Not Saussure

November 16, 2006

Listening to the Police

Filed under: Blair, Law, UK — notsaussure @ 6:30 pm

Our Beloved Leader is very keen on listening to the police when it comes to legislation, as we learned during the debates about 90-day detention.

Last November, for example,

Speaking during a visit to Manchester … , Mr Blair left no doubt that he still hoped to secure Parliament’s consent on the 90-day proposal.

Mr Blair said: “If the police say they need this power to detain terrorist suspects for 90 days then they should have this power.

And then, a few days later, after his proposal was defeated, he said,

Sometimes it is better to do the right thing and lose, than to win doing the wrong thing. I have no doubt what the right thing was to do in this instance, to support the police.

When the police say they are fighting mass-casualty terrorism and they provide examples of why they need the powers, I think you need powerful reasons to turn round and say no to them.

Wonder what he makes of this, then, in today’s Times:

A LEADING chief constable attacked the Government’s “hairy chest” approach to law and order yesterday after Tony Blair announced a series of Home Office measures to tackle crime.

Terry Grange criticised the constant introduction of new legislation which, he said, was done without planned thinking and was based largely on the need to respond to critics.

His broadside came as the Home Office won the lion’s share of promised legislation, with proposals to address continuing public worries about immigration, crime and antisocial behaviour.

Opponents said that Britain would be the safest country in the world if legislation was the answer to tackling law and order. There have been 60 Home Office Bills since Labour came to power, including more than 30 on law and order.

Mr Grange, the chief constable of Dyfed-Powys, said: “Instead of planned thinking we get respond, respond, respond. We get into the male thing: ‘my chest is hairier than yours’ politics, which bedevils this whole arena of crime prevention.”

He told a conference organised by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College London that “ever-tougher” legislation was followed by attacks from the media, from politicians, and “inevitably” from government. “We have a risk-averse society promised absolute safety, and it cannot be delivered.”

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