This is an introduction to David Fraser’s account of Britain’s surrender to violence, Licence to Kill, on which he will be blogging over the next few days.
David Fraser has long been a heroic voice against the moral cowardice and progressive ideology that grips our failing criminal justice system.
Leo McKinstry – Foreword: Licence to Kill
Violent crime has surged yet again in Britain this year. The official data released in July comprised more record-breaking statistics of the sort that are far from a matter of pride, and show us to be beyond question one of the most criminally violent countries in Europe.
Knife crime is at a seven-year high, as are homicides involving sharp objects. Hospital admissions due to assault by a sharp object are 22 per cent higher in 2016/17 than in 2014/15. This year looks to be following the same trajectory.
On release of the figures in July there was much breast-beating and warnings of a ‘public health emergency’, of an ‘epidemic of violence’ followed by claims that the country is ‘sleepwalking into a nightmare’.
Indeed it is, and so it will continue to do so while talk of ‘public health’ disguises the real crisis, which is a breakdown of social order. Furthermore it has not come out of the blue. Criminal intelligence analyst David Fraser argues that it is a nightmare we have been sleepwalking towards for years, and is one of our own lenient making. This is the thesis that underpins his latest book, Licence to Kill, the result of six years of research. It comes as blast against the institutionalised excuse-making and soft justice for which we are now paying such a high a price.
First, he contends that the great and the good of the criminal justice system have uncritically fallen for the myth that prison does not work. Yet, as he demonstrates, jail sentences are the only way of keeping the public safe while so-called community punishments are nothing more than a licence to offend, or more likely to re-offend. The injustice meted out to those robbed of their lives by violent criminals freed by the state provokes, he says, the minimum of fuss and is soon conveniently forgotten. Fraser’s book is an attempt to remedy this.
He takes his keen eye to government crime statistics and provides irrefutable evidence of a dramatic rise in offending over decades that officialdom has turned a blind eye to – or simply surrendered to. In one shocking statistic, he reveals that there are now 15 times more ‘acts of wounding and endangering life’ a year than there were in the 1950s, that decade that the metro-elite so casually sneer at.
And whatever one’s moral view of the death penalty, Fraser’s point that the rate of homicide has doubled since the abolition of hanging cannot be ignored.
One of the main themes of the book is the chasm between the ‘liberal’ political establishment and the British citizenry – mirroring Brexit – over attitudes towards crime. As for the Crown Prosecution Service, he pulls no punches: ‘No organisation could have done more to make the lives of criminals easier’.
He also highlights a major concern of mine – the phoney (treatment) war on drugs that I have observed and documented myself, which David calls ‘the enormous, self-serving, self-perpetuating medical social bureaucracy’ created to treat (and from my observations to maintain and perpetuate addiction) drug addicts. His description is accurate.
In the first of his posts, starting tomorrow, he will address official denial about the true level of crime in the UK and why he believes what is officially announced may be dramatically underestimated. In the second he will discuss Britain’s creeping leniency – the Leftist handwringing narrative of exculpation which sees the offender’s behaviour driven not by selfish or brutal impulses but by poverty or inequality – until the criminal has morphed into the victim. David examines the evolution and impact of this misguided ‘social malaise’ theory.
In the third of his posts he will look at solutions, central to which are tougher, longer sentences.
No doubt the lofty theorisers of the Left will roll their eyes and raise their hands in horror at his analysis and commentary. But they would be wise to show some humility. They are not the ones paying the price of their compassion. Leniency is easy for those who make the law. Their lives are in the main protected from the growing barbarism of our streets. That cannot be said for the poorest in society who run the gauntlet of violence every day.
David Fraser worked in the Probation Service for 26 years and as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst for 10. He’s been researching and writing about crime and sentencing policy since the 1980s.