, but you cant have nice plant pots on the front.

Phil Darley
August 11, 2011 2:26 pm

IXION, racial and religious tension has been created by the PC obsessed society we live in. Many White christian Anglo- Saxon or whatever we are permitted to call ourselves these days, feel that there are different rules applied to different ethnic groups, not just regarding laws but things like social welfare.

It seems the police and other jaw enforcement agencies apply the laws to certain groups, like the Muslim community differently. Just one local example from where I live. Attendees of a local mosque regularly park on double yellow lines with impunity!!!

If I even thought about doing the same I would get a ticket or worse. We all know of similar instances of injustice or worse and this just eats away at ones sense of justice.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 11, 2011 8:59 pm


Nice Quote!

Yesterday someone in Manchester yelled at Ed Milliband “Go home Dave….you’re all the same!”

Kinda annoyed at all of the predictable kneejerk stuff coming from the den of thieves that we call the HoC.

Do you recall what you said about climbing out of the box and stamping it flat?

See any evidence that Parliment has a collective clue what to do beyond pontificating at length about their outrage?

I haven’t and i don’t live in hope.

I’m still waiting for the police to explain why they thought their weird tactics would actually work. No doubt it’ll take a £7 Million pound report to explain their non-existant reasoning.

I have to tell you this little story, amusing and strange at the same time.

A few years back i was in a subway in birmingham city centre when i realised that 2 gents had left their probably expensive, Prada and Selfridges shopping. I asked the staff to watch the bags and went to look for them. I had to run to catch them up and as i was wearing workwear incl. boots i made a bit of a racket, when i got near i said “excuse me gents” which was as far as i got as one started to run away yelling “No no!” and the other seemed ready to square up to me!

I stopped on the spot and explained that they had left their shopping in subway.

They both looked very sheepish and said thank you a lot and one of them told the other to “give him some money”. I politely turned it down and went back to my terrible sandwich, i really like butter or margarine on my sandwiches.

I found their reactions quite funny at the time but later on wasn’t so amused. I know i cut a strange figure but their immediate assumption that i was either a mugger, a begger or would be ever so grateful for some money spoke volumes about their attitudes towards some other people.

We’ve become an incredibly strange society, huge numbers of people are living parallel but completely separate lives and lot’s of people seem obsessed with the latest tat from China or Indonesia.

August 11, 2011 9:38 pm

Michael – search YouTube for news paper TV adverts, there was once a famous advert for the Gaurdian I think, which from a certain perspective showed a Doc Martin wearing skinhead run up behind a bowler hat wearing business man and nock him to the ground – as the camera panned out to show scaffolding collapsing which would have dumped a tonne of bricks on business man, if skinhead had not saved his life.

Looks can be deceiving :-)

I used to show said video to repeat violent and drug offenders as part of a “offending behaviour treatment programme” !

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 11, 2011 10:06 pm

Ahh Jed thanks, i remember it now, didn’t think of it at all though until you bought it up :D

It’s still a bit strange thinking over what happened from my perspective, if you know what i mean :)


I’m not trying to turn this thread into a political bun fight, so i hope you don’t mind if i ask what everyone thinks of this comment piece from the Telegraph. Reason why i’d like to know what people who read or comment @Think Defence, is cause, generally speaking, you lot look at things from lot’s of angles before going off at different tangents.


If you decide otherwise, i won’t get my knickers in a twist, i promise :)

August 11, 2011 10:41 pm


Interresting article…

I tend to agree with it.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 12, 2011 12:32 am

Yeah, me too.

If it looks like everyone is on the make and scamming the system for all it’s worth*, including very powerful people who are aspiring to, and have even succeeded to the office of Prime Minister, then some can and will rationalise the sort of acts that they have set out to do very easily.

*think about all of the stories you’ve heard of alledged, serious financial corruption in the last 5 years especially.

Also how many times have you seen a report that so & so has a string of convictions but hasn’t served any time cause they have decided to give him another chance to go straight.

Personally, i’d start at the top & work my way down.

The Boss sets the standards and the tone in any organisation.

This holds true for countries as well. Or it would if they weren’t always thinking about the next election during their 4/5 year run up to the next hysteria fueled vote.

August 12, 2011 9:42 am

Michael Civ
Hwence my desire for elected Sherrifs controling Police Forces.
Dont like their actions, sack them and elect a new one.

I still remember “The Guardian North”, with all the sports you oiks north of watford are interested in, and none of the grown up content that would just confuse you….

