Zero tolerance would mean less crime
‘Unenforceable’ and ‘impossible to police’ are defeatist words used repeatedly by many in authority in relation to a whole variety of illicit activities that need good, strong legal measures implemented to control them but which never get any.
Kent County Council and Kent Police spokesmen seem to particularly relish the use of these negative expressions of surrender, instead of purposefully facing a problem issue affecting society head-on and declaring they will find a way to deal with it effectively. Cycling in pedestrian zones, dog-fouling and graffiti are apparently all too trivial to concentrate on because – and here’s another favourite phrase -‘they would require too much manpower’.
I say enough of these feeble excuses for inaction. It’s time for our authorities to get tough. Every violation of the law, be it a small infringement or serious moral wrongdoing, is preventable if the determination to succeed is there.
The police are mistaken if they believe that they are saving manpower, money and time by turning a blind eye to what they regard as ignorable offences so that they can focus all of their attention on Category A crimes. By clamping down robustly on minor misdemeanours we would soon notice a fall in graver transgressions. Petty offenders invariably progress onto more serious breaches of the law.
If law-breakers know they’re not going to escape punishment for any act of illegality, however small, then they’ll be less inclined to take any chances by committing large-scale acts of criminality. This would greatly reduce police expenditure as the crime level dropped dramatically.
Thus, police paperwork would likewise noticeably diminish, freeing our officers from the shackles of their frustratingly monotonous desk jobs and allowing them to go out onto the streets where the public wants them to be.
Several towns and cities across North America have adopted this zero-tolerance policy and it has been proven to work remarkably well. The UK should follow the example of our more forward-thinking friends across the pond.
Comment from Clive Wilkins-Oppler, Kentish Gazette, 9th Dec 2010