Friday, June 06, 2008

Get to the point (of the knife)

In the light of yet more pointless posturing by our equally pointless Prime Minister, Strange Stuff examines the different sort of knives that have been carried in the past, all of them perfectly legally, and gets to the nub of the matter.
Today things are a little different. If you assault somebody most likely you will not be caught. If you are caught, because you carried out your assault right in front of a police officer, you will have nothing more than a wrist slap. A far greater risk than in the past. It is also the commonly held view that if you defend yourself it will be you, who has just been assaulted, that will end up in serious trouble while your assailant walks away. So many victims are less likely to try and defend themselves, again reducing the risk for the assailant. As the risks decrease it will become less than the potential rewards of unprovoked violence for an increasing number of people, so you will get more.

With the state unwilling to fulfill its duty to protect its citizens the natural, and correct, response of the citizens is to try and defend themselves. This is why there has been an increase in the number of knifes taken into schools. They are not there as tools, as in the past, but as protection. Trying to use the blunt instrument of the law against people carrying knifes will make no difference unless they tackle the root of the problem. Which is the growing feeling that if somebody actually uses a knife against you, rather than just carry it, or a bottle, or their boots, or their fists then the state will look the other way and try to ignore it because it is easier and safer to go after the generally peaceful such as motorists.

It is not only the government that has failed here, it is the police too; the response of the police to these problems is simply to ask for yet more powers to detain, search, stop, arrest and the rest. They have deliberately turned away from the detection of serious crimes in favour of hitting easy state-set targets.

The first thing that any government should now do is to simplify the law along libertarian lines and to allow the police to do the job that we want them to do, i.e. to protect life, liberty and property and, when unable to do so, to find the perpetrators. We then need the courts to impose incredibly harsh penalties.

The decision to commit a crime requires a criminal to assess the situation via a cost/benefit analysis; if the chances of being caught and heavily punished are high, then they will add to the cost side substantially—enough, hopefully, to outweight the benefit.


Jules said...

yes. robert peel set up a police 'force', not a police 'service'. it is there to enforce the law, not act as a consensual extension of social services.

pc david copperfield's brilliant book 'wasting police time' should be required reading for every MP, every civil servant and every councillor in the land.

it should also be force-fed to every member of ACPO - that politically-correct, supine, academic wank-tank full of pseudo-sociologists pretending to be 'senior police officers'. damn their eyes.

John B said...

"If you are caught, because you carried out your assault right in front of a police officer, you will have nothing more than a wrist slap. A far greater risk than in the past. It is also the commonly held view that if you defend yourself it will be you, who has just been assaulted, that will end up in serious trouble while your assailant walks away."

He's failing to distinguish between two different things here.

1) violent offenders don't get punished enough

2) because people are silly and believe tabloid lies, they believe - entirely incorrectly - that they will be punished if they retaliate

Addressing 1 through better police targeting would be A Good Thing. Addressing 2 will be more challenging - as with crime statistics, when the population holds a belief that is simply and demonstrably wrong, changing the view is like u-turning an oil tanker. Only slower and more difficult...

Patrick said...


I always enjoy your total contempt for govt's present, past or future.. However the idea that the states hired thugs are ever going to make more of an effort to find the real criminals is beyond derision.. Why would they risk their own lives to protect ours, since they have absolutely no incentive whatsoever?

These thugs are never going to lose their jobs if they fail to find or prevent an attack against you or me.. They will fall onto their pension upon retirement with the pride that they served their nation as protectors of the people… But what people?.. Their political masters of course…

As Jules rightly points out in his robust impression of our senior state thugs. They are only interested in progressing their career within the state.. They have no interest in protecting you and me against knives, rape, theft or any other manner of crimes…

The very least they could do, would be to allow people to buy guns and repeal the present human rights act.. However this still wouldn’t prevent all forms of self defence from being considered as assault or murder by the state.. Therefore I can only repeat what I have said in previous posts.. Remove all forms of govt completely and utterly, because whilst the govt hold the gun, none of us can consider ourselves safe from violence… Much rgds….

chris said...

Whether or not they are lies they are believed, and so they do make many people less likely to defend themselves. This reduces the average risks of crime. Those that do still believe that they can defend themselves therefore have to go that bit further.

The BCS may point to crime falling since 1995 (I haven't looked at the figures in detail but would guess that this has a lot to do with cheap Chinese imports and better car locks shifting the risk/reward balance of theft rather than violent crimes). but it still has a long way to go before we get back to the point when the crime rate started to explode in 1955.

