By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to call the police because your house has been burgled, the most likely outcome is that the criminals will not be apprehended. Only 6% of burglaries a year are solved by police across England and Wales - a pathetically low detection rate which almost gives carte blanche to criminals to keep calm and carry on.
In the opening credits of the comedy series Porridge, Norman Stanley Fletcher was described “as an habitual criminal, who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard, and presumably accepts imprisonment in the same casual manner.” Today, ‘Fletch’ would never have been caught and would never have been sentenced to five years in Slade Prison. Although I have thankfully never been the victim of a burglary, to describe it as a “victimless crime” is insulting to those who may never feel safe in their homes again.
The list goes on and on. If your car is stolen, don’t expect to get it back - at least not in one piece. If someone steals your mobile phone, the crime will never be investigated.
But even when criminals are apprehended and are taken to court, the punishment invariably doesn't fit the crime. This is from the Lady Margaret local policing team in Ealing.
A suspended sentence for such a horrific crime is hardly going to deter others from doing something similar. And these were police officers who were assaulted.
During a meeting I had over a decade ago with Tim Hollis, the then Chief Constable of Humberside Police, I remember him telling me that he liked nicking villains. He was an old-fashioned police officer who was determined to make all of us law-abiding people feel safer. That was his job, and it is the job of every police officer in the country.
If the Conservative Party has any claim of being the 'law and order' party (which I no longer think that it has), Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman will have to make sure that the police focus on investigating crime and keeping our streets as safe as they possibly can be.
But if sentencing remains as pathetically weak as it was in the case above, Britain will remain lawless.
Photo Credit: Paul Harrop