First Double Jeopardy, now the presumtion of innocence.

Ok so this story isn't quite on the same level as the Government scrapping double jeopardy in order to bring two men to trial for the killing of Stephen Lawrence after already being found innocent, but it does make a mockery of another tradition of British justice, this one being the presumption of innocence until found guilty.

Police vow to 'strike fear' into Lancashire burglars
POLICE have vowed to ‘strike fear’ into suspected burglars by filming them and visiting them at their homes as part of a major crackdown.
Officers will visit Lancashire’s top 30 burglary suspects, execute search warrants and increase high-visibility patrols in hot spot areas.
Suspected offenders will be filmed at different times of day and night to remind them they are being watched.

And police will form a ‘ring of steel’ around the county by using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to target criminals travelling into Lancashire.
I'm not one to stand up in defence of toe rag burglars. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who breaks into another persons property is fair game for the noisy end of a shotgun. My problem with this is the repeated use of the word 'suspect' and the police's insistence that they will be harassing people based on their belief that they may break the law.

I am also wary of the 'ring of steel' of ANPR cameras that will be recording the movement of all of us, not even just the 'suspects'.

Preventing crime, such as the high vis patrols is certainly a good thing, but following people around and filming them is a whole other thing.

For one, I don't trust the police to only target those people who have definitely committed crimes. If the cops don't have enough evidence for a conviction, how can they have enough to ensure they are targeting the right people?
Secondly, we've all seen how annoyed the police get when you attempt to film them, yet there are many situations where they believe it is perfectly alright to film innocent members of the public.
A similar operation in July 2009 saw 440 people arrested, almost £300,000 of stolen property recovered and more than 200 search warrants executed.
Police seized 141 vehicles and visited more than 5,000 suspects.
In excess of 6,000 suspects were stopped and searched, and officers visited 880 second hand shops to search for stolen property.
So the cops visited or searched over 11,000 people yet only made 440 arrests. How many of those were convicted, we don't know.

If anyone reading this has been burgled, please let me know how long it took to get a response from the police and how much of an interest they took. Also, was the burglar ever caught?

Judging from the accounts I have heard, car theft and burglary gets little more than a crime number for the insurance from our police.

Maybe the police could properly investigate such crimes rather than following folk around with a handycam. And maybe the courts could start dishing out some proper sentences; jailing those who burgle houses rather than setting them free and keeping the prison places available for old people who can't afford their council tax.
People can follow the police activity on Twitter @LancsPolice and on hashtag #OpJulius.

2 Comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Legal Technicality said...