We read about two girls being fined £80 each after a police officer saw them drawing on the pavement. Their local mayor intervened (breaking the rule of law?) and the fines were eventually revoked.
Today, in the Times, the police are complaining about the consequences of centrally-set targets:
Police officers are being driven to make “ludicrous” arrests for trivial incidents to bolster government targets, the new Justice Secretary will be told.
The leaders of 130,000 police officers have drawn up a dossier of “lunacy” on Britain’s streets. They say that children are being arrested for throwing cream buns and bits of cucumber while adults are getting criminal records for offences that merit nothing more than a ticking-off.
The pressure to get results is so bad, they say, that officers are criminalising and alienating their traditional supporters in Middle England and many are so disillusioned that they are considering quitting.
First, who said the following in 2005 (and has expressed similar sentiment many times before and since):
It is through terrorism that the people who have committed this terrible act express their values and it is right at this moment that we demonstrate ours.
They are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cow us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our business as normal as we are entitled to do.
They should not and they must not succeed.
He’s right isn’t he?
Answer at the end of this article.
Our human rights laws should be overhauled to protect the public from terrorists, John Reid has said.
The Home Secretary believes judges who follow the law ‘to the letter’ by refusing to deport suspects, put lives at risk.
As Britain is effectively at war with terrorists, human rights laws must be ‘modernised’ to cope with the threat, he added.
Fair enough, there is nothing wrong in principle with changing legislation.
The dodgy bit is here:
Of the threat of Al Qaeda since the September 11 attacks in 2001, he said: “We are all having difficulty adapting to this new situation for which neither the law of war, as previously defined, nor the normal civil law is particularly designed or well-suited.
“Unless we address this gap we are likely to be pushed in two competing directions. Either to look for ways around the law to safeguard our citizens
Like tax avoiders wanting to safeguard their money – something Brown is against.
… or the row all of us in the EU saw recently on rendition [referring to terror suspects flown through Britain].
There was a row because extra-judicial detention is just plain wrong (unless on the battlefield of course).
“Or, instead, to follow the law to the letter and thereby fail…to protect the public through, for example, our inability to deport terrorist suspects.”
Alternatively you could just change the law. But the Government says it doesn’t want to do that!
From the Times article, for example:
[Reid] insisted that such a move would involve a reinterpretation of existing laws, rather than a rewriting.
Let’s have a look at the BBC article:
Mr Reid said neither the law governing war nor civil law was well-suited to dealing with terrorism inspired by al-Qaeda following the September 11 attacks.
“The right to security, to the protection of life and liberty, is and should be the basic right on which all others are based,” he said.
“Now, more than ever, it should be the fundamental starting point of all our principles and practices across Europe.”
Is he calling for a special law for terrorists?
The rule of law protects our lives and liberties, it is not difficult if you give it a moments thought.
Otherwise you could simply designate someone a terrorist, and put them under house arrest.