Traditional Policing has always paid attention to crime ‘hot spots’. Keeping an eye on the ATM machine where several muggings have occurred over the previous few weeks; Making a regular ‘drive by’ a park where a rapist is known to have operated. It makes sense.
Kansas City police have taken this to a new level. No longer content with waiting for a particular criminal to return to a particular crime by way of predictability – they are now looking at his friends and family, on the grounds that sharing the odd MacDonald’s cheeseburger with a criminal shows the sort of person you are, and thus worth harassing in order to ‘prevent crime’.
Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the Criminal Law Reform Project of the American Civil Liberties Union is concerned.
“Our concern is guilt by association. Because you live in a certain neighbourhood or hang out with certain people, we are now going to be suspicious of you and treat you differently, not because you have committed a crime or because we have information that allows us to arrest you, but because our predictive tool shows us you might commit a crime at some point in the future.”
We are at the infant stage of this in the UK. We arrest people who may be colleagues of those who have committed crimes, announce the arrest to the media, request that ‘other victims come forward’, and wait for the onslaught of hopeful claimants.
It is part and parcel of the fashion for dividing the population into deserving and non-deserving groups when to comes to policing. Insults traded on Twitter take precedence over houses burgled. The colour of the mugging victim denotes whether this is a ‘hate crime’ which requires all stops to be pulled out, or an ‘unfortunate incident’ which just shows the need for innocent citizens to take care when walking in dark streets…
The fashion is spreading to the judiciary, with extra time added to the sentence of those accused of abusing Asian girls because of the ‘extra shame’ their family feels when the marriage dowry is reduced because the goods are damaged. This in turn deprecates the damage done to young english girls by such abuse, and surely places them at additional risk?
We see it in the sentencing of female predators, who ‘engage in sexual activity’ with ‘teenage’ pupils, as opposed to male predators who ‘groom’ and use their ‘power and influence to force themselves’ onto ‘children’.
The basis for policing, indeed the entire judicial system, is that Justice should be universal, objective, and impartial. Not that it should vary according to some algorithm based on which particular section of the population you belong to. Signed up to a particular victim group? Collect a ‘get out of jail card’! Billy Nomates having a drink with that chap you went to school with? Expect a dawn raid with accompanying media coverage.
It has been the ‘tweaking’ by the state in favour of certain groups in the name of social engineering that has caused the problem – and it may be coincidence or not that those groups tended originally to be based along racial guidelines; I am thinking here of the original decision that Sikhs were not to be expected to adhere to the ‘crash helmets for all motorcyclists’ rule.
Latterly, that tweaking has been gender based. From the notion that women ‘victims of domestic abuse’ – an abuse that could never be proved, only alleged, for the ‘perpetrator’ now lay dead, should be dealt with more lightly when they murdered a partner; to the current furore surrounding the sentencing of Sarah Sands which appears to be saying that a mere three and a half years in sufficient punishment for the taking of a life if a) You happen to be a single Mother to five kids of unknown fathering, and b) the life you took was only that of a man who had been guilty of paedophilia 20 years ago and was now professing his innocence of new allegations. Apparently taking a 12 kitchen knife with you to ‘plead with the man to plead guilty’ is not indicative of anything remotely like intention to harm, and just comes in handy when you ‘lose control’…besides which, it was all the fault of the courts in giving the man bail in the first place and allowing him to plead ‘not guilty’ – everyone knows that once an allegation has been made, the predator should be locked up for life without trial.
Should you be a male single father to five children now living ‘in conditions reminiscent of the novels of Charles Dickens or Elizabeth Gaskell’ and the thought crosses your mind that you might take the bread knife with you when discussing the plea options of a female neighbour accused of ‘engaging in sexual activity with a teenager’ please don’t forget that you are likely to get extra time for the heinous crime of letting your own children live in ‘conditions reminiscent of the novels of Charles Dickens or Elizabeth Gaskell’…quite apart from the ‘brutal murder of a woman still innocent in the eyes of the law’.
There has been much comment on all these cases – mainly along the idea of bias towards racial groups or gender groups, and they can indeed be used to show that.
What I find far more worrying is that it is the police and the judiciary, both unelected, who are deciding who is a ‘worthy victim’ and who is not. The fact that they are deciding in favour of particularly hobby horses is neither here nor there – it is the fact that they are deciding we should be concerned about.
Justice or Justitia was historically portrayed as a woman – as were all the ‘virtues’; the statue above the Old Bailey has no blindfold, since apparently her ‘maidenly form’ is sufficient to guarantee impartiality….
Not far from that most celebrated place,
Where angry Justice shews her awful face,
Where little villains must submit to fate,
That great ones may enjoy the world in state.
Samuel Garth .
The woman needs blindfolding again – a full hijab wouldn’t go amiss.