Global Views
   Middle East & Africa
 Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
The British Government Passes the Buck Again
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
The UK home secretary, Alan Johnson

The UK home secretary, Alan Johnson, has blamed police in Leicestershire for the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter, Francesca Hardwicke. Speaking publicly this week, he accused Leicestershire police of having an unacceptable “mindset” which caused the failure to tackle the anti-social behaviour which led to their deaths.

In October 2007, following years of abuse from a group of anti-social neighbours, Ms Pilkington drove to a secluded lay-by with her 18-year-old daughter Francecca, who had a mental age of three, and set fire to their car, killing them both.

In his statement, Mr Johnson went on to criticise the senior police officer in the Pilkington inquest for saying that low-level anti-social behaviour should be dealt with by local authorities and was no longer a police matter. “It is ludicrous and ridiculous,” he said. “It’s completely inexplicable how a police officer could say that, but it suggests there is a mindset there.”

Mr Johnson’s remarks have provoked criticism from the Police Federation, which represents officers on the front line. It’s Vice-Chairman, Simon Reed, said, “The Government cannot have its cake and eat it. They introduce initiative after initiative and expect the service to plough resources into it, without considering the negative impact it may have on other policing functions.

“They introduced neighbourhood policing teams, who in the main deal with low-level disorder including anti-social behaviour, but fill these teams with community support officers who have no powers and experience to effectively deal with the problems.

“Anti-social behaviour is not just a policing problem – all agencies, whether it’s the local authority, schools and parents, must play their part.”

Such an approach would be welcomed on the Hateley Heath housing estate in the West Midlands, where one resident said, “Kids were lighting fireworks and throwing them into people’s gardens just the other night while their parents sat in the garage with the door wide open, drinking and smoking and just watching them. I can’t believe they didn’t stop them.”

Simon Reed has said that a new “zero-tolerance” policy is needed to deal with the problem of anti-social behaviour, with sufficient police officers on the streets and a criminal justice system which “actually does something” about offenders when the police bring them to justice.

These are wise words from someone representing those in the firing line in these situations; the ones who have to deal with this every day as the Government makes their jobs ever more difficult. These police officers don’t sit behind desks in expensively furnished offices, with expense accounts that allow them to pay £1,000 for a chest of drawers, or to pay for gardeners. These police officers are not distanced from the problem because they live on plush private estates. These police officers are in the thick of it, every day, doing the best they can with increasing pressure upon them and a government that cries to them, “Do more! Do more! And do it with less money and fewer resources!”

Mr Johnson did have the grace to concede that the Government were at least partly responsible for the tragedy. Speaking at a Home Office briefing in London ahead of the launch of a new anti-social behaviour policy, he said the Government should accept responsibility for not being “focused” on the issue. “I think we have cruised a bit on this,” he said, “because we were tackling issues like counter-terrorism. We let the focus slip.”

Perhaps Mr Johnson might also concede that he is being somewhat hypocritical in his criticism of the police and his use of strong language such as “ludicrous and ridiculous”. His comments make clear that the Home Office is every bit as much to blame as Leicestershire police. He admits that they were “cruising”, that they had “let the focus slip” on the problem. Isn’t that what the police did? So why should they be singled out for such strong criticism? Surely the blame should lie with each of them? In fact, as an agency controlled by the Home Office, shouldn’t the Home Office accept full responsibility for the tragedy?

I fear that is a little too much to ask. Ours is a Government that firmly believes in the adage, “Where there’s blame, there’s a scapegoat.” Unfortunately, in such matters as these, that scapegoat is always our criminally undervalued and over-pressured police forces, who are already operating with one arm behind their backs. The way things are going, they’ll soon be operating with their legs broken too.

In the meantime, they will take this latest criticism on the chin and carry on trying to do the best job they can. I do not say they are blameless, and I know there are bad eggs within the police force, as there are in Government, the armed forces and just about any organisation you can mention. However, before Government ministers start leaping in and criticising the departments they are responsible for, they should remember what they say about people in glass houses ...

Related Articles
    Derek -- Simply Brilliant
    Dara O’Briain -- The Gentleman Comic
    Fear of Flying: My Morbid View of Airline ...
    The Growth of Medical Tourism in the UK
    Funny Boy
    Anger as Carlos Tevez Appears to Refuse to Play
    Shadow Chancellor Outlines Five-Point Plan for ...
    Broken Hearted: What Do You Say?
    President Obama Weighs-in to the Japanese ...
    The Beautiful Game: Memories of When My Team ...
    Shake It, Baby!
    Student Protestors Riot in London
    The Amityville Horror
    The Blitz
    British, US Soldiers to Do Marathon Run for ...
    Horse-trading with People’s Lives
    Is It the Future or Just a Fad?
    The Price of Failure
    You Know He Was British, Don’t You?
    The Drug Problem in United Kingdom
    Capitalism: How Free Does It Really Make Us?
    Rogue Afghan Soldier Kills 3 British Soldiers
    Blair’s Guards’ Expenses under Scrutiny
    Britain’s Hidden Disaster
    Referendum on Electoral Reform to be Announced
    The Mediterranean Diet
    Shame! England, My England!
    To Hell in a Handcart
    It’s Not Easy Being an England Fan
    Cumbrian Gunman Kills 12
    Rooney Is Greatest Player World Has Ever Seen
    Video Games: PC Vs. PS
    More Injury Woes for England
    England Team Banned from Using Twitter during ...
    Gareth Barry in Race to Prove Fitness
    Forgotten Couple Still in Hands of Somali ...
    England 3 – 1 Mexico
    England Captain, Ferdinand, Expresses Concern ...
    President Obama Looking for Spending Cuts
    British Airways Obtains an Injunction to ...
    Hedgehogs and Plumbers
    Britain Has a Hung Parliament
    Is It Being Destroyed by Too Much Money?
    Video Games: A Community Divided
    Video Games: They’ve Come a Long Way
    Gordon Brown Forced to Apologise over ...
    Why British Monarchy Is the Best in World
    How Many Wives Did Henry VIII Have?
    Annual Leave? I’d Rather Stay, If That"s All ...
    Plea of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s War Crime Victim
    The Family Way — Divorce
    UK Flights Grounded by Volcanic Ash
    Deadly Italian Train Crash Kills 6
    The Rise of Nationalism in Britain
    When America Sneezes the World Gets a Cold
    Oil Companies Continue to Rape Planet for ...
    Snow in Spring Brings Chaos to Parts of the UK
    Bureaucracy Strikes Again
    Darling Targets Election Victory with Safe ...
    The Child Bride Problem Is Still Alive and Well
    Terrified Emergency Call of a Woman Whose Car ...
    Achilles Tendon Injury Ends World Cup Dream
    CSR – Genuine Principle or Marketing ...
    Continuing Turbulence at British Airways
    Teenager's Murder Highlights Dangers of ...
    UK Election Juggernaut Begins to Roll
    War Families Anger at MoD Bonuses
    Cameron under Pressure over Lisbon Treaty
    Resignations Follow the Sacking of ...
    Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet
    Tony Blair Ready to Stand for EU Presidency ...
    Debates Continue as Queen Weighs in to Row ...
    Protests Greet Nick Griffin’s Appearance on ...
    21 Environment Protesters Arrested in England
    Everything Must Go As British Government Sells ...
    Boyzone Star Stephen Gately Dies
    Is David Cameron Even Capable of Honest ...
    The Tragedy of "Heaven's" Child Brides
    Elite – The UK’s Higher Education System
    Why Can’t I Hate Barack Obama?
    The UNCRC – The Convention That Dare Not ...
    The Tragedy of Child Brides

Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange