Monday, December 08, 2008

Bringing The Law Into Disrepute

Cool, or what?

News this morning (HTP JB) that the police are moving into the designer logo biz:

"Until now, the three-sided sign is the only object to carry the New Scotland Yard logo, but that is about to change. For the first time the force is to licence the brand commercially.

A trademark for the use of the New Scotland Yard logo on merchandise was granted last week and the first deal for a manufacturer to use the name on its products has already been signed.

Anna Gardiner, the head of licensing at the Metropolitan Police said: "This is a really exciting time for us and a great opportunity for new licensees to get on board and tap into the heritage of New Scotland Yard."

Apparently they wanted to sell the old Scotland Yard logo, but they discovered that had already been flogged off to a Kentuckian kilt maker (no, really) back in the 70s - ie the last time Labour bankrupted the country and public services were forced to scrabble for cash.

So WTF thought it was a good idea to devalue the police brand still further? Yes, we know the no-shit NYPD and the FBI already run logo businesses, but NuLab's super-PC Old Bill ain't exactly in that league. They are considered entirely useless by most of London's residents (eg see this blog), and their latest plod round Westminster way has hardly enhanced their reputation.

And talking of bringing the law into disrepute, what's going to happen about the hippies who closed Stansted airport today? Their runway invasion was illegal, potentially dangerous, and imposed substantial costs on law-abiding citizens. Sure, 39 of them have been arrested, but does anyone think they will be properly punished?

Last time a bunch of these guys decided to invade and close down a vital public utility - the Kingsnorth power station - they were let off, because "they were trying to prevent climate change causing greater damage to property around the world".

As it happens, Tyler believes Big Government causes huge damage to both property and lives, but he doesn't go round breaking the law to make his point. Even though, unlike the hippies, his cause does not enjoy the full and whole-hearted support of the state broadcaster.

But when it comes to bringing the law into real disrepute, you can't beat our old friend homicide.

As regular readers will know, we gave up blogging homicide some time ago. But we nearly broke our rule a couple of weeks back. That was when we heard the outcome of the appalling Hannah Foster murder case.

17 year-old Hannah was kidnapped, then brutally raped and murdered, by an animal called Maninder Pal Singh Kohli. As Hannah's Mum later put it, her precious daughter had been left "terrified and alone with an evil stranger. She would have been frozen with fear, unable to run or fight – the proverbial lamb to the slaughter. I feel as though Kohli has ripped out my heart and stamped on it."

But Kohli fled to India, and as far as our criminal justice system was concerned, that was that. Too bad.

Despite that, Hannah's parents didn't give up. Using their own efforts and their own money, they somehow tracked him down, and despite huge difficulties, eventually got him extradited back to the UK. So then it was down to our so-called justice system.

And it failed. It shamefully failed to deliver anything like what most of us would describe as justice. Although found guilty, Kohli was sentenced to a minimum jail term of just 22 years.

As we listened to Hannah's Dad on the Court steps we were grinding our teeth:

"We cannot accept how a complete stranger can abduct, rape and murder your teenage daughter – still a child in the eyes of the law - and yet not end his days in prison.

The punishment should fit the crime. In this case, it most certainly did not."

There is something seriously wrong with a criminal justice system that fails to protect 17 year old girls from people like Kohli: 22 years is nowhere near a proportionate sentence for what he did, and its deterrent effect is practically zilch. There is also something seriously wrong with a police force that fails to pursue a brutal murderer, yet can find time to set up logo franchising deals.

Disreputable doesn't really cover it.

PS One other jaw-clenching aspect of the Kohli trial was how Bishop Snow chose to report it that night from his C4 News pulpit. Whereas even the BBC had carried that statement from Hannah's father, Snow didn't even mention it. We know you can always rely on the libmetromediaelite to ignore inconvenient truths, but even for the Bishop, that was particularly unprincipled.


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