Bastards, all of them said...

Look, it's bloody simple

If you get caught with a knife on you that you cannot explain, you are charged and get a criminal record for carrying an offensive weapon. As was the way when I was a nipper.

The difference being that a criminal record would stop you getting a good job, going to university, owning a decent house and the distain of your peers. In other words, a shite life.

Nobody cares today because the State will give you a reasonable life even if you are a murdering peado as long as you vote for them now and again. And don't the hoodie feral scrotes know it.

Bring back a deterrent and the problem will go away. 5 years in a Borstal in a cell with big Leroy (no PS3's, no gym, no pool table and no telly) and the word WANKER tattooed on their foreheads when released. No benefits upon release and no access to any funding other than a job cleaning the toilets at Glastonbury or clearing road kill from the A12 on a hot summers day. Dressed as a ballerina.

Give the choice back to the scrotes. Do what you want but take the responsibility if you choose the wrong way. At the moment there is absolutely no reason why anyone shouldn't carry a knife. So they all do.

I'm just itching for one of the little cunts to try and happy slap me. I'll cut the fucker in half and send his parents the cleaning bill.


People are DUMB said...

V said...

I always used to carry a knife when I was a teen in the 80's - damn useful for everything - however, with growing up, stopped doing so by the mid 90's.

Last year, I got a lovely present from a relative, a beauty of a titanium pocket knife, with a serrated edge, and a 4 inch blade. Ideal for everything that I used to use a knife for as a kid. Anyway, I started carrying this knife everywhere, realizing that there is a very, very small chance that the coppers are ever going to stop and search me - I wear a suit and am balding!

Unfortunately, this habit of carrying the knife got so bad, I forgot to leave it at home when I went to Spain on a long weekend.
Would you believe that neither the security searches in Manchester or Barcalona picked up my knife, packed away in the front pocket?
They didn't spot it on the way back either!!

The only thing stopping us carrying knives is our perceived idea that we will get caught - but obviously, this isn't happening.
The law might well state that any sharp item is illegal to carry, however, no one has asked to check my pockets since I stopped going to nightclubs!

So, maybe its time we started giving the Chavs a reason to be fearful - after all, we are paying for them!

Anonymous said...

Ah! Here we go again with the same contradictory views of the police.
On the one hand they are lilly-livered ersatz social workers, on the other they are mindless thugs. Which is it exactly?

Also what new powers are the police asking for then, Devil? If they suspect that someone is carrying a knife then they have the power to search them. You want the police to taker a firmer line, the only firmer line they can take is doing random searches with no reasonable suspicion. I suspect that if they did this then you would be out of your pram again.

The police detect plenty of knife crime, supine cowards that they are :rolleyes:, and oversaw a 15% reduction in knife crime in the capital over the past 12 months. The problem is that home office guidelines dictate that people found carrying knives are cautioned. Now that cyclops has has made such a fuss, insisting that the police ignore previous home office guidelines to caution and adopt new home office guidelines to impose sanction detections where does that leave us? Are these knife carriers now going to add to the already over burdened prison population? I doubt it. It will be community service and probation orders that the little lambkins will inevitably fail to comply with. Once breached, it will be down to guess who to track them down, put them before the court again so that the whole tedious futile process can start all over again. Of course, if police don't put in the effort to locate and arrest them, then watch the public outcry. If police do divert resources into tracking and arresting people for breaching community service order then they will get a kicking for turning away from investigating real crime.

The police haven't created this mess, I think we need look no further than the welfare state for that. Still, they have always been a useful blame-hound for every social ill going.

Devil's Kitchen said...


"Also what new powers are the police asking for then, Devil?"

I was thinking particularly of the couple of extensions of detention; the successive extentions to detention without charge have all been backed by Sir Ian Blair (to name but one) and we were told that it was, in fact, the police who were asking for them (not that I don't take what our politicians say with a pinch of salt).


Patrick said...


I do believe I called the 'state thugs' to be precise...

Rob said...

"We then need the courts to impose incredibly harsh penalties."

First we need to build more prisons. It is incredible and incomprehensible that our entire political class shares the same taboo over this.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking particularly of the couple of extensions of detention

Aren't you conflating different issues here, Devil? Stange_Stuff's blog post refers specifically to knife crime and makes no mention of terrorism. I don't see any evidence of the police demanding more powers in respect of knife crime.

