Saturday, September 26, 2009

Senior Police Officer = Senior Social Worker

No matter what happens at street level, where the decisions get taken the sociology grads are totally in control :

Police try to avoid sending anti-social youths to prison because it increases the chances of them reoffending, an inquest into the deaths of a mother and her disabled daughter heard today.

Superintendent Steve Harrod, head of criminal justice at Leicestershire Police, was giving evidence at the hearing into the suicide of Fiona Pilkington, 38, who killed herself and and her disabled daughter two years ago. Ms Pilkington, 38, died after setting fire to her car while she and her daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, were inside. An 11-year bullying campaign by local youths had made their lives intolerable. Months before, Ms Pilkington had written in her diary that she had given up trying to call the police for help, because they thought she was “overreacting”.

Earlier this week it emerged that Ms Pilkington had called police 33 times to complain about the abuse but none of the gang members, including the main problem family about whom police were informed, were prosecuted.

Mr Harrod was then asked by a juror: “If a youth above the age of criminal responsibility commits a crime, why is the criminalising of juveniles a consideration? If they commit a crime do they not bring the criminalisation upon themselves?”

He replied: “From a police point of view, what we want to do with any criminals is to prevent reoffending. From my personal experience, if a juvenile goes in to detention, they are likely to mix with like-minded people during their time there and they are more likely to reoffend. I think for new police officers this is all part of their training and for older officers there is a transition. But once you recognise that if you go to charge, and then the offenders come out of prison, you see them in the cells again and again.”

The badly burnt bodies of Ms Pilkington and her daughter, known as Frankie to her family, were discovered in October 2007 in the family’s blue Austin Maestro at the side of the A47 near their home. For more than a decade the family had been subjected to daily torment from local youths – some as young as 10 – who routinely shouted abuse and hurled objects at their house. At one point Ms Pilkington’s son Anthony, now 19, was threatened with an iron bar and locked in a shed at knifepoint. Earlier, the inquest was told social services were aware Ms Pilkington had been experiencing “suicidal thoughts”.

I blogged this case two years ago, and the reality turns out to be just as heartbreaking as I thought. Frances Crook and the Prison Reform Trust - and the BBC, of course - are doing a cracking job.

UPDATE - more from the spectacularly useless Steve Harrod :

At the inquest into the pair's deaths yesterday, Superintendent Steve Harrod, head of criminal justice at Leicestershire Police, acknowledged that the criminal justice system was set up to avoid sending juveniles to prison. He said police officers were only allowed to issue warnings to young troublemakers unless their behaviour was judged to be serious.

"I'm not sure if people know but low-level anti-social behaviour is mainly the responsibility of the council"

UPDATE - more torture in the community. If this had happened sixty years ago it would have been front page news. That's two rape/torture convictions in Greater London in the last three weeks that the BBC have failed to report. Is a pattern developing ?

The boys, two aged 17 and the other 16, approached the 14 year old victim and took her to a flat in Bromley on October 24 last year. While there the girl was raped and her hair was set on fire. An investigation was launched by Lewisham police and officers obtained mobile telephone footage of the suspects tormenting the victim with a cigarette lighter. Detective Constable Darren Sonnar said: “This was a particularly harrowing case".


Anonymous said...

The difficulty is maintaining a rational personal response to this. This is the sort of injustice which causes radical revolutionalry events in a society. It may be that those of who us who feel this way -they know - are a helpless minority - I hope to God from the bottom of my being and soul that we are not. There has to be a reckoning. Scum - in uniform and out.

JuliaM said...

"Scum - in uniform and out."

Not all of them, even at senior officer level. You only have to read a few police blogs to realise they are mostly as fed up of having their hands tied as we are...

Hugh Oxford said...

By coincidence I was speaking to a medical student this morning.

He explained to me that first year medicine is divided into "Strand 1" - clinical and scientific, and "Strand 2" - social and cultural.

He said that in first year, an equal amount of time is spent on both. He and his fellow students are heartily sick of having their time wasted in this manner.

It does however reinforce your assertion that "No matter what happens at street level, where the decisions get taken the sociology grads are totally in control".

But what do you do with so many fundamentally unemployable middle class graduates? They have to so something.

Anonymous said...

Similar incidents, with similar perps and victims, are happening all over Europe.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rob said...

Harassed, bullied and tortured for eleven years. ELEVEN FUCKING YEARS. Can you believe that?

Can you believe that tosser of a copper who doesn't want to send young thugs to jail "because they re-offend"? They re-offend because they are young thugs! If you had jailed these tossers then at least these poor women would have had some respite, even if it was a few months.

