The law needs a shake-up

Barbed wire and razor wire
Nope - can't use this

I’ve had a bit of a conversation on Twitter with John about this, but 140 letters at a time isn’t something that can do this subject justice. To start with the back-story:

Leah and I went out on Friday night. By the time we got back, some kids had got around the back of her flats (as they frequently do) and managed to smash the waste pipe coming down from the abck of the building. End result – **** all over the back area, flies all over, stench and no way we could use our bathrooms until it was repaired. At 10pm, no DIY places were open so short of a 24-hour (i.e. expensive) plumber, we were screwed.

These kids have caused damage in the past. The back window’s been broken more than once. Not just cracked, but completely smashed out of the frame. This lets them into the stairwell where they shelter and grafitti. And urinate. Rubbish is all over the back area. Bins have been set alight.

In all, not pleasant.

But what can we do about it? I asked the policewoman who came out to check the damage. The answer, effectively, is “bugger all”.

Go back thirty years and broken glass at the tops of walls was commonplace. I know we had it in the house I grew up. Forget it these days. Any prospective burglar or miscreant who cuts themselves will sue you. Same goes for burglar-proof paint, barbed wire or anything of that ilk. Hell, put a fence up and if they fall off it then you’re looking at a civil suit.

I can’t video them. Well, a CCTV camera only covering the communal area is fine. But as soon as said camera starts focussing on individuals then it’s a potential breach of the peace. Same goes for still photography. Hence we can’t identify them too closely and leave it to the police to go chasing them, even though these kids are known to them.

Apprehend them? Don’t be so stupid. If I lay a hand on one, then it’s potential assault. Detain them until the police arrive and it’s anlawful imprisonment or even kidnap. Don’t think of attempting to place someone under citizen’s arrest (even if you’re an off-duty peace officer) unless they’ve guilty of at least a serious assault or robbery.

Incidentally, the police are very unlikely to bring this fact up. However, should the little ****… I mean kid… or their parents complain then the police are obliged to caution you and the rest. You’re chancing it – decent parents will likely accept their kid has done wrong and be more interested in sorting them out. However, the kind of parents who let their 12 year old get pissed up and vandalise property on a regular basis are hardly likely to do this. They’re more likely to spot a chance to get someone else into trouble and possibly wangle some cash out of it.

Now, John’s responses to these points were that if you could withhold someone then anyone could grab anyone else and say that the detainee had damaged their property. The question you have to ask is why would anyone do this? Why catch someone who’s not guilty and detain them?

As things stand, all the police have to go on is your memory and a description of someone. They then have to locate that person, arrest them and get you to identify them. By that stage, the miscreant may have legged it, or at very least got a story sorted with a third party. Then it’s your word against theirs.

By catching them in the act and detaining them, you’re ensuring they can’t sort out an alibi, get rid of evidence or quite simply vanish. I appreciate that policing is the job of the police but as the law stands, right-minded citizens can’t even help them.

These are shining examples of the law being on entirely the wrong side, protecting the accused (not guilty – we still have due process to undergo) and making life incredibly difficult for the wronged.

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Damo

you’re also forgetting the problem that the CPS will probably not do anything about it as trials are expensive.

other option.

You give me a bell, I’ll pop up there with a cricket bat and jobs a good ‘un. Plus you can say – “I nevewr knew who did this”.

Amy

yeah, the law in Aussie is as **** as over there. The other day some 14yo bully kicked and bashed a younger kid, the policeman who detained him gave him a pretty harsh verbal lecture at the station. It obviously wasn’t the first time!

The brat managed to tape the conversation and is now screaming abuse! The f***wit media jumped right on board and now the policeman is moved to another department and is being questioned. I thought WTF??? it’s so ridiculous i don’t know where to begin.

And on the news a few days ago, some transgendered people are suing their doctor for carrying out the surgery while they were mentally unstable, or so they claimed.
No one takes responsibility for their own actions anymore. Makes me so sick!

Sonja Crocker

Hear, hear! I totally agree. Here in the US, people will sue for just about anything. It has gotten so out of hand it is just unreal.I have a friend who teaches 9th grade (15-16 year olds) in a bad neighborhood. Several of the kids in her class act up constantly. She even has one boy who jerks of in class weekly. She has “written him up” several times. Then, she got into trouble for writing so many referrals (notes that go with him to the principal and then go into his permanent record). The teacher was told that she had poor classroom management skills. How can she manage a classroom where she can do nothing to those who make teaching impossible? Man, what are these countries coming to? Grrrr…. You have given me more Blog fodder. Thanks Mosh! 🙂