The BBC Radio 4 Today programme reported yesterday on the rise in violent crimes and burglaries against the drop in arrests, and on a notable intervention. Sara Thornton, one of Britain’s most senior police officers (head of the National Police Chiefs’ Council), had startled the establishment with her ‘full frontal’ attack on the deployment of police resources, wasted, she rightly said, on so-called hate crimes and other trivial incidents while real crime got a free pass. Wonderfully robust or shocking (depending on whether you’re a TCW or a Guardian reader) it was not one that the PC BBC could let slip.
They pegged two interviews on it – the second for ‘balance’. The first was with Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, known for his ‘liberal’ theories about crime. After engaging in some casual casuistry – on the Home Secretary’s tweets and the Government’s need to ‘take responsibility’ for its role in hate crime – he moved on to the next part of his theory of rising crime.
‘We are never going to arrest ourselves to a lower crime society’ – never minding that we are not, and that to all appearances have given up even trying. This is why, he said: rising crimes are far more likely to be linked to underlying social problems than to the collapse in arrests. To give him his due, John Humphrys did sound a tad sceptical but that didn’t stop Garside from plugging on about the ‘intensification’ of crime as ‘public services have faced the additional strain of austerity’. Austerity, to which now can be added the further sins of violent and sexist attitudes.
Beyond the comment but ‘we’ve always had social problems’ Garside’s thesis was not challenged.
For the uninitiated into the art of Marxist liberal manipulative thinking (making everyone other than the guilty bear the guilt), it was a classic example of its kind – a response to violent crime that is as insidious as it is wrong in which ‘society’ becomes responsible for the violence while those that commit it are the innocent victims.
This has been the subject of David Fraser’s recent blogs in TCW on Britain’s surrender to violence. It is a deception, he explained, that has been repeatedly worked on the public for over five decades. His analysis, that we are reaping the rewards of leniency which has turned into a veritable licence to kill, is exactly what the BBC should have put to Mr Garside. Experience as well as repeated research flies in the face of the mantra of criminologists who have built their careers around it and never give up.
The propaganda of anti-prison ideologists, Fraser has explained, presents an entirely false analysis of the causes and cures for crime. To quote one example he has given: in 1926 when millions of British working-class people lived in conditions of abject poverty (he refers here to real poverty such as hunger, poor housing, unemployment and absence of the breadwinner owing to the carnage of the First World War, not the pseudo-poverty of the 21st century), the violent offender rate, per 100,000 of the population, was 4.4. Today it is over 1,400.
This dramatic increase is not due either to more crimes being reported (all the indicators point to the reverse). It has occurred in parallel with an increasingly lenient approach to crime and violence and a concerted effort by the state to ensure as few offenders as possible ever get to court.
Is it any surprise, he asks, that offenders have taken full advantage, and will go on doing so while the anti-prison ideology embedded in our justice system protects them from the punishments they deserve?
Just before the end of the Today programme, reason was given a moment of light. Anthony Stansfeld, the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, and David Green, director of the think tank Civitas, were invited to respond to the common sense of Sara Thornton’s reality check. They both unequivocally gave her their endorsement.
The 9am news headlines followed. Who was quoted? Richard Garside. It was time to put the far-too-sensible Thornton back in her box.