January 17th, 2009

Turning Worms?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Is the worm turning in terms of sentencing guidelines, specifically in relation to burglary?

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has ordered courts to dish out more prison sentences for burglars, particularly those who transgress new guidelines.

His Judgeship has said that courts should recognise the serious consequences on victims who suffer intrusion in their homes no matter how little is stolen as the home should be “our safest refuge“. He said “The principle which must be grasped is that when we speak of dwelling house burglary we are considering not only an offence against property, which it is, but also, and often more alarmingly and distressingly, an offence against the person.”

In 2007, of the 25,547 burglars sentenced by courts, only 9,237 received a prison sentence & one in six received just a caution.

Of course we’ve heard all this before but we’ve never really see anyone doing anything about it. It will be interesting to see if the courts take any notice. They’ve been told that if any of the following factors are present in a burglary offence then a prison sentence should be expected.

  • Force used on, or threatened against the victim
  • Trauma to the victim beyond the normal consequences of intrusion and theft
  • Premeditation, professional planning and organisation
  • Vandalism of the premises
  • Deliberate targeting of any vulnerable victim
  • The presence of the occupier at home
  • Theft of, or damage to property of high economic or sentimental value

So there we have it.

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  1. Weary says:

    Billy Burglar laughs at the Police. I would too if I were in their position. When we finally link them to a job that’s an absolute stone bonker, we invite them to TIC (taken into consideration) the rest of their jobs. For those of a non-Police persuasion, that means we ask the courts for permission to stay in Police custody for a few days whilst they get driven round their local area pointing out places they’ve burgled. They suffer no additional penalty for these crimes. The Force lives this because when they admit all these burglaries, all of these crimes are detected and our figures improve massively. Billy Burglar gets a breath of fresh air and all the McDonalds meals he can comfortably ingest, rather than sitting in a 10″ by 5″ chamber pot in prison. The victim gets nothing. Naturally, whilst the offender is being driven round by three detectives, they’re not actually catching bad boys or doing anything positive. I once pointed all this out to a Detective Inspector who was very keen on the whole TIC thing. He suggested that victims felt better because it often happens that victims suspect that family members are responsible for the burglaries and that TIC’s prove that this is not the case. I pointed out, respectfully, that this is complete b*llocks and that on the occasions when relatives of mine had suffered burglaries, it wasn’t my impression that they thought I had broken into their houses – they thought burglars had done it. I was then invited to step outside for a harsh talk about my disrespectful attitude.

    The bottom line is that when we catch burglars after a spree series, they generally get sentenced to 3 to 4 years. Out in 18 months, after an opportunity to clear their heads, play some computer games, work out and generally get their s**t together. The present sentences are a joke.

    January 17th, 2009 at 22:21

  2. MarkUK says:

    I’m glad that at least it’s being talked about by the Lord Chief Justice. If it wasn’t being discussed, then it wouldn’t happen, for sure. The thought is father to the deed.

    Mind you, I’m not sure about one of the criteria. “Trauma to the victim beyond the normal consequences of intrusion and theft” is not covered by intent, and our system of law is based on mens rea – the intent. Billy Burglar could not be expected to know how much trauma his act would cause.

    The rest of the criteria are fine by me. I would also suggest that being under the influence of drink or drugs should be an agrievating factor, not a mitigating one.

    January 17th, 2009 at 22:37

  3. Tony F says:

    “Trauma to the victim beyond the normal consequences of intrusion and theft”

    Excuse me, but does ‘normal’ mean, once or twice a week, or once in a life time?

    If someone is within anthers property without consent, surely that criteria is filled?

    January 18th, 2009 at 00:12

  4. Paul says:

    I’m sure it’ll work as well as the 5 year minimum for knife work did.

    January 18th, 2009 at 08:18

  5. Michael says:

    So, Police won’t be giving any more cautions for these offences, then?

    Wait until I stop laughing please.

    January 18th, 2009 at 14:20

  6. Ben says:

    Can’t blame the courts for the 15% who only got cautions, can we.

    January 18th, 2009 at 21:04

  7. Plodnomore says:

    I have heard that Lord Judge made that order after the house of a very good friend of his was turned over, though don’t know if it’s true or not. If it is, I wouldn’t really be surprised as the judiciary normally don’t bother about us mere mortals.

    January 19th, 2009 at 17:51

  8. Fee says:

    My friend was burgled recently – her major trauma was finding the guy in her hallway. Well, on the floor in her hallway. With her Staffie on his chest, growling and snarling. Apparently, five stones of protective dog has no problem knocking down six foot of drugged-up waster! When the Police arrived (in an impressive six minutes) they greeted the bloke by name. He’d been let out of the ‘Big House’ that very morning, after serving several whole months for a series of burglaries to fund his habit. She was left with the distinct impression that the policemen fully expected to nick this guy on a regular basis for the rest of their careers.

    At least serious time in prison would keep them out of other people’s houses for a while.

    January 21st, 2009 at 20:21

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