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 12, 2011 12:12 pm

I’m not keen on the idea of elected Sherrifs (or Commissioners in the Tory’s wording). It runs the risk of populist policing where the only type of crimes that get delt with are those that grab the medias attention, while other important core problems get pushed to the back of the queue.

I’ve read of examples from the US where Sheriffs have spent most of their available resources on cracking down on crimes committed by Mexicans, because that had been popular with voters. However, it ignored the fact that the Mexican population in these counties only accounted for a small proportion of overall crime; the result being that the overall crime figures increased dramatically.
The escalation of the recent riots seems to come from the tactics that were employed. No issue of a lack of resources, and no need to have called up the army or to have raised posses.

I think the type of thing that Dom suggested, with local citizens being signed up as temporary specials is a good idea in times of extreme emergency -zombie apocalypse etc- but not needed in this case, and should be avoided whereever possible.

August 12, 2011 12:28 pm

Dominic J


Our current poitical leaders are to a man or women either stupid, self serving, scheming or corrupt, frequently all at the same time.

( I swear if if hear another one of these ‘Suites full of bugger all’ spouting mum and apple pie crap about needing to rebuild our society I will do for my telly)

Just what we need is another elected tosser worried about how he or she will get elected next time, that will indeed lead to considered measured evidence based police policy….. Not!

More of the

‘ do not care about “national statistics”, I care about my perceptions of crime.’

as a basis for spending the 20 billion police and justice budget.

e.g you remember all that stuff about ferral teenagers running the street, products of broken homes, etc casuing all this trouble.

A surprising amount of the one’s nicked so far have had jobs, public positions, and have been in their 20’s and 30’s.

Looks like we realy need to sort out the

Graphic designers from Essex
Law students
Teaching assistants
Apprentice lock smiths

etc etc..

August 12, 2011 12:59 pm

Never had a stiff upper lip. Read the People’s War about WWII and some Mass Observation Reports. It’s all a great big myth!

August 12, 2011 1:02 pm

Or is this more the culture that has developed of everyone has to have everything right now and that everyone owe me something. If he has it then I deserve it too right now. It lead to the banking crisis and possibly helped fuel this too as the money tap has been turned off.

August 12, 2011 1:23 pm

Humans have always been greedy. Remove the traditional limits to their behaviour and we become very unsavoury characters indeed.

Previously in history such thoroughly wicked people would have had no chance of co-existing in a small social group – the trouble being that they are not just violent and greedy (as lots of people have been in history) but that they can barely live with their families or exist next to a neighbour. They are socially dysfunctional – even the Vikings could live in their society.

August 12, 2011 1:51 pm


That is partly because the people who preach self restraint deferred gratification, social responsibility, work hard, pay your taxes etc to the working and working middle class; has it turned out been a bunch of stupid theiving, bare faced liars. And have been exposed as such.

It does not take a genius to see that lectures from

1 Bankers who over lent to over exposed countries and people, and are now being bailed out by those same countries and people (seem to remember the figure for Ireland is £80,000 of debt per man woman and child)
2 Snouts in th trough politico’s who have been exposed as fools or knaves.

Fall on deaf ears, tell you what why don’t the bankers all work twice as hard for half the money for the next 20 years to bail out the working classes? and the world economy, ratehr than the other way round.

‘Whats that skippy? Leahman brothers have fallen down a mineshaft, so the future of my children is blighted for a generation’

Perhaps the looters have realised that in this life everything is given to those who take, whilst telling others that self sacrifice and responsibility is the way to go.

August 12, 2011 2:15 pm

But an elected Sherrif who prosides over an increase in crime can be replaced.
Iain Blair presided over a huge increase in knife crime, did nothing to tackle it, and in the end, had to be paid off.

Perhaps we should do away with elected politicians as well then?
If we elect the people who write law, why not the people who enforce it?

I have called for no extra money and no new powers, its actualy a reduction in powers for central government.

People who make decisions for people should be accountable to those people.
The Head of Greater Manchester Police should be Accountable to the people of Greater Manchester, not to the MP for Maidenhead.

I dont see how that is a “crazy” notion.

Its all well and good saying “leave it to the professionals”. We did, they stood gawping for 5 nights as scum looted the nation.

August 12, 2011 3:14 pm


Only good man who ever got into parliament was Guy Fawkes

August 12, 2011 3:34 pm


I agree with your post. People will generally go along with advise from people/institution’s they respect. And that has been lost totally within some communities and the government. A lot is made of everyones rights but not the responsiblities that come with them. They think now they can get away with it because the politicians and bankers got away with it and indeed how celebs get away with it too. Tougher punishment across the board would help. Personally Id give all the rioters a brush and shovel and make them clean up the mess they made for a start.

