Striking Fear into Burglars Is the Law's Job, Not Mine
Byline: PETER HITCHENS
OH, GREAT. Politicians have finally realised the people of Britain don't like being burgled.
Could this possibly be because there is a General Election coming?
Don't you believe them. As I discovered while researching my recent book on crime, neither the Tories nor Labour can be relied upon in this business.
Both are still hypnotised by the stupid, discredited idea that crime is a disease caused by poverty, rather than the free, unrestrained exercise of normal human wickedness.
Both helped cripple what used to be a fine police force with regulations which assume every constable is a racist, lying thug - and criminals are unfortunate individuals who mainly need to be understood.
Anthony Blair now claims to be interested in changing the laws governing what you can do if you find a burglar in your house. If you believe that, you will believe anything.
As for the Tories, they had 18 years to put this right. And they were the ones who destroyed the police with their appalling Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984, reason enough for them never to be allowed to govern again.
Look carefully at the new wording they propose for the law on bashing burglars. You are to be allowed to do anything, provided it is not 'grossly disproportionate'.
Well, call me old-fashioned if you like. But to my mind, if a burglar attacks an old lady in her home, and she summons neighbours to save her, it would not be 'grossly disproportionate' if they then beat him to death, cut him into quarters, boiled the parts in pitch and displayed them, and his severed head, on spikes in the garden as a warning to others.
But I don't see courts taking this view. Indeed, the Lord Chief Injustice, Lord Woolf, is apparently against sending burglars to prison.
And that is the real problem.
I don't specially want the right to kill intruders, or even bash them. I don't want to keep a gun in my home. I wish never to meet a burglar in my life.
The responsibility of defending my home with force is too heavy even if it is lawful.
All I want is for a would-be burglar to be so terrified by the majesty of the law that he dare not break into our homes.
I want, as everyone but a few who are too rich and safe care wants, a law that hates crime and punishes criminals.
I want a police force that present on the streets and frightens criminals.
I want judges who make criminals tremble and prisons where criminals hate to be and which they do not wish to return.
THE act of breaking into someone else's home a deed of such disgusting arrogance, cruelty and vileness that those who do it should suffer greatly at the hands of the law. …