Saturday, 11 July 2009

Crime doesn't pay ... unless you are the Government

Extracts from a recent Home Office press release (June 24th).

A new pilot fund has been launched to give local people a direct say on how the ill-gotten gains of criminals can be used to benefit their communities.

Ah hah! The money fraudulently obtained by thieving MPs as 'expenses' is to be returned to its rightful owners, then?

The £4m Community Cashback scheme will be funded by money and assets seized from wealthy criminal kingpins.

'Kingpin'? [A word last used some time back in the 18th century - means someone with a flashy car.]

The public will be able to choose which worthwhile community projects are funded by feeding in their views to a new dedicated website, neighbourhood policing meetings or through Citizens Panels.

That's what we need! More security cameras!

Until now money recovered from criminals has been split between frontline services, such as the police and Government departments involved with the criminal justice system. This is the first time a portion of that money is being paid back into communities.

Whoa! Hold on a minute: (a) Since when were "Government departments involved with the criminal justice system" frontline services? (b) How long have our Police forces been partially funded from the proceeds of crime? and (c) Shouldn't money recovered from criminals be returned to the victims of crime, rather than the community at large?

Statement from the government's Crime and Justice Adviser, Louise Casey: 'It is only right that the public should have a say on how cash from criminals is spent in their community. This sends a strong message to the public that the criminal justice system cares about what they think and is on their side. This in turn might encourage more members of the public to help in the fight against crime - to pick up the phone to report a crime, stand up in court to give evidence and support others to do the same.

Ah! 'It is only right' I suppose that makes it all right, then.

OK, let me see if I have got this right ... The reason that more people didn't stand up in court to give evidence against knife-wielding maniacs (who were back on the street faster than the witnesses were) is ... they didn't have a say in how to spend the robbers' money? I suppose if that's what the government says it must be correct ...

Statement from the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw: 'I want people to have full confidence in the justice system and an important part of this is ensuring that justice is done and seen to be done.
Today’s announcement is the next step in increasing the influence of local people in delivering justice in their villages, towns and cities.'

'Delivering justice,' is it? 'Sharing out the spoils' is what it sounds like to me. So, how much ... ?

Home Office figures show the value of assets recovered from criminals this year has risen to an all time high of £148m for 08/09. This is up from last year’s £136m.

And the 'cashback' for the community is £4 million ...

The figures also show that a total £23.6m recovered between January and April 2009 will be paid back to frontline services, with a total £7m to be shared between all police forces in England and Wales.

By my reckoning, that leaves about £114 million going to the 'frontline services' like Jack Straw's department.

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