August 12, 2011 3:35 pm

I dont disagree.
I dont see the relevence though.

Your argueing that its better we are ruled by an unelected arse than an elected arse.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 12, 2011 4:42 pm

Hi, Dom. “an elected Sheriff who presides over an increase in crime can be replaced”. In the examples I’ve seen, the sheriffs were re-elected because you don’t need first hand experience of crime before you’re allowed to vote. So the perception of the white ‘middle class’ masses, was that a Mexican immigrant crime wave existed, so targeting Mexicans won votes. Crime increased, number of victims increased. But if victims of crime don’t become the majority, then their actual experiences of crime matter less than the majority perception of crime.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 12, 2011 5:01 pm

On elected commissioners. We’ve seen what happens in other areas when politicians chase headline figures. Hospital admissions targets for example. People experience extended waits in A and E, government popularity falls. Solution, quickly process the patient, then plonk them on a trolley in a corridor to lie in their own shit and filth for 12 hours. The experience of the patient is wholly unsatisfactory, but headline waiting time for admissions goes down and government popularity goes up. Elected sheriffs means increased headline chasing, while similarly ignoring the bigger picture.

August 12, 2011 5:56 pm

For all the knocking of the Police, I should point out that when there is a line of twenty cops facing a mob of 200, it will take some big brass balls to charge said mob and try to make them disperse.

The most I ever risked as a bouncer was trying to save some poor bugger from 4 blokes, and that was primarily achieved through aggressive defense not any kind of offense, and I will happily admit that I was Sh*tting my pants all the way through it.

People are quick to judge but it’s not half as easy as it looks.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 12, 2011 7:56 pm

I can see the problems with an elected police chief, but we have trouble with our unelected, pompous , out of touch senior officers. Solutions please.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 12, 2011 9:21 pm


Very much agree with that, it’s quite different when the violence is unexpected, in your face and
you are getting a touch of his raging halitosis.


I think i prefer an appointed police chief. Especially if he/she has been appointed by a group of people who are taking the time to think it through. If we were to go down an elected route, then i’d suggest that the various police forces themselves would be the voters, not the citizens.

I realise some would see it as a kind of Praetorian Guard or something but they have the best handle on what’s needed.

I’d say that the best solution to this situation is determined or commited patience and give the huge organisations the time to sort themselves out.

(my own kneejerk response to all this would have probably horrified you, i’m quietly pleased with myself in that i decided to *be* patient with the police forces)

I think a good chunk of the problem with the way that the police have actually policed during this fracas is that they are so tied up in convoluted rules and regulations, that it takes them awhile to work out what sort of policing is needed for something like this.

I guess that they have all sorts of plans for this or that…..but how much effort, time and money has been spent on imaginative training for the unexpected?

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 12, 2011 10:22 pm

I am still torn both ways. An elected chief could just play to the gallery, while an unelected chief could ignore public concerns & just concern himself with racking up expenses.
Perhaps a compromise, is a police chief appointed by a committee of worthies, but give the people the power to vote out a bad police chief.

August 13, 2011 8:44 pm

But dont you see!!!

“I think a good chunk of the problem with the way that the police have actually policed during this fracas is that they are so tied up in convoluted rules and regulations”

Thats the problem with appointed chiefs.
The people who appoint them are held to account for decisions they didnt make, so they try and micromanage.

An elected chief can make a decision and its him who live or dies on it.

As it is, cheifs are appointed by the MP for Maidenhead, shes appointed by the MP for Witney, and he’s appointed by 650 regionaly elected legislators on a roughly 5 yr term.


Especialy when you consider that the people who actualy make the decisions are effectivly, they can just be paid off, rarely for good reasons.

The CoP for leisctershire was sacked for failing to catch a serial killer before the headlines made the governing party look bad.
No one suggested yhe was in any way ineffective.
The PM just needed to look like he was doing something.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 14, 2011 12:17 am

Hi DominicJ

I get what you’re saying, but i think then we’d end up with an even worse situation than we have already, the situation being that a great many people think the top cops are over politicised.

I think there is a lot of justification for that sort of thinking.

I really think that in-house appointments with oversite from a body with a diverse membership, something like a House of Lords committee (before the place was stuffed full of more bloody politicians), would be my favoured option. Basically a group of people who are experts in various fields.

I’m real leary of the idea of elected cops. Wonder if unseen selection would work, go by their records and what their superiors have thoughtfully jotted down about them? Or as i said before, elections where the police are the voters.

Also and as a side matter, i think the IPCC needs a good kicking, maybe it will remind them of what they are supposed to be there for.

