Violence, The Police & Justice

The Dude reported last Sunday about an incident in which he was punched for asking another less thoughtful individual to pick up some litter he had just deposited on the street; the incident took place in front of a police officer.

What is most striking about this entire set of circumstances - a very obvious assault with a definitively trustworthy witness (considering that at that time in the morning the majority are buying greasy kebabs to soak up the jagermeister chasers got at last orders), a victim willing to press charges and ancillary crime commited by the perpetrator (littering) - is the fact that the authorities decided not to press charges:

"After two and a half hours in the police station giving statements, I finally got to bed at about 4:30am. The next afternoon, I discover that the assailant had been released with just a police caution. Basically he had got away scott free with punching me to the ground in a despicably cowardly manner, in full view of a police officer. There is no doubt that had I retailiated, I would have been arrested too, and the porcine presence was the reason the drunken oik didn't receive a comprehensive beating.

What is the point of the police? They demand (under threat of the full violence of the law) that you cede total responsibility for your personal protection to them. Yet they do not prevent assaults, and even when they do get the bad guy, they are more interested in obtaining a "sanction detection" for their tractor production target than obtaining justice, which is too much like hard work."

I happen to share this view; that the police have moved from actual policing to bottom-line economics; the endemic pay-per-report system they endure has neutered them of almost all real policing power.

The reasons I mention Jackart's incident is because I believe that the north has a very different way of handling these things to the south; in particular "small" justice is fast becoming the reserve of the common man - an example if you will.

I live very close to my brother; approximately half a mile. We both live on ex-council estates where property is relatively cheap and create ideal starter homes; myself and my wife bought her parents old house and my brother bought a nice little 3-bed within walking distance to be close to the family (additionally my mother lives very close by). Adjacent to our estates there is a fully operational council estate; "operational" in the sense that the majority of crime committed in our areas comes from this areas inhabitants.

A few months ago my brother had left his bike in his back yard briefly whilst feeding his dog, only to return 5 minutes later to find his locked back gate broken and open and his bike gone.

Now this is where things got interesting; my brother is super fit and so deciding that police would be nothing short of useless decided to chase the perpetrator(s) himself. Crazy as this sounds it actually worked; within 20 minutes, and despite not seeing the idiots ride off he was directed to a house in the adjacent estate where a 15 year old had just sauntered into his house with a brand new bike. Being particularly ired by this my brother walked into the front living room asked the parents where he could find their son, told them what the boy had done and was directed to the back yard and told "do what you like to him - he deserves it"; the parents then went back to their sky-1 drivel, smoking and cider. 

(Regrettably?) My brother decided to just remove the bike from this oiks keeping - regrettable since a few weeks later it was stolen again and was not found. The second time round he did report it and was told to claim on his home-insurance, reducing the police to little more than providers of crime numbers.

My point to this is who is really to blame for this injustice to Jackart and my brother? My own bike was stolen from our bike shed, the lock broken - do I blame the parent of this individual who obviously doesn't care? Do I blame the authorities for allowing such incidents to build up and up? Whilst there are many critiques of the broken window theory I still think there is some stock in it, particularly when nothing is done to prevent the windows being broken at all.

DK's covered it here and there are some very informative comments from police officers who in many cases seem to be as irritated by what is going on as we are.