The authorities (i.e. the police) didn't give a shit about this for ELEVEN YEARS. Tell me, why do we need more police officers? Really, why do we?

Lazy fucking workshy cowardly socialist tossers.

Rob said...

"But what do you do with so many fundamentally unemployable middle class graduates? They have to so something."

Those ditches won't dig themselves.

Anonymous said...

Heres another gang rape
Last week..

Are these things happening more often or just more reporting?

The Kusabi said...

JuliaM - sorry but your faith in the rank and file police is misplaced. They might whinge about their hands being tied but that wouldn't stop those very same ones from arresting the likes of Ms Pilkington if she'd dared raise a hand to the thugs tormenting her.

Seriously, do you think they would stop and think about, 'hey, these thugs have been tormenting this poor soul for months, years, and all this time my colleagues have been telling her to draw the curtains and try to ignore them. Now one of them has rushed up to me screaming and shouting that she's asaulted one of them. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't exactly go and arrest her as fast as I can',

That sort of compassion wouldn't even cross their minds. Then afterwards they'll mouth some platitude about 'we are duty-bound to investigate all complaints and that's why we had to arrest her',

The police are yob-assisting bastards, and the ones who say 'our hands are tied' are the biggest bastards of all, because they're blatant liars.

Rob said...


I agree.

Anonymous said...

"They re-offend because they are young thugs!"

It can't be said often enough too. They re-offend because they are not in prison.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, guys. Alan Johnson is on the case and will be enuring that the "core Labour business of looking after communities" is fully addressed.

Martin said...


That Bromley case seems reminiscent of a French 'tournante'.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the interesting fact in all this, the admission by the police officer that if he'd known all the details of this tragic case, he could/would perhaps have bumped it up into 'hate crime' status (or whatever he called it), in which case the police would have then taken it much more seriously....

Anonymous said...

If the police ignore youth crime for any reason will that not make them have better statistics. The young commit a large chunk of crime.

Anonymous said...

When I started high school in 1963 we children were terrified of some of the staff. If the school received a complaint of misbehaviour by school pupils the head master would investigate, identify the offenders and cane them. If they continued to offend he would continue to cane them until they stopped offending. By 1964 the progressive agenda had taken hold, championed by Tony Crossland and, if my memory is correct, assisted by Shirley Williams. Within five years school discipline was destroyed and the system to control aggressive children without resorting to the law had been dismantled. This was quite a complex process involving among other factors the destruction of functioning organisations by their forced amalgamation with other organisations; but we are all now paying the price.
The system of exclusion or expulsion from school is not an effective deterrent at the point of application but is a blight upon the lives of those excluded/expelled. I say bring back the cane and the determination of school masters to use it when appropriate. I’m sure that its application will have damaged some children but will have saved many more. Were it used today as it was 46 years ago a mother and child would not have killed themselves to escape the brutality of children who have not learned fear or respect their elders.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone just watched channel 4 news with this as the first item? Am I wrong are are the elite scared by the resonance of this? There should be a mob of people with fucking pitchforks after the people who allowed this to happen. Just remind me, was there any racial element to this crime? No, of course not (nothing was done). Vulnerable woman driven mad. Was the father of the child dead? In the eyes of the authorities these were nobodies. It called social appeasment. I've worked front line in a prison so I know that the biggest fear of the 'joined up' thinkers is that a feral youth will be ostracised by society because they end up as costing us a fortune in later prison fees. This woman and her daughter would cause no fuss/violence and cost little in their suffering. It's actually partially driven by money which is ironic. One small practical point. If my anonymous namesake thinks you can start hitting inner city youths with sticks at school forget it. Something smarter is needed but it takes effort and personal commitment. We need the removal of all policallly correct people from the bodies who deal with these things - like fumigation. Reverse Gramscism. Then apply 'legal harrasment' to the scum. Make their lives hell until they beg for it to stop. If they don't, lock them up. Brag about how many of them we have under lock and key. Never ever, ever vote for anyone who is progressive. Call them out to their face and be as rude as possible. Call then scum. Think of this woman and her daughter. You are their only defender.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth is Steve Harrod still a policeman of any rank. He should be fired without any benefits at all, instead he will live the life of Reilly on his very high pension when he retires. And believe me as Superintendant or above it is HIGH.


Anonymous said...

So the idea is that you go on allowing them to commit multiple offences because sending them to prison might encourage them to re-offend.

Interesting grasp of logic they have.