Time to reflect

The riots and looting were awful. There can be no real excuse for the violence and destruction and in the end we were probably lucky that more lives were not lost. Many young people were involved and some of them were already hardened criminals. There were also quite a few silly young people caught up in the heat of the moment that did things out of character.

The prime Minister has said that parts of society are sick. This is hard to argue with. I feel he should have taken time to reflect however before passing summary judgement. Tonight on channel 5 we see the return of celebrity big brother and millions will tune in to see if Karry Katona is snorting coke again or if the girl from the only way is Essex can string two sentences together without saying DER. The tabloids will lap up every minute of it and devote page after page to its promotion. Sick society – What about the media that fuels it?

I think the thing I am struggling with most at the moment is the extreme nature of the sentences being passed for young first time offenders caught up in the riots. I know that many will agree but here is my dilemma. Having spent quite a few years now supporting anti knife crime campaigns and having worked with many families who have lost their kids to this form of violence I feel entitled to ask where all these prison cells have suddenly appeared from and also how come the judciary are doing what they are told by the Government.

They told us there were not enough cells to put away first time offenders caught carrying knives and yet now they incarcerate first time offenders for taking a bottle of lucozade. They told us that sentencing was at the discretion of the courts – Something they could not interfere with.

As I say, the riots were shameful and sanity had to be restored to our streets. Few would argue this. Declaring war on every single kid that got caught up in them is not right either though.

Many more kids have been killed with knives since we campaigned unsucesfully for tougher sentencing. If the Government had reacted in the same way as they have now proven they can to enforce tough justice, would lives have been saved?

Do they owe an apology to families who have lost loved ones that might have been saved? They said there were no prison cells and they said that sentencing was at the discretion of the courts.

Time to reflect.