Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Why Curfews Aren't Necessary

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, made a recent statement regarding those delightful riots, and Dave & Co.'s plans for making sure they don't happen again. These include several new powers for the Police, including the power to declare a general curfew.

Now, amidst the babble about people calling for water cannon, rubber bullets, the Army to be called in and Twitter and Facebook to be shut down, allow me to add a little reason to the debate.

Water cannon, rubber bullets, the Army, and the power of curfew were not necessary to bring these riots under control. Indeed, one of the primary reasons they grew to such epic proportions was because the looters perceived that the Police were doing nothing to stop them. Of course, the Police are now using CCTV footage to identify the little scrotes, and are happily dragging them before magistrates, who are happily banging them away for as long as they can. Which is good to see, and in the Police's defence, was probably their plan all along.

But, see, here's the problem - the Police seem to think that their primary duty is catching criminals. It isn't. That is their secondary duty, which is exercised in the failure of their primary duty, which is to stop crime from being committed in the first place.

This is why the riots went on for as long as they did - initially at least, the Police were not trying to stop them. Once that they'd received a swift kick up the arse from the politicians (and I cannot express how dismayed I am that a bunch of amateurs such as politicians needed to tell the Police what to do), they started doing that, and lo and behold, the riots were quickly ended.

Therefore, I contend that no new Police powers are needed. All that is required is for them (and the politicians) to remember their primary duty, and use the powers they have to discharge it to maximum effect. I don't see why turning off websites that the vast majority of people use for perfectly lawful activity, or a State-enforced bedtime, is necessary.