It’s not just criminals who carry knives


1:34 pm - March 18th 2010

by Unity    


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Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to receive a review copy of Spirit Level films’ excellent new documentary ‘The Fear Factory‘, which I promise I’ll get around to reviewing for Lib Con sometime in the next few days.

In anticipation of that review and in keeping with my recent post on dodgy election leaflets, its been brought to my attention that the Lib Dems have been actively fear-mongering is some of their recent leaflet, the most egregious of which has to be this effort, which is being delivered to households in Haringey.

Why they don’t just go the whole hog and stick out a leaflet featuring Freddie Kruger and Jason Voorhees I don’t know but for what its worth the leaflet makes the following claims:

One in five thugs who are caught carrying a gun or a knife are let off with a caution. This news once again exposes Labour’s complete failure on crime.

Gordon Brown’s Roll of Shame:

– One in five criminals caught carrying a weapon only get a caution
– Only one crime in a hundred ends with a punishment in court
– Two violent crimes committed every single minute

A little over 18 months ago, a friend of mine left work at about half past six in the evening and started to walk home.

He managed to walk only about 40 yards or so from his workplace when he was stopped by two PCSOs and subjected to a search, during which he was found to be carrying a Stanley knife.

As a result of this, he was issued with a fixed penalty notice for £80.

According to leaflets like this, my friend is both a ‘thug’ and a ‘criminal’, after all he is one of the one in five who ‘got off’ without being dragged in court after he found to be carrying a knife.

As you might well have guessed already, there’s an important detail I’ve yet to mention that casts this story is a somewhat different light, and that detail happens to be the nature of his place of work…

…A local hardware store and builder’s merchants.

My friend isn’t a thug and he certainly isn’t a criminal. He’s was just unlucky enough to forget to take the Stanley knife he uses as work out his pocket on a day on which he ran into a couple of PCSOs on a day who were were on the make and looking for any opportunity the could find to dish out a few tickets.

In fact, he swears to this day that the two PCSOs actually watched him leaving the shop and that that’s the only reason he was pulled over and searched – after all he’s in his late twenties and was wearing his normal work clothes at the time.

So my question to Lynne Featherstone, in whose constituency this leaflet is being delivered is…

Would you like to explain to be my friend exactly why your party is calling him a ‘thug’ and ‘criminal’?

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About the author
'Unity' is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He also blogs at Ministry of Truth.
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Story Filed Under: Crime ,Libdems ,News

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Reader comments


Tomorrow on “dodgy statistics versus anecdotes”… 😉

One could ask the same question of the named printer, Neil Williams, who is a Lib Dem Haringey councillor with a blog.

The worst bit of this shameful shit-crock for me is where it says:

“Fear of crime has now soared under both Labour and Tory governments.”

FEAR of crime has soared? You call yourself a liberal and you’re offering that as a REASON for something? You utter, utter cretin. You deserve all the bad publicity you get.

I tend to think there should be a separate election…kind of like the razzies with the Oscars, for most audacious leaflet/poster campaign.

I’m seeing Lynne tonight – I’ll ask her for you

Lee:

I’m relying here on William James’ famous statement on black and white crows as justification for throwing in an anecdote 🙂

Now, Alix, be fair. The public’s perception and fear of crime is important too, and it’s right to do something about it.

Not printing scaremongering leaflets would be a start.

Oh, that’s confusing. Just to be clear, the Toms at 4 and 6 are not the same person. I may need to come up with a proper unique username.

One could ask the same question of the named printer, Neil Williams, who is a Lib Dem Haringey councillor with a blog.

I could indeed but then I’ve always taken the view that if you kick the guy, or woman, at the top of the pile, they’ll do all the necessary kicking of underlings for you, giving you the maximum reward for the minimum of effort.

Received Liberal Democrat literature containing quotes from the News of the World, the Times and the Daily Telegraph. Emailed Nick Clegg, etc questioning how this would encourage me to vote for them. Literature also says that only they and not the tories or other parties can beat labour where I am!

