March 14th, 2009

Where’s me shank?

Posted in The Job - General by 200

With all the calls for mandatory prison sentences for those who choose to take a knife onto the streets, it’s interesting to see someone speaking out against mandatory sentencing. Especially as that someone is one Alf Hitchcock (sic!), a Met deputy assistant commissioner who heads the ‘Tackling Knives Action Programme‘.

He said, “There is a difference between mandatory sentencing for knife crime & the sentencing for gun crime. With guns, someone has to be within certain crime networks & know how to get hold of one.

“With knives, you are talking about a weapon that is easily available – every kitchen drawer has one – & the circumstances under which they are used can be quite varied.

“You might have a 16-year-old carrying out robberies in a gang environment. That is someone who deserves a serious sanction. But there might be a 13-year-old boy who is being bullied at school & stupidly puts a knife in his bag. Under mandatory sentencing, they both would end up with the same sentence.”

To a certain extent he does have a point.

It’s a shame that we can’t just trust the courts to decide on a fitting sentence in each case. The problem being that most people seem to get treated like they are an innocent 13-year-old bullied schoolboy rather than a gangster, with sentences to match.

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5 comments

  1. Annette says:

    I have read so many times about how disappointed you are with the sentencing after a court case, and I must admit, so am I.
    Sometimes they get community service and they are the ones you don’t want back in the community.
    Other times, they get a prison sentence and you know they will be out before they’ve served half of it.
    Why don’t the judges think about this when sentencing?

    March 14th, 2009 at 13:45

  2. Tony F says:

    Let’s be honest here, until the Bobbies on the beat are given back their discretion, the bullied school child will face the same treatment as the thug. This sends out too many wrong messages, and points out the inadequacies the current system. The bullied child should just have a word in their ear, the thug, lock up for as long as it takes.

    March 14th, 2009 at 15:02

  3. pchawkeye says:

    The Courts have ample sentencing at their disposal but are constrained by our wonderful Government from actually implimenting them. I remember when I first joined the job back in ’71 looking forward to putting thieves away for 12 yrs and handlers for 14 but then read the ‘daily bullitins’ where active criminals on our patch were detailed, some had previous for Robbery, burglary violence and theft some for manslaughter and even murder …. but here they were still walking the streets, I couldn’t believe it.
    I was told numerous times that what happened to them after we put them before the court was none of our concern, maybe not but it sticks in the throat when we take these scum out of circulation only for the system to let them go again so soon.
    One thing I did notice was Magistrates had a better grasp of what life was like on the outside where as High Court Judges appeared to have lost touch completely with reality. There were some good ones,I remember a scroat barrister asking the judge to consider a term of months rather than years for his guilty client, judge said Ok, your client will go to prison for 36 months.To another who had been bleating for an appeal, ‘Is your client aware i can increase this sentence? I’ll adjourn while you have a word with him.’

    March 14th, 2009 at 17:55

  4. MarkUK says:

    I regularly carry a knife. It’s a Swiss Army knife that I was given when doing some project work in Switzerland.

    The blade is nearly sharp enough to shave with (I was a Scout and that’s how we were trained to keep a knife). However it’s all of 2¼” long.

    I am much more likely to use the bottle opener, screwdriver, toothpick or tweezers than the blade, but it does come in useful sometimes.

    The knife resides in my pocket, inside a leather case.

    Would I deserve a mandatory sentence for carrying it?

    March 14th, 2009 at 21:28

  5. CJ Nerd says:

    It should be possible to frame a law to address the “bullied schoolboy” problem.

    IF you’re caught with a knife
    AND you’ve got convictions for robbery or violence
    THEN you get a mandatory jail sentence.

    Otherwise it’s discretionary.

    Ok, that might need further refinements, but it can’t be beyond the wit of man to frame a law that would distinguish between a habitual criminal and a fearful victim doing something stupid.

    March 15th, 2009 at 01:48

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