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Anorak | Star Chamber

Star Chamber

by | 10th, September 2003

‘ANYONE would have thought that the United States was a crime-free Arcadia judging by the enthusiasm of us Brits for stealing policing and judicial policies from the other side of the Atlantic.

Iain Duncan Smith and Oliver Letwin announce their new anti-crime initiative

Zero tolerance, three strikes and you’re out, unlimited detention without trial are just some of the aberrations to flow from the New World to the Old.

But when we last looked, not only did the United States have one of the highest crime rates in the developed world, but it had the highest prison population and some of the most repressive and illiberal criminal legislation.

Would it not make more sense to look, say, towards Scandinavia which has far lower crime rates than the UK and a far smaller prison population?

We say this because the Guardian reports this morning that the Tories’ response to news that Home Secretary David Blunkett is importing a US cop to teach the British bobby how to administer Rodney King-style beatings is to call for directly elected US-style sheriffs.

Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin will air the proposal at a meeting with police today.

‘We are determined to let the stimulus for such policing come from local populations rather than from above,’ he will say.

Of course, this may be just an excuse to allow Iain Duncan Smith to fulfil a childhood dream and pin a star to his suit jacket.

However, the chances of him being able to say ‘There’s a new sheriff in town’ remain as slim as Calista Flockhart on an Atkins’ Diet.’



Posted: 10th, September 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink