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January 14, 2007

Blair and Super ASBOS

And joy it was in that very dawn to be alive:

TONY BLAIR is to mount a final assault on Britain’s thug culture by introducing restrictions that will curb potential yobs’ movements even before they have committed an offence.

After attempting to tackle antisocial behaviour, he is proposing to introduce a “violent offender order” (Voo) targeted at those whom police believe are likely to commit violence.

These new “super-Asbos” will be aimed not only at people who have a history of violent behaviour or who have just left prison but also those who may not yet have committed an offence.

So, there you are, Burberry encovered, tattoos rampant, wandering down the road with a can of Stella or the like. Copper comes up to you and says, you know, I think you migh commit a criminal offense at some time in the future. Would you like to come along with me sir?

Off you go and:

Like Asbos, the police or probation service would apply for the orders to the civil courts, where the threshold for proof is lower than in a criminal case. The document says the process will therefore be much quicker and hearsay evidence will be permitted to obtain an order against a suspect. Any breach of the order would be a criminal offence.

What, after they've got this order, can they insist you must do?

...the measures will ban potential trouble-makers from certain areas or mixing with certain people, alert police when they move house and possibly force them to live in a named hostel, give details of vehicles they own and impose a curfew on them. The orders will last for at least two years, with no upper limit. Any breach could lead to up to five years in jail.

So, you've actually done nothing wrong at all (perhaps something against the rules of good taste with that outfit but we haven't actually put Trinny and Susannah into power just yet) and the State, on the balance of probablities, including hearsay evidence, can insist that you move out of your house, move towns, probably lose your job....wonderful isn't it?

A report out today, by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies in association with The Sunday Times, reveals that almost half of the offenders caught by police are getting away without a court punishment,

That's an extremely dodgy statement isn't it? How do we know that someone is an offender unless they are tried and convicted in a court?

And have you seen the list of things that might qualify you for one of these orders?

The paper identifies a series of “risk factors” that could lead to a person being targeted for the new order. These include a person’s formative years and upbringing, “cognitive deficiencies”, “entrenched pro-criminal or antisocial attitudes,” “a history of substance abuse or mental health issues”.

Factors could also include a person’s domestic situation or relationship with their partner or family, as well as more obvious signs such as “possession of paraphernalia related to violent offending (eg, balaclava, baseball bat), or extremist material”.

So, let's run through that shall we? Formative years? Well, I'm an ex-public school boy, obviously not OK in this day of all inclusive education. I have cognitive deficiencies clearly, as I happen not to think that the EU is the salvation of all our souls. I most certainly have entrenched pro-criminal attitudes as I call for an end to the absurdity that is the War on Drugs (those who currently consume are criminals are they not?) and as for anti-social, well, I did call for the public lynching of a Cabinet Minister. Possession of a baseball bat, yes, I do have one (a sample from a manufacturer of one made out of our Al Sc metal) and a balaclava, yes, got one of those. Extremist material? I have some UKIP stuff on my computer and the Leader of the Opposition calls them fruitcakes and loonies.

Yup, I obviously qualify for one of these orders. Should I hand myself in do you think?

Or rather more importantly, do you think that overturning the basic and essential concept that every man is innocent until proven guilty is sufficient justification for a bloody revolution?

Anyone have a copy of the old Soviet legal code? I'm sure (from Gulag) that there's something in there about being jailed for having anti-social tendencies.


S

January 14, 2007 in Law | Permalink

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[Hat tip: Tim Worstall] The Times reports: TONY BLAIR is to mount a final assault on Britain’s thug culture by introducing restrictions that will curb potential yobs’ movements even before they have committed an offence. After attempting to tac... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 14, 2007 8:32:55 PM

Comments

First they came for the Chav...

Posted by: Kit | Jan 14, 2007 11:21:36 AM

Quite.

"Gypsies and Travellers are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act 1976, together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language and values, including white and black people."
http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/TransportAndTravel/Travellers/default.htm

OTOH this is what Wakefield Council knows from experience:

"Para 2.3 In the year 2003 Wakefield MDC had 71 separate incidents of unauthorised camping, 68% of these were on Local Authority owned land. On every occasion when Travellers moved onto council owned land Wakefield MDC offerred them alternate accommodation on the permanent travellers site. On every occasion this offer was made, it was declined."
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmselect/cmodpm/633/633we24.htm

Posted by: Bob B | Jan 14, 2007 12:32:05 PM

This is some scary shit. Just when you think the Government's assault on civil liberties couldn't get any worse they come out with something like this. Good on you for posting about it.