Everyone could do with a bit more no nonsense straight talking from that direction, including the police. Sick and tired of off the record press briefing’s by unnamed sources that has infected most arms of Government.

Lastly, just so you know, by day two i wanted to know why police marksmen weren’t firing warning shots and if that didn’t work at that time then carefully shooting a few. I know it’s a sickening idea which is why i decided to *be* patient with what was happening and with how the police were handling it.

Major violence, arson and looting in lot’s of places but only 4 dead, it could easily have been much, much worse.

Think about this, if it wasn’t for the sanity and sense of that man in birmingham who has just lost 2 sons, you would now be reading about this city being a for real warzone. I think that you would by now be watching shocking footage of British troops shooting people in a British city. Trust me, i live here, this is what would have happened.

I’m not like that bloke at all, i could not be as forgiving or show such mercy.* I find his faith in British justice strange….i’ve seen far too much on how the Courts come up with incomprehensible judgements and sentence’s.

*my quote for X was a response to his quote, for me it’s more like….be really ready to do unto others, before they do unto you, cause if you’re not, then you are dead and the dead have no say in what happens on this crazy planet.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 14, 2011 10:40 am

I want a tougher response to rioters, but police marksmen shooting them? A bit much even for me. However, one idea the army considered in N.Ireland was .22 rimfire target rifles against petrol bomb throwers. The politicians vetoed it. Time to look at that again. The latest .17 varmint rimfire with polymer tip bullets, produce horrible surface wounds, but do not penetrate. Any rioter shot with these would get himself to A&E where he could be arrested.

August 14, 2011 11:36 am

There are some rather entertaining vids on YouTube of people being shot voluntarily with bean-bag shot gun rounds.

What the Met needed numbers for wasn’t containment but so it could concentrate forces on one area. (This is why the Army was needed, not to be fist but to maintain the perimeter while the civil authorities went about its business.) If one largish area of rioting had been hit hard (water cannon, baton rounds, dogs etc.) and images had got of I don’t know serried ranks of rioters on the pavement cuffed (on the way to being processed en masse) it would have sent a message.

August 14, 2011 11:52 am

Police are polital.
They cant not be.

What they arent, and could be, is accountable.

Its all well and good to say, let the experts decide, but which experts?

The SDSR was, in theory, written by experts.
Experts. The economy of the USSR was ran by experts.

I dont believe 200 dead looters is better than hardworking shop keepers being burnt out.
But that of course, is the benefit of having elected sherrifs, GMPTE could be ruled by a hardliner who shot them, and Birmingham could be ruled by a soft liner, who contained the situation. Sometimes, there isnt a right answer.

Thats exactly my point, if the hammer hqad been brought down on the second day, there wouldnt have been copy cat riots around the country.

August 14, 2011 2:04 pm

Of course, if people were afraid of the system in the first place then none of it probably would have happened.

A large number of those involved who were later interviewed either formerly or informerly by the press revealed that their biggest motivation was the presumption that they wouldn’t be convicted, or if convicted then only for a very laughable sentence in a soft facility.

Whether this is actually the case or not with our justice system, the perception among the public now is that any punishment dished out will be sufficiently soft as to make the crime worthwhile.

Cameron is bringing in this Police expert from the US, “supercop” etc, but one of the underlying keys to the zero tolerance policies he advocated was the Federal and State, legal & custodial systems.

Putting people away in tough prisons for a long time. Or at least long enough for the mayor to get re-elected.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 14, 2011 4:48 pm


That was my first thought, cause looting often leads to much more serious violence against people i.e. assaults, rapes and murders.

However, i’m not a cop and have never had to police a riot, which is why i decided to *be* patient with what was happening and with the way the police were dealing with it. Although i still don’t understand their tactic of watching the people who were doing the looting.

Although to be fair to the UK police, i think it was the L.A. police who were the first to be filmed using that tactic. Standing at one intersection, watching people almost getting killed at another intersection and doing sweet fa about it.

Sad to see that we seem to ape the americans in almost all things, the good and the bad, even though it sometimes takes years to show itself.


Only real problem i have with prisons is that there is very little meaningfull attempts at rehab.
When they are in there a lot either sleep or are planning their first “jobs” when they get out.

I think the prisons system needs a shakeup as well. Remember Ford open prison, the one that burned down? It was supposed to be the sort of place where long termers were sent as part of their rehab programs or to see if they could cope with limited freedom. Some of the other prisoners there reportedly said that the place had changed since they started using it as a dumping ground for short term prisoners to finish off their sentences.