I don't think anyone would oppose the principle of the police protecting life and property. However there is an immutable law at work here. More protection from crime can only come at the cost of adopting anti-libertarian principles. It seems to me that this is a zero sum game, increased protection from crime inevitably results in a decrease in privacy and liberty. Taking things to the extreme, the Police can guarantee your safety and property rights by shadowing every person 24 hours a day. The price of this is a total state intrusion. The police can free you from state intrusion by withdrawing from all police activites. The price you pay is increased risk of being a victim of crime. Obviously there is a balance that will be acceptable to most (but certainly not all) people. I just don't see how you can increase the police chances of catching criminals without a commensurate loss of some form of freedom, be it increased taxes to fund more police, or a loss of your general liberties. ID cards will definately increase the chances of the police catching crimmies or reducing crime...but the cost in terms of loss of liberty is too high for some people (including me). There point is that the cost/benifit analysis cannot be applied to the crimmies in isolation. The crimmies chance of being caught increases only through the reduction of the freedom/privacy of society as a whole.

Trooper Thompson said...

People these days don't seem to be able to distinguish between carrying a knife and stabbing someone or threatening someone with it.

Like V above, I carried a knife when I was a kid. I never stabbed anyone or even contemplated it. It was a useful tool, no more than that.

Besides, we have a right to self defence.

Budgie said...

Anon 05:54pm said:
"ID cards will definately increase the chances of the police catching crimmies or reducing crime..."

Oh, yes, and how exactly will that work?

"The crimmies chance of being caught increases only through the reduction of the freedom/privacy of society as a whole."

So in the 1950s, when crime was a fraction of what it is now, there was more state intrusion in peoples lives, 42 days detention, a national ID database?

The only way to police properly is to get the police out of their tin cans, out from behind their desks, and on foot so they can relate to, and empathise with, the public. That way they might become more human and stop criminalising the intentionally law abiding public because it's easier than catching real criminals.

Anonymous said...

So in the 1950s, when crime was a fraction of what it is now, there was more state intrusion in peoples lives, 42 days detention, a national ID database?

Compulsory National ID cards were still in use in the 1950's, I'm sure that if the technology existed then they would have gone on a database. There was no 42 days detention no, but then there was no international terrorism either. What there was, however, were the "sus laws" and "Judges Rules" which allowed the police to lock up suspe cts over the weekend in order to "sweat" confessions out of them.

The only way to police properly is to get the police out of their tin cans, out from behind their desks, and on foot so they can relate to, and empathise with, the public

It's all very well getting police out of cars, but how many officers are there out there? How many staff can they put out on a shift? In my local town, population of 80,000 population I believe that there are 6 officers per shift. Put them out on foot and they would probably be able to cover the town centre. If you are in an outer district, 5 miles from the town centre and heaving your head kicked in, would you be happy to wait the requisite hour for the officer to job to your assistance? Even if you disbanded all of the specialist units such as CID, Child Protection Units, Computer Crime, Dog Handlers etc and put everyone our walking the beat, chances are that there still wouldn't be enough officers out there on foot to make much difference. If you are victim of a serious crime, then, in the absence of CID, who is going to investigate with any effectiveness? You seem to imply that the Police have no empathy with the public.

The fact is that we live in a high crime society, I don't know of any academic study that concludes that this is the fault of the police. In the 1950's you didn't problems such as international terrorism, computer crime, Large scale fraud etc and the crimmies were less mobile than they are today. In addition problems such as child abuse, domestic violence and suchlike were generally overlooked.
Forensic evidence didn't extend much beyond fingerprints. The expansion in forensic knowledge also needs to be serviced by the police.
The demands to shift police officers out onto foot patrol is just another knee-jerk reaction more readily associated with panicky governments. It's take no account of the nature of modern crime. It seems to be based on the argument that in 1950s there was less crime but more detections and linked to the fact that most police officers did foot patrol. I'm sure that if we re-introduced "sus laws" and abolished PACE (which protects civil liberties) then the police would detect much more crime. But is the "cost" worth it?

Spent Copper said...

Hi all. I am an ex-policeman who spent 10 yrs in the Force during which time I was a PC, PS and authorised firearms officer. Can I make some suggestions? I think that we should consider the following:

1. Scrap the current 43 Force structure for England and Wales and base each police Force on the local County or City (or town with > 250,000 residents ) it serves, so that Policing becomes locally based rather than Government mandated.