Ah, I see. Efficient. And, er, a little bit sinister.

Stupid laws + stupid coppers = ?

Just one Stanley knife? My friend was carrying an entire roll of knives… he’s a chef. He was told he should have left them at the kitchen. He asked if them if they knew how much proper balanced chefs knives cost.

He didn’t get a fine, or a caution; yet again another example of Labour’s lax policy of these thugs.

My understanding was that PCSO’s only had powers to stop and search under Terrorism legislation.

He should dispute the ticket.

I thought there were exemptions for people who had them for work reasons, like chefs, as long as they carried them in an appropriate fashion?

@Pagar, 13 – Depends on what they said to stop and search. Section 44 only applies to a certain area for a certain time but ‘reasonable suspicion’ is always allowed.

@tim f, 14 – I think it’s the old “reasonable cause”, but then again as above you’re expecting the police or PCSO’s to actually know the law.

Unity,

“I could indeed but then I’ve always taken the view that if you kick the guy, or woman, at the top of the pile, they’ll do all the necessary kicking of underlings for you, giving you the maximum reward for the minimum of effort.”

Typical top-down socialist… 🙂

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

More to the point, does anyone else suspect the Liberal Democrats are searching for a clear message at the moment? Even by their normal dishonest leaflet standards they’re doing a bad job at the moment, which is presumably because they have nothing to push in the ideas stakes?

17. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

Now, Alix, be fair. The public’s perception and fear of crime is important too, and it’s right to do something about it.

No.

To expand on DOTW’s concise response, if anything needs to be done about the fear of crime, it is to convince people who fear crime that doesn’t exist that they are wrong to fear.

If people are fearful of crime that does not exist to the extent they think, it is not possible to deal with that fear by cutting crime.

19. Shatterface

‘No’

I think you missed Tom’s joke.

Unity, agree with Alix that that sort of leaflet is just, well, crap. However, playing advocate…

Where does the leaflet call him a thug?

In addition, if he accepts the fixed penalty then a) he’s admitting guilt and is therefore, de facto, a criminal, and b) he’s not “getting off with a caution”, therefore he doesn’t fall under the 1 in 5 anyway.

It looks to me like he’d have a strong case to appeal the ticket; he uses the tool at work, but it’s his personal tool, you’re allowed to carry personal equipment to and from work as long as you do so carefully; this includes chef’s knives &c.

If he can’t, (or couldn’t, you don’t date it), then there’s a problem with the legislation and law. So I guess you’ll need to blame the party in power for not fixing that law then, and making your friend a criminal by stupid legislation.

LOL – Neil Williams unexpectedly left a pile of leaflets on my doorstep to deliver a few days back.

I’m not a LibDem but since my real interest is in smashing the two party state I am usually happy to deliver for them in first past the post elections. (Whereas in the London/EU PR elections I have delivered both Green and LibDem leaflets.)

As usual, I looked at the leaflets before delivering them to see whether there was anything I took particular exception to. Happily, this piece of tosh about knives isn’t one of them. 🙂

BTW Unity, Neil’s always struck me as a nice bloke and so – as far as I know – seems fairly unlikely to do the kicking you suggest on your behalf. 😉

This shows a major problem with the fixed penalty system.

He does have the right to appeal the penalty to the magistrates court, and it’s very likely the case would be dropped or he would be aquitted.

The problem is, for an £80 ticket, he would then be risking a two year prison sentence. How likely is very likely to make it worth doing that? This is essentially the American plea-bargain system, where it’s always better odds to plead guilty.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Unity

    RT @libcon: It's not just criminals who carry knives http://bit.ly/8XKIBU – I wonder if @lfeatherstone would like to respond to this

  2. Liberal Conspiracy

    It's not just criminals who carry knives http://bit.ly/8XKIBU

  3. Therese

    @lfeatherstone @neilwilliams66 @nick_clegg RT @libcon It's not just criminals who carry knives http://bit.ly/8XKIBU

  4. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by libcon: It’s not just criminals who carry knives http://bit.ly/8XKIBU





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