According to today's quarterly crime update from the Home Office, "since 1997, crime has fallen by 39% and violent crime reports have decreased by 40%."
"I welcome the figures which show that overall recorded violent crime is down 6% – more than 15,000 fewer violent crimes."Hurrah!
Meanwhile back in the real world, another village sub-Post Office has been robbed in broad daylight, and the postmaster badly beaten. The Windsor Express reports:
"A postmaster in Eton Wick has been threatened with a gun, robbed and beaten - in the middle of the day on a busy Saturday afternoon.
Police are appealing for witnesses after a robbery at the sub-post office in Bell Lane, Eton Wick, at 12.20pm on Saturday. Three men burst in and threatened the man in his 50s with an imitation handgun. He was hit in the face and tied up before the men escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash in a waiting car."
As it happens, Tyler knows Eton Wick very well, and knows this Post Office. And he can say for certain that this is the first such outrage the village has ever suffered.
The residents are shocked. They're also angry that a succession of wibbly low-grade hand-wringers like Jacqs have failed to keep them safe.
They're asking "Why can't we bring back proper punishment for scum who do things like this? Why do we let 4 in 10 of them off with a caution? Why don't we have proper prisons? Why do we have to let them out again? Why don't our useless politicians get off their backsides and do something? HTF do we make them listen?"
A good question, and one we've mulled once or twice before.
Yes, of course, there's the issue of cost. But according to the Ministry of Justice the cost of a prison place is "only" £40 grand pa, so we could double the number of places for around £3bn pa - a pittance compared to all the cash the government routinely squanders (plus, the Major's plan for cut-price economy prisons would cut the cost considerably).
The real stumbling block is not cost but wibble. Our political class has somehow convinced itself that its massaged target-distorted goodnews crime stats are right (see this blog and this), and that the villagers of Eton Wick (along with the rest of us) are wrong.
The only bit of good news is that the police apparently reacted to the EW Post Office alarm with lightning speed. Indeed, it's believed they've already caught one of the thugs involved. So on this occasion, well done to the boys and girls in blue.
We will be watching to see what sentences eventually get handed down.