Tuesday, December 19, 2006

...if we believe that crime is falling then...

on an almost monthly basis the executive trumpets it's own excellence. the herald will run a piece on how brilliant jackie mcconnell is or the daily record will inform the scottish people that the evil tories will undo all this great work and reduce the country to some kind of hell hole.

one of those monthly gems is that crime is falling, and is below pre-1997 levels. the Y campaign doesn't normally believe such nonsense - just like the campaign doesn't believe in tooth fairies or the bogey man. but going the way of the ignorant and innocent for a moment let us accept jackie mcconnell's soothsaying wisdom and agree that crime is falling.

why is it falling? more police - community wardens don't count. better detection - susan mckay and the fingerprint fiasco!? more criminals in prison ergo less on the streets? well, no, actually. the truth is more criminals on the streets and less in prisons.

thanx to annabel goldie (the leader of the conservatives in the scottish parliament) we know this not to be true. criminals in fact seem to find it easier to avoid jail than at any point in history.

after a series of robust questions tabled in holyrood the executive was forced to admit the following - as described in annabel's words:

"Changes in the bail laws... mean that a presumption against bail where the accused was charged with a serious offence has been replaced by a presumption in favour of freedom... In 1999, just three people were granted bail on a murder charge. By 2004 that figure had risen to 55. It is a disgraceful state of affairs and no wonder there is a mood of despair at the justice system’s seeming inability to protect the public... Earlier this month we heard that the number of people charged with rape who have been granted bail has doubled since 1999/2000 (133 to 270 in 2005/6).

"You do not have to prove you deserve bail anymore, it is virtually gift-wrapped to anyone. Quite simply, that should not be the case."

could it be that jackie is soft on crime, soft on the causes of crime? or perhaps it's all the echr's fault and the executive is simply following european directives? either the situation is disgraceful. if it is the fault of europe then the executive should have balls to stand up to brussels and refuse to adopt laws that make our streets less safe, that endanger people's safety or very lives. if it's simply jackie and co. being soft on crime then they should be ashamed of themselves and quit in disgrace.

if we believe that crime is falling then the executive is a disgrace.

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