2. Appoint a democratically elected Sheriff with responsibility to the County or City who would:
a. Appoint Chief Officers of Police.
b. Run the Prisons within their area responsibility, transferring these away from the Home Office.
c. Appoint the Probation Officers and set policy for the local Probation Service.
d. Look after the resourcing and administration of the Courts in their area of responsibility.

3. Scrap ACPO and Bramshill Police College. Reform Police training to recognise that the nature of Policing is that is a practical job requiring personal qualities rather than an academic mindset.

4. Dispense with the notion that only someone who has been a career Police Officer can be a Chief Constable. Actively recruit individuals of proven Leadership ability and give them the power to hire and fire any of their employees, uniform or civilian, whom they see fit to.

5. Go through our legal data base with a fine tooth comb and scrap all those laws which are not essential. Ie, move towards the principle of having few laws, which are rigorously enforced.

6. Dispense with the notion that the application of our Laws should take into account the background of offenders and enforce the principle of equality before the law. Repeal the so called 'Hate' Crimes.

7. If someone who has come into this country as an immigrant commits an Arrestable Offence (ie for an adult on first conviction the maximum punishable is 10 years imprisonment or more) then automatic deportation for non-UK nationals should follow.

8. Abrogation of the concept of Human Rights in English Law.

9. Apart from the broadest guidelines, there should be no interference in sentencing by courts. Do away with automatic early release for offenders. End the almost automatic presumption of bail and acknowledge that it is for the Custody Sargent to decide whether or not bail is granted - subject to the right to appeal.

10. Return to the concept of Unit Beat Policing with, as far as possible, Police Officers required to live in the areas which they police and be required to perform their duties on foot. Note however, the very important stipulation that adequate mobile back up is available on the hurry up if required. Return to the villages and small Country towns we have abandoned.

As an aside, I know that Polly Toynbee has sneeringly referred to this a waste of police resources with officers perhaps encountering a crime in progress once every 5000 years, but I can tell you from my experience that there really is no better way to get to know an area and the people who live and work in it.

Budgie said...

Anon said: "Compulsory National ID cards were still in use in the 1950's"

Clarence Willcock was stopped on December 7 1950 but refused to show an ID card to the police.
From BBC "When Willcock v Muckle eventually reached the High Court in 1951, Lord Chief Justice Goddard said the continuation of the wartime ID card scheme was an "annoyance" to much of the public and "tended to turn law-abiding subjects into law breakers".
So for most of the 1950s there were no ID cards.

Anon said: "I'm sure that if the technology existed then [ID Cards] would have gone on a database."

I don't see how you can be sure - computer databases did not exist, and the fact is 1950s IDs were not put on one.

Anon said: "You seem to imply that the Police have no empathy with the public."
I not only implied it, I said it.

I endorse Spent Copper's post. He makes excellent points with reason and experience.

Trooper Thompson said...

Spent Copper,

you make a lot of good points. I totally agree with your first point about elected officials and local forces etc, but, to quibble, I think the court system should be separate, and reformed along the same lines as the police - namely a locally elected magistrate.

The law overall should be and could be massively simplified. The criminal code for instance need not stretch further than one side of A4.

While I'm at it we need the American Bill of Rights in force, grand juries etc

Bishop Brennan said...

Spent Copper makes a lot of very decent points. I don't know enough about policing to know whether or not that they are 100% right (although my prejudice says so), but he and others like him seem to be the right people to listen to, rather than utter tossers like Lady Ian Blair.

Inspector Gadget writes an excellent blog about the problems facing his force as a result of NuLabour's crap policies. It ought to be compulsory reading for the tossers that make policy in Whitehall... DK - I think we ought to invite him to propose policies on policing for LPUK (and Spent Copper too, if he's willing).


Jules said...

in response to the comment that the police "have not created this mess."

the rank and file haven't, true.

ACPO and the government have created this mess - the government for applying ridiculous, politicised state targets to detection (crime is not like tractor production) and ACPO for their total inability and disinclination to push back against shoddy, ill-thought out and unworkable policies penned by dangerous cretins.

Why? Because the Home Office is still stuffed with leftist social engineers, led by yet another Home Secretary woefully out of their depth. And an ACPO stuffed with too many politically correct and process-driven 'officers' who think that 'the beat' is a Ska band from their sociology days at polytechnic - as opposed to the central tenet of law enforcement.

The utter cunts. It's enough to make you weep.