The short termers weren’t interested in following the rules since they would be out soon anyway.

Putting the really vicious bastards away for a long time (or executing them), is fine by me but i think the 3 strikes and your out type of system is counter productive. I think i’d rather give the whole problem to a group of engineers, let them come up with a for real, long term fix.

Re-offending rates are very high, therefore it is not working. I think the Government were thinking about doing something but got shouted down as they lack conviction in anything except demanding that the military do more with less.

If you kill someone you should not be out in 2 years (with good behaviour).


I have no time anymore for the judges and lawyers.

August 14, 2011 5:31 pm

The question is that while prison and rehab form part of the equation for whether a prisoner will re-offend or not, the issue is that short prison sentences do not act as a deterrent to those who would otherwise be put off criminal actions.

Take the issue of restraining orders. In Gavin De Beckers excellent book “The Gift of Fear” he makes the point that a large number of potential stalkers etc can be stopped by a restraining order simply because of the threat of legal action. (He goes on to point out though that in certain cases restraining orders can make the situation 10x worse).

What we’ve seen and heard this week is that people are not afraid of prisons because they doubt the ability or the will of “the syetem” to impose lengthy punitive measures on them.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 14, 2011 6:09 pm


Agree completely, reason being is that i was a tearaway when i was very young. I got a short sharp shock for my stupidity and never did it again.

I saw a report in the Guardian (was a few months ago), the gist of it was that short sentences upto 12 months didn’t work but that sentence’s of between 2 years and 4 years did.

I think the system hasn’t had the will for ages, far too many very understanding Ministers who draw up “guidelines” that the Judges can use as excuses.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 14, 2011 7:15 pm

Contrarian that I am, I would bring back town jails for very short sentences. Three weeks or less. This would mean a short sharp shock much earlier. It may not be so much fun to get drunk & leary on a Friday night, if you then spend the weekend in the town jail. A town jail would be very spartan. No TV ,ipod or radio. Just looking at plain walls for a few days. Would shock back to reality, those just starting to go off the straight & narrow.
For out of control teenagers , I would want those American “Brat Camps”. A few months camping on Cape Wrath or Exmoor, again with no drugs, booze, piercings, ipods, mobiles or TV. Get them to know what is important in life.

August 14, 2011 8:06 pm

John H said “For out of control teenagers , I would want those American “Brat Camps”. A few months camping on Cape Wrath or Exmoor, again with no drugs, booze, piercings, ipods, mobiles or TV. Get them to know what is important in life.”

Off on an tangent but during my time with cadets I came more than a few kids who super cadets yet with dire school records. I thought getting kids doing stuff and firm leadership were panaceas. And once thought no kid was irredeemable but I think increasingly I was bit over optimistic. Sometimes I am sad to say I find myself wondering whether a good birching would be a better answer. You might not be able to turn the tike around but at least he has suffered. But that smacks of revenge. I don’t know.

Michael (Civ.)
Michael (Civ.)
August 14, 2011 8:43 pm


I know we are wildly off track but, how about mentoring small groups, no more than say six at a time? I think at the moment that the probation service people are dealing with large numbers (and have been for some time), although it is one on one they have a lot to get through in a week.

Kinda like the local jails idea, a dreary weekend staring at 4 walls sounds like a workable idea, much more so than an £80 fixed penalty charge payable on the spot. Maybe combine the 2, sort of an enforced stay (£40 per night), at an austere HOTEL with no mobile phone, no facebook, terrible food and unsympathetic company.

48 hours, the first time, in which to think about what got you there?

August 14, 2011 9:14 pm

Mike (Civ) said “at an austere HOTEL with no mobile phone, no facebook, terrible food and unsympathetic company.”

Why would you want dump them on HMS Rayleigh? Poor barstewards…….

Mike (Civ) also said “mentoring small groups”

Yes. But the dynamic would have to be handled adroitly. Though as I alluded to above I think we are fast approaching a point where rehabilitation for many is not achievable. Certain elements in the inner cities want to turn them mini-Kingston’s or Port of Spain’s. That will have a detrimental affect on the policing of all of mainland UK.

August 14, 2011 10:17 pm

X and others

I know as a criminal Lawyer who posesses a beard, I am supposed to be a card carrying Liberal, but my views on crime and punishment would surprise many.

Prison to a degree works, but the whole ‘make prisons horrible places’, sound great but completly backfires.

Prison is often the first place real terraways have been where they cannot skive weasel out or just not turn up.

For the Hangers and floggers out there just a few stastics and one criminalogical result..

Over 40 % of people in prison have difficulty reading and writing.

