Tuesday, August 21, 2007


A member of a gang that, despite having been served with ASBOs, terrorised a housing estate pleads guilty to murder:

Greater Manchester Police said that the gang had spread “havoc and intimidation” among residents, leaving them too frightened to testify.

One shopkeeper, who declined to be named, said: “Whilst we are all thankful that the gang has been broken up, it’s very unfortunate that it took a big tragedy for it to happen.

“We would be broken into all the time and people’s cars would be stolen and set on fire. They were swaggering around thinking they owned the place and we were put through hell.”

Inspector Jonathan Clarke said: “I think the fact that Stanway has been convicted of murder has sent out a few shockwaves to those who used to look up to him and his associates.”
The Inspector could use a few shockwaves himself; if the police had done anything effective to protect the residents of the estate, a murder would not have been committed. It's a perverse view of policing that waits for a murder to be committed before crowing over the eventual sentence.

Another such gang member currently serving a life sentence for the murder of headmaster Philip Lawrence is told he will not be deported after his release because such deportation would breach his human rights:
... lawyers for Chindamo argued that the attempt by the Home Office to deport him to Italy, where he had not lived since he was 5, breached his human rights.
I think the lawyers were right. Chindamo is an Italian national and any deportations within the EU, where there is freedom of movement, often without passports, for citizens, are of dubious practicality and legality. What's more, Chindamo has lived here long enough. Deportation would be quite different to, say, deporting a recent Somali immigrant who shot a police officer. In the latter case, I think deportation is in order regardless of the dangers the deportee might face in Somalia.

But what unites both of these cases is a scenario where gangs of kids have been permitted by the police to run amok, terrorising and stealing, until their behaviour escalates to murder. They are just kids - even gang members can be children - and have been betrayed, just as much as the victims, by lax policing. A clip around the ear, or even a good kicking, from a police officer would have saved lives - the lives of the victims and also the lives of the culprits who have now to live in prison or under licence for the rest of their lives.

Effective zero-tolerance policing would have saved lives.

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