Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Have a Go with Kiron Reid

Kiron Reid, my friend and fellow Liberator collective member, has an article on Comment is Free today. He talks about a report by the think tank Reform that suggests the "have a go hero" is rarer in Britain today than other European countries.

He writes:

The policy paper highlights a truth that many politicians do not want to admit – that the government and politicians cannot tackle crime; that it is local people, the police and local agencies working together that can.

Initiatives like the Community Justice Centre presided over by Judge David Fletcher are showing the community that the system will deal with their concerns. So are energetic young police inspectors and their teams on the ground.

But innovations only appear to be allowed if they fit in with centralised policy and funding regimes.

There has been a trend - on the left and among some liberals - to argue that tackling crime must be left entirely to the police. Any public intervention in the field is dismissed as "vigilantism".

The other day I turned up an old posting on this blog that defended John Reid's plans for a campaign under the slogan: "Don't moan - take action. It's your street too".

David Davis had claimed "It is brazen beyond belief for the Government to try to shift responsibility on to the shoulders of the public."

That was nonsense then and it is still nonsense now. In a free society citizens should not surrender responsibility for public order wholly to the state.

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

I have written as follows to Reform:
"From your news release about the report 'The lawful society' I'm amazed at your stance. Over the last few years we have repeatedly been told to phone the police about unlawful behaviour and do nothing ourselves. Even the local council has told us not to touch anything that's wrong, but phone them. When people do try and stop unlawful behaviour, they themselves get arrested. Police forces have been lashed for their failure to meet targets - and it is the govt targets that increase police activity in combating minor crime while the rest of us are bystanders. So its not the people's fault, its govt's fault - so why don't you attack that?
Thankfully a number of police forces have now spurned the stupidity of targets and are getting back to traditional policing. They should then welcome more engagement by the public, and indeed there is evidence of that welcome where I live. My local Council is, however, still a disgrace.