Ian

Posted by: Ian | Jan 14, 2007 8:07:14 PM

I note this from the Times article:

"Ministers believe police will apply for 300 to 450 Voos each year."

So the alternative headline for the article is:

"Ministers expect over 300 people per year to get "super ASBOs" without needing to have done anything illegal".

Posted by: James Hammerton | Jan 14, 2007 8:37:46 PM

Ooops, I realised my alternative headline above should read "Ministers expect the police to apply for super-ASBOs against 300+ people per year, without those people needing to do anything illegal", to be fully accurate.

Posted by: James Hammerton | Jan 14, 2007 8:45:53 PM

This is truly the end of liberty in the UK. Once this measure is introduced the people of Britain will no longer be free citizens, they will have become subjects of Blair's police state. The question is: is this really aimed at potential thugs or is it aimed at known dissenters of state control? Will it be used against people campaigning about ID cards? Will refusing to carry an ID card be classed as having a "cognitive deficiency"? What about those who don't recycle enough (by the state's definition) or who drive SUVs despite all that David Milliband says? Aren't these clear anti-social attitudes?

This measure undoudtedly has the potential to be used against anyone the state considers to be a threat to it (rather than the people of Britain)or is just a plain nuisance.

V for Vendetta anyone?

Posted by: Paul Buddery | Jan 14, 2007 11:39:39 PM

"Once this measure is introduced the people of Britain will no longer be free citizens, they will have become subjects of Blair's police state."

As the late Dr Goebbels used to say, "Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear."

Posted by: Bob B | Jan 15, 2007 3:13:06 AM

This madness has to be stopped, before we are all criminalised.

I put together a scenario of everyday life under the new laws and super database.
http://tinyurl.com/yjtd7f

Posted by: IanP | Jan 15, 2007 8:04:48 AM

Oh, I would've expected the Times to greet this by announcing on their front page something along the lines of:
"Blair proposes abolition of habeas corpus", see page 12. I overestimated them, they didn't even manage a decent title for their article.

Who needs a constitution with this kind of press corps?

Posted by: TG | Jan 15, 2007 2:44:07 PM

This latest move towards 'Super Asbos' is perfectly in line with our degeneration into a society actually worse than a '1984-type' hell, because it's not just a marxist police state, but one which seems to have a percentage of the ruling 'elite' either sick in the head, or raving mad.

New Labour has set out to systematically destroy everything which held the country together - morality, high standards,a belief in personal freedom & free speech, religion, racial, national, and cultural pride, discipline, marriage, the family.
Then, having done its best (with some success) to populate the country as much as possible with a mass of greedy, selfish, unhealthy, ignorant, ill-educated,immoral & unprincipled, liquor-sodden and drug-dependent rabble, now finds it 'necessary' to monitor and interfere with every aspect of its life, and bring even private opinion & thought under the Law.

Our Thug Culture (like so much else wrong with 21st C Britain) is a creation of Labour's disastrous social engineering programme. We are all partly to blame for allowing to remain in power a Party which doesn't even bother any more to hide its intentions.

Posted by: L Grey | Jan 15, 2007 4:03:21 PM

Very good stuff, Tim. You've put your finger on the Blair-Reid-Blunkett trade-mark: 'lock 'em up before they've done it, don't wait until they have.' The persecution of people for what they are judged likely to do in the future is the essence of Blair's new proposed Violent Offender Orders, Control Orders, ASBOs, the sectioning provisions of the new Mental Health Bill (which permits mentally ill people who can't be treated for anything and who are merely judged to be capable of harming themselves or others in the future), keeping offenders in jail long after they have served the punitive part of their sentences because they are thought liable to re-offend in the future, stigmatising and harassing people who have committed offences overseas and paid their debt to society for them, deporting foreigners semi-automatically after they have served their sentences -- all part of the same syndrome. It used to be said (misguidedly, but not wholly irrationally) that if you had done nothing wrong, you had nothing to fear. Not any more! You have plenty to fear even if you haven't done anything wrong -- yet....

Brian
http://www.barder.com/ephems/

Posted by: Brian Barder | Jan 16, 2007 3:13:07 PM

"Who among us had not experienced its all-encompassing embrace? In all truth there is no step, thought, action, or lack of action under the heavens which could not be punished by the heavy hand of Article 58."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"Everyone is guilty of something." Lavrentiy Beria

Posted by: Paul | Jan 17, 2007 3:29:10 PM