In a recent column in the Daily Telegraph, Mary Riddell has her facts completely wrong on crime and prisoners. It is important to understand that, contrary to Miss Riddell’s statements, the UK has the most number of crimes in Europe (6,523,706, at a recent count), slightly ahead of the Germans. Furthermore, crime as a percentage of total population is 10.3% in the UK, according to U.N. figures. This is the second highest in Europe, after Sweden which is 12.9%. By contrast, although the U.S. has vastly more crime, the percentage per population is only 3.8%. Finally, again by U.N. figures, although the UK has the most crimes in Europe, it is only 15th in the number of prisoners. In other words, the UK imprisons relatively fewer criminals than many other countries. The number of prisoners in the UK recently was only 1.2% of the crimes committed. As she seems to have no idea what the truth is, it is not possible to take her assertions seriously.
Miss Riddell alleges that our prisons are overcrowded and undermanned – that is quite true, but it is not because we put too many people in prison. It is because neither political party has built a jail in a very long period of time, while crime has been increasingly continuously. Her statement that “Crime has been falling inexorably for decades, and both Britain and the world have grown more peaceable” is a travesty of the truth. The truth is that in 1954, there were 4 armed robberies in England – in 2004, there were over 4,000. In 1980, the total number of robberies was 15,000 – in 2001 there were 121,375. In 1947, there were approximately 500,000 crimes in the UK. In the year 2000, there were approximately 5,170,000 crimes, and today there are over 6.5 million crimes. Miss Riddell’s assertions are insane. The simple fact is that if you have criminals, you have to have jails for them. Instead of providing more jails, both parties want to put their heads in the sand, and pretend that crime is falling. The only way to reduce crime, and the prison population, is by handing out long prison sentences. Criminals admit that this is the only thing that frightens them – long prison sentences.
Recently, the Labour Government committed an act so dishonest and disgusting that if a private individual had done it, he would have gone straight to jail. Because crime kept going up, they stopped taking the crime figures from the Police, and started taking them from an organisation called the British Crime Survey (BCS). This is a survey organisation in the Midlands, that surveys 40,000 households for crimes that they are aware of (not necessarily reported to the Police), and on the basis of those figures, they estimate the total for the whole country. Even a half-wit would see that this is a scam. The BCS naturally co-operated with the government, and in its first year, it estimated that over 19 million crimes were committed. Yet, in the same year, the Police recorded approximately 5 million crimes. So the BCS figure was ludicrous. But having started with such ridiculously high figures, they are able to reduce the number every year, and give the impression (to naive people), that crime is falling, whereas, in fact, crime, as recorded by the Police, has been continuously rising. The amazing thing is that when the Conservatives came into power in 2010, they did not abolish this absurd method, and they continue to use it. A Tory grandee tried to persuade me that it was necessary!
Miss Riddell is also confused about what Churchill believed. He certainly thought the treatment of criminals was a mark of the strength of a nation, but what he meant was that nations should be firm about crime, and protect their citizens from it, not, as Miss Riddell suggests let our criminals out of prison. She is also confused about, so called, “Human Rights”. When a man commits a crime, he forfeits any rights he has, starting with his right of freedom. He has to accept the punishment of society. Miss Riddell should consider the fact that prisoners today have colour television. I can remember when none of us had colour television.