Treat yobs like the criminals they are, says former Met boss


Treat yobs like the criminals they are, says former Met chief
By John Steele, Home Affairs Correspondent
(Filed: 23/05/2005)

Violent and persistent teenage offenders should be punished more like adults and less like children, Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan police commissioner, said yesterday.

He called for "an entirely new level of law" to lower the age of criminal responsibility.

Lord Stevens: new laws
Juveniles, he said, "cannot be allowed to get away with continually breaking the law simply because of their age".

In a hard-hitting article, in which he accused the Government of failing to tackle juvenile crime, Lord Stevens said the new law might still "make allowances for youth" but could punish youths "severely as knowing, acting criminals".

The Government, he said, should build "lots more" secure units to lock up juvenile offenders.

Lord Stevens who ran the Metropolitan force for five years until last January, made his comments in the News of the World.

He said Tony Blair should personally lead an official inquiry into juvenile crime - a system which was "broken" - and urged the Government to consider lowering the criminal age of responsibility.

Mr Blair has promised that tackling yobbish behaviour will be a central aim of Labour's third term, eight years after his first administration put youth crime at the centre of its agenda. Lord Stevens offered 10 steps for dealing with juvenile "yobbery" - a "raging social cancer tearing away at Britain".

"Is it realistic to treat drug-dealing, carjacking, drunken, violent 16-year-olds as children any more?

"Are those 12-year-olds with dozens of criminal convictions who swagger out of court waving two fingers at police really too young to know right from wrong?

"Are they the 'kids' those laws were designed to protect? No, they are not."

What was needed, Lord Stevens wrote, was a law "placed between the old juvenile and adult levels of criminal responsibility - a mid-level, perhaps, between 14 and 18 where we can still make allowances for their youth but can still punish them severely as knowing, active criminals.

"We must remove them from the community and prevent them [breaking the law]."

Lord Stevens said his view of youth crime had been deeply affected by the murder of 10-year-old Damilola Taylor.

Research resulting from that case was said to have shown that in every London borough there were 20 to 30 "feral children" running wild and committing large numbers of offences.

However, he stressed that, once locked up, young people should be given education and work such as painting public buildings or digging old people's gardens.

He rejected the suggestion, mooted by Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, that offenders should wear orange boiler suits. "They should wear sober but distinctive clothes which make it clear what they are doing."

Parents should help supervise the work of teenagers in custody and there should be centres on housing estates for people to consult a permanent police team.

Lord Stevens called for tighter discipline in schools and new offences to tackle crimes such "happy slap" attacks - the capturing on mobile camera phones of vicious assaults.

He said that hoods, if worn to hide a criminal's identity, were "as much a criminal tool as wearing a mask" and should receive extra punishment.
Amazing how they only come out with sense like this after they've retired..... :roll:
Absolutely spot on, Stoatman. Why didn't he try to push this through when he was at Scotland Yard? They're all the same.

No doubt Mike Jackson and his ilk will be attacking the infantry re-org when he's a civilian non-executive director somewhere, and the army is getting the snot kicked out of it in some Third World toilet in five year's time.

What goes around cums around. Or words to that effect.
My youth in the sixties saw the relaxation of accepted social standards, the "swinging sixties".
Now UK and old Europe is getting into a social system that just cannot work, long time.
Too much so called liberty and not enough responsibility. Time will cure, the Fatherle ss will becum B'stards they always where and the sluts who breed them will learn a responsibility when the fruits of the loins desert them.
The problem is that to fix this epidemic of criminality will require a very brave government, which we haven't got and have no prospect of in the immediate future.

Stoaty's 5-point Plan:

Build more prisons
Enforce the existing laws
Lock people up for longer
Stop prisons being like holiday camps - bring back uniforms and hard work.
Corporal punishment for minor offences (ask the Brit who was caned in Singapore recently whether he's going to do what he did again - he told the press he damn well wouldn't!)
Stoatman for el presidente! :D

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