Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yobs- Another Home Office Shambles

Sorts out the yobs, and keeps the kids entertained

The dysfunctional £15bn pa Home Office is a national disgrace. Quite happy to dream up no end of rules and regulations to hamper the lives of normal law abiding citizens, they're rubbish at tackling real threats. They're also rubbish at managing their own business (see many previous blogs, starting here and here).

The Public Accounts Committee has just published its report on Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour. According to the PAC, the direct cost to taxpayers is £3.4bn pa, with untold further costs born by victims.

At one time local communities dealt with local yobs directly, using tried and tested methods. But the Home Office long ago stopped all that, deciding it could do better, and subsuming all meaningful power to itself.

So instead of the stocks etc, these days we have to deal with yobs using things called "interventions". And what a tangled thicket of incomprehensibility they turn out to be. Just take a glance at this lot:

Not finished yet... it goes on:

No wonder the PAC found that local implementation is a dog's breakfast: few local authorities can fathom out the full range of controls and sanctions available to them:

"Comparable local areas use different approaches to dealing with anti-social behaviour and there has been no comparative evaluation of the success of these approaches. Nor has there has been a comprehensive evaluation of the use and success of the different measures and powers."

Can you believe that? Surely, you'd think the HO would want to know which of its ragbag of "interventions" actually works, and would therefore monitor results very carefully. Wouldn't you?

No, of course not- this is the Home Office. They have no idea how successful their interventions are because they don't measure it. In fact, the only way the NAO could get any handle on success rates was to mount its own survey.

And you know what it found? Half of all "interventions" are directed at a hard core of real yobs. And each of them has an average of 50 criminal convictions.

50 convictions!

Now, as regular readers will know, Tyler is very tolerant of criminals. But 50 convictions! And the worst case actually had 271 criminal convictions, along with 25 breaches of his Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

WTF aren't these thugs locked up? They are seriously useless and unpleasant people and we simply don't want to have them among us. They make our lives a misery. Sure, they may have problematic home lives, but we have no idea how to fix them, and meanwhile they create mayhem for other people.

Yobbery: yet another area where a succession of tough talking Home Secretaries has totally failed to deliver.

The PAC also took another look at the HO's appallingly slipshod internal record keeping. It was a familar catalogue of systemic failure. Specifically, the PAC noted:

  • The Home Office provided data to the National Audit Office on perceptions of anti-social behaviour which the Home Office later admitted was incorrect

  • The Comptroller & Auditor General disclaimed an opinion on the Home Office’s Accounts for 2004–05 because weaknesses in the accounting system and financial management within the Home Office meant that the Department was unable to submit its accounts in time for the audit to be completed to the statutory timetable

  • Inaccurate data was provided to PAC in 2005 and 2006 on the release of foreign national prisoners released from custody without consideration for deportation. In July 2006 PAC concluded that the Home Office did not have a grip on the issue of foreign nationals released from prison and not deported

  • 27,500 cases of British nationals committing criminal offences abroad were not entered onto the Police National Computer. The backlog was finally cleared this year, but many of the 2,198 individuals who have been involved in the most serious types of offences or have committed crimes of a sexual nature can no longer be located. They could be living next door.

The Cabinet Office recently assessed the Home Office as being the very worst functioning of all our poorly functioning government departments- some achievement.

As with most Big Government, we'd all be much better served, and much safer, if power was simply returned to individuals and local communities.

PS The Major reckons he could knock up a set of village stocks for about fifty quid. Any interest?

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