Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Five years for gun crime - What does mandatory mean?

Chief Constable Hogan-Howe has criticised judges for failing to impose mandatory five year sentences in gun crime cases. When I was in the armed forces, mandatory meant, well err, mandatory. It didn't mean "If you feel like it".

Jan Berry, Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales says:

"Despite the year on year increase in gun crime and the legislation introduced in 2003 allowing judges to give mandatory five year sentences, lenient decisions by the courts are failing to protect society from the menace of firearms.

Chief Constable Hogan-Howe is right to highlight this issue because not only are judges playing with the safety of the public, but some of the ludicrous sentences are hugely demoralising for front line officers doing their very best to protect the communities they serve.

Understandably there are a few exceptions when circumstances dictate it is not suitable to hand out the mandatory five year sentences; but they should be the exception not the rule as they appear to have become with less than 50% of cases receiving the 5 years or more.

Whatever the reason might be; a lack of prison places should not be a determining factor when it comes to public safety and justice."
You know, I really like Jan Berry. I've been reading her press releases for about a year now and I can't find fault in anything she has said.

1 comment:

Beaman said...

I had assumed 5 years was 'life' nowadays.