Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

WHY is violent crime increasing? Because there aren't enough laws? Or because existing laws are not properly enforced, the police do not secure enough convictions, and when criminals are convicted they are treated too softly? David Blunkett appears to believe the former. The Home Office has announced that the next criminal justice Bill, due to be introduced in the autumn, will include a new offence of assaulting a public servant. Attack a nurse or a teacher, and you will face up to three years in jail.

Few will argue with that, though there is one obvious point to make: is it not already illegal to strike nurses and teachers? Of course it is; but this, believes the Home Office, is not deterring people, because assailants are now charged under the law of common assault, which results in their being given lenient sentences. 'We need to send a strong message,' says an official, 'that it is not acceptable, ever, to hit a public servant. …

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