More than 50% exhibit signs of diagnosable Mental illnesses.

Many are on the autism scale.

One statistic shines out from every survey/ piece of research on the point carried out in western societies since ww2. What is it deters crime? Free drugs in prison? Hang em and flogg em, lock em up and throw away the key?

Nope: – It is the fear of getting caught!

When people are in prison then the regimes should be ‘liberal’ in that they should encorage education, socialisation, and work ethic.

Lock em up throw away the key 10 to a cell etc, makes the attavistic Neanderthals feel good and give Paul Dacre a stiffy but in reality it has been an almost total failure. OK whilst in custody they cannot committ crime, but the reoffending rates ion release are appaling – higher than 80% in some cases.

Just look at the logic of it, I ask you to consider the following.

Imagine you are the product of a ‘broken home’
You have been raised with an anger at ‘society’
A belief (often rightly ) that no one gives a shit about them.
They are angry agressive, Macho, violent, often childish,*

So as a punishmment you lock them up, treat them like shit. They come out of prison worse than they went in angrier more Nihilistic than they went in. The whole short sharp shock treatment has been tried several times** each time it has failed.

Lock em up by all means – and for longer than they often are now, but when they are in prison lets try and fix whats broken about them not make it worse!

* My wife started working as my assistant some years ago.. her first remarks were how many of my client reminded her of 6ft 13 stone 2 or 3 year olds.

**It was tried in the 50’s and the 80’s it failed then, it will fail again. for the same reasons.

August 14, 2011 10:20 pm


We must never legalise All drugs.

If we did a lot of crime would end, and gang structures break up, overall crime would plummet and I would be out of a job.

So I say never

August 14, 2011 10:23 pm

Whats the relevence of all this to defence?

Well it’s got a lot to do with security and stability of the nation, It’s not sexy and does not involved big shiney pointy fast jets, and big armoured things. But it’s still about the secrutiy of our nation.

August 14, 2011 10:28 pm


I like the Town jail idea.

But they could be more productive.

August 14, 2011 10:54 pm


Yes I familiar with a good number of those statistics. If you remember I said I believed any kid could be turned around. But experiences over the last 10 years are leading to believe that isn’t the case. And “we” are loosing the fight. Work in the inner cities. Spend a few works working in Children’s Services. Of course there has to be a holistic approach to society’s ills. But there is a time when percentages come into play. Don’t the figures suggest that criminals with recidivist tendencies make up the largest percentage of inmates? How much rehabilitation? Do we have to bring it down to pounds and pence? And considering the goal of gaol for the last couple of decades has been rehabilitation success seems to be alluding the system.

Finally nowhere did I advocate rendering UK prisons to the same level of Third World jails.

August 14, 2011 11:45 pm


Thats fine, and if I implied you were of the 10 to a cell camp I appologise.

Note I do support prison, and indeed lengthy terms in many cases, But it should as a practical reality be put to good use.

Eg Prisoners get paid more for work than going on education programmes whilst in prison, thats just stupid. The goal has been rehabilitation but the lack of money for real programmes, (a stupidly short sighted, cutting off of financial noses to spite faces), means that good work is sporadic and short term.

Criminals with recidivist tendancies do indeed make up the majority of the prison inmates, thats the point it comes down to pounds and pence.

Keeping people in prison for long periods is expensive.

I have long been a supporter of offender based sentencing, -sentence should be based on the offenders situation.

A one off fight in a bar resulting in a GBH conviction for a working lad with no previous convictons, should perhaps not lead to direct custody.

The third ABH in 5 years with a few public order in the same time, means the offender is violent little thug likely to respond to most confrontations with violence and should go to jail for some time.

BTW anyone who starts with ‘the prisons are like holiday camps routine’; has never been in one, eg they do not mention the smell… the bullying, the boredom etc. Most prisoners loose weight, it’s not down to the time they spend in the gym the food is shyte. Medical attention is a often a disgrace.

August 15, 2011 9:25 am

Fear of getting caught deters crime?

So why dont you support my idea that every looter should have been rounded up there and then?

Prisons dont rehabilitate, but whilst scum is in prison, scum cant burgle my house, nor can dead scum.

“A one off fight in a bar resulting in a GBH conviction for a working lad with no previous convictons, should perhaps not lead to direct custody.”

I came up with the idea, first none serious conviction, warning, second, jail(or a flogging?), third, noose.

August 15, 2011 2:11 pm


I deal with hangers and floggers every week, usually when their litle Johhny has got involved in a bar fight, or shagged a drunk girl at a party who is now yelling rape.

