Thursday, March 31, 2005

More fear from Howard

A keynote speech from Howard today to launch the Tories' proposals on tackling yobbish behaviour.
'The husband and wife who no longer walk home from the local pub on a nice evening; the dad that daren't take his kid to the park to play football anymore; and the pensioners who've become prisoners in their own homes.Why? All because of the fear of being intimidated.'

Fear not helped by the lies of some political parties, Michael.
'It's time to give the yobs a dose of the fear they've been dishing out to the rest of us. Now I use that word deliberately - fear. I want to make them fear the police. Let there be no misunderstanding: I want to make yobs fear the police.'

He does like fear, doesn't he? Perhaps he wants a whole generation of young people to grow up afraid of the police. Afraid to talk to the police, afraid to give them information, afraid to ask for help, even afraid to consider joining the police service.
'We'll scrap central government targets for the police.... we'll make the police publish weekly crime statistics on the internet so that local communities can see exactly what progress they are making.'

Is it just me, or aren't these plans incompatible? We'll have the police even more focussed on figures than before, to ensure that their weekly performance looks good. Incidentally, how do you measure performance without targets?
'We will scrap the politically correct McPherson inspired form the police have to fill in every time they stop someone - that's right just stop someone, not stop and search. '

Hang on a second, Michael. The McPherson report was an extraordinarily detailed report into the events following the brutal, racist murder of Stephen Lawrence and the enquiry by the Metropolitan police. It was wide-ranging and covered the institutional racism present in the police service, offering a roadmap for development and improvement. Many in the black community feel that they are unfairly targetted for stop and search, so the recording of information about each stop was made mandatory, to try and deal with this. Under the Tories, dealing with racism is just politically correct.

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