It takes no measurable time at all for them to go from, Our justice system is a liberal cluster fuck, ,all defence lawyers parasites; 5 years in jail is not enough for these perverts; etc etc


Outrage at how they and their son have been treated, my status goes from tapeworm to left hand of god. The potential sentences outrageously draconian, etc etc

Old Lawyer saying,

‘Nothing turns a red neck into a Liberal quicker than having their coller felt’

August 15, 2011 2:27 pm

“Lawyers are scum until the police are looking at you.”

Was my favourite.

August 15, 2011 5:33 pm


“The fear of getting caught” — That’s basically what De Becker was saying about stalkers/malignent ex’s hit with Restraining orders. The vast majority back down because they think they’re going to get into trouble. The small percentage unaffected were the psychos, for whom the order pushes them over the edge.


I’m not a hang ’em crowd. I used to be, till I had a lively debate with a friend who convinced me that the risk of hanging the wrong man coupled with the desperate nature that it would introduce to a nummber of criminals (“They’ll hang us for this!”) and the subsequent problems that would cause, have turned me more into a lock ’em up side.

I like the idea of a magistrate being able to lock someone away in the equivalent of a police holding cell for 1-7 days. Nice way to f**k up someones week! I’d be intrigued to see how a pilot of that worked.

In general I believe Prisons should be about boredom and quiet reflection. I would like to see criminals locked up in individual cells, the same as the police holding style cells, where they would stay for the vast majority of the day, perhaps being let out in a groups for 1 hour exercise. Their meals would be brought to them and they would eat them alone. The food should be reasonable as should the quality of medical care. No visitation rights though, but letters would be permitted. No TV, no radio, no music. They could have newspapers and some magazines, for entertainment, plus access to books (brought to the cell) of a select list. The ability to conduct some form of education while inside should be offered, such as a correspondence course etc.

I don’t want prisons to be anything other than a monotonous chore, neither especially horrid or especially easy. Just plain boring.

As for the police (and I agree this is a valid security discussion; grass roots terrorists are nearly always uncovered by the public or the police), I would like to see the police move into the 21st century and become a national institution instead of a regional one.

At the minute we have regional (county) forces that are required to deal with all elements of policing in their area. I’d like to see the burden lifted on them somewhat so they could focus their resources on things like;

– Burglary,
– Theft, (shop lifting/pick pocketting)
– Anti-Social behaviour,
– 999 Response,
– Local Armed Response,
– Intelligence gathering,

Then larger, national units would deal with things such as;

– Drugs,
– Murder,
– Rape,
– Kidnapping,
– Missing persons,
– Organised Crime,
– Gangs,
– Traffic offenses/patrol,

The goal would be to use local police to fight minor crime and help build confidence in communities, really taking the time to investigate properly various burglary incidents and anti-social behaviour.

Meanwhile the National units could focus their larger resources on the more serious issues, which often span across the borders of local forces (drugs brought into the country in Harwich don’t stay in Essex for example).

In addition they would be able to put together more “elite” national units, to be deployed wherever they’re most needed (specialist intelligence gathering, firearms units, raiding units etc)

But then that’s just me.

August 16, 2011 10:20 am

It costs something on the order of £20,000 per year to keep someone in jail.
The number killed in wrongful executions would be far less than those saved by the additonal funding available.

Its frequently stated that firearms for home defence would just make criminals kill victims more often, but this is simply not the case in places where it is perfectly legal to shoot burglars. I simply disagree that a petty thief would suddenly turn into a child killer.

Boring might be your hell, it would be mine too, but many of the people likely to find themselves in jail, well, they just arent that switched on at the best of times. Spending 16 hours a day in bed, probably not going to worry them.

National Police always worry me.
On the continent, the Police are the Paramilitary arm of the central government.
In the US, city police and county deputies work for their city/county, and can happily tell central government to go **** themselves.

The idea of the FBI is very good, but the implementation is horrific, because a lot of the law they enforce is knee jerk “something must be done”

If you hotwire a car, its local.
If you beat up the driver outside the car, steal the keys, and steal the car, its local.
If the driver is in the car though, its suddenly a federal issue.

Thats not to say I’m against national things, or super regional things, if Cheshire, Lancashire and Manchester Police want to form a joint task force for patroling the M6, ace.

But fundamentaly, I believe that should be up to the elected sherrifs of those forces.
Either funded entirely localy, or with a block grant, based on a preagreed formula, something to do with population and area.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 16, 2011 10:53 am

Hi, Chris B.

Prisoners do eat in their cells. On the only wing I’ve been in where there was a dining room, it ws unused. general meal routine is to be let out in groups, fetch your food and return to your cell.

And whether a single or shared cell is better or worse is a matter of personal preferance; though sharing a cell with a guy in a wheelchair ain’t fun.

August 16, 2011 1:47 pm


Depends on the gaol, normal population prisoners, remand and convicted, under normal circumstances did NOT eat in their cells where I worked.

When a cell was designed for single occupancy, sharing it with 1 or even 2 others, has gotta suck big style.

Dom, I think a year in nick cost’s the tax payer closer to 45,000 pounds, not 20. I was all for brining back hanging until I worked in the criminal justice system – we would hang innocent people, there is no doubt in my mind ! To me, that is not worth it, and I can assure you, I have worked with the worst of the worst in the British system for 2 years, I have worked the longest dirty protest in history, and I would happily have tossed a grenade into those cells and shut the door behind me, but our courts, CPS and police would absolutely ensure to many innocents would go to the gallows (as it presently stands, without reform) :-(

August 16, 2011 2:42 pm

I thought 20k sounded low, but couldnt find a source.

As for hanging? I can only man the barricades of three strikes and you’re out, one false conviction is possible, two false convictions are unlikely unlikely, three must be damned near impossible?

And of course, 6 months in jail on a wrongful charge would ruin my life just as solidly as a noose, I’d live my job, my house ect, and would never get another job in my field.

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 16, 2011 3:17 pm

Hi, Jed. I’ve only been in a couple of prisons, but maybe understaffing and overcrowding have become the normal circumstances since you worked in the system.

And sharing a cell isn’t that bad, although I’ve spent some time in single occupancy cells and prefered to be on my own, it mostly depends who you’re in with. I’ve had five cell mates – three good, two dicks. Though I think sharing with two people in a small cell would quickly drive me crazy.

August 16, 2011 3:41 pm

Had anyone else assumed BB was also staff rather than guest?

August 16, 2011 4:00 pm


The Home defence scenario you mentioned is a bit of a red herring. Someone goes to break into a house looking for an easy steal. Any resistance and they run in most cases, to avoid capture.

I’m talking about criminals, armed criminals, who already have the police on their tail and know that whatever it is they’ve done, they’re going to the gallows. Such criminals are more likely to fight back violently.

Please don’t confuse this with a simple home invasion scenario.

And I’m with Jed. Hanging the occassional wrong man is unacceptable in a modern society. Your three strikes example seems good on the surface Dom but in practice I think it has many flaws.

A Criminal could conduct two store robberies at knife point but without doing any serious physical harm to anyone, then end up swinging from a rope because a third case of a similar crime which ended with a stabbing was pinned on him incorrectly (possibly for political convenience by an elected sherriff?).

On the issue of national policing, I think the world has just developed too far for local police to handle anything more than local issues. Gangs for example are National in their outlook, even international to a degree. We need to fight them on that scale.

August 16, 2011 4:47 pm

“I’m talking about criminals, armed criminals, who already have the police on their tail and know that whatever it is they’ve done, they’re going to the gallows. Such criminals are more likely to fight back violently.”

But you could argue that about any sentance.
I cant imagine an armed gang would give up peacefully to spend the rest of their lives in prison. So thats “at her majesties pleasure” out the window.
But who at 20 is going to be ok with a 30 year sentance?

I’ve never tested it, thankfully, but I’m not sure what I’d be capable of to avoid even a mild prison sentance. Would I kill someone to get out of the county and away from criminal charges?
6 months in jail ends my career and costs me my home, not much left really.

The three strikes are primarily there to avoid the innocent being executed. Two armed robberies and a wrongful conviction would see someone noosed, unfortunate, but I’m not going to cry over it.

August 16, 2011 4:58 pm

Then thank god your not in power.

Life imprisonment gives criminals options. Escape, eventually. A sentence with parole options, possibly, if they give up now and plead guilty. Maybe 30 years in prison and then retirement.

The gallows gives you no options. You might as well try and shoot your way out and die in the attempt.

I’m not saying that every criminal will exercise good judgement, they got themselves into this situation after all, but I imagine a significantly increased portion of them would.

I know that 100 times out of 100 I’d rather take a 6 month jail sentence than trying an all or nothing shootout with police.

August 16, 2011 5:00 pm

On a side note, something I was planning to bring up earlier, I’m surprised (given our laws) that our country is not a world leader in the development and production of non-lethal weapons.

Why don’t we have a list of non-lethal shotgun rounds as long as your arm? American prisons have “Stinger” grenades, do we? We should practically have the market cornered in this regard.