I came across UK riots: courts could be asked to dock benefits I decide to analyse to do it justice that I shall enclose the article before I give my response:
UK riots: courts could be asked to dock benefits
Magistrates and crown court judges could be asked to dock benefits from convicted criminals under preliminary proposals being drawn up by the government in response to the riots, the Guardian can reveal.
Ministers are looking hard at how benefits, or tax credits, could be taken away to show criminals that privileges provided by the state can be temporarily withdrawn.
Under the proposals anyone convicted of a crime could be punished once rather than potentially facing separate fines – first by a magistrates court and then a benefit office. By giving powers to the courts to strip benefits, the Department of Work and Pensions would not be required to intervene in the criminal justice system.
Sources indicate that a vast array of punitive options are being examined as Whitehall races to meet an October deadline to publish its post-riot response.
Number 10 is actively looking at the withdrawal of child maintenance or child benefit from parents who allow children to truant, or repeatedly allow them to stay on the streets late at night.
Ministers are also looking at ensuring prisoners released from jail without a job are fast-tracked on to the government’s work programme.
Some councils have announced plans to evict families of convicted rioters from social housing. But ministers are increasingly wary of measures to evict families after a child has broken the law, pointing out that government has a duty to prevent hardship, and might anyway simply be required to rehouse them in more expensive bed-and-breakfast accommodation.
David Cameron has also drafted in the victims’ commissioner, Louise Casey, to set out how the government should intervene with the 120,000 families identified as having deep-seated problems.
Casey, best known for her invention of the controversial antisocial behaviour orders, oversaw a multi-agency approach to problem families from the Home Office.
She has in the past expressed frustration at the lack of co-ordination between government agencies in their efforts to help chaotic families, and Cameron regards her as well placed to judge what went wrong or right with Labour programmes.
Ministers have pointed to the failure of health officials – locally and nationally – to co-operate with efforts to identify problem families. Health officials claim they have a duty to patient confidentiality, but in fact are often best placed to identify early a family liable to go off the rails.
In 2008 Gordon Brown promised to target “more than 110,000 problem families with disruptive young people”. Parents were to be put on intensive courses to help them supervise their children. In response to the riots, Cameron said he would require each family’s problems be addressed by the end of parliament.
The latest official figures show that in 2009-10 only 3,518 families were actually in the intervention programme and it has helped only 7,300 families since being set up in 2006. The Department for Education has compiled a list identifying the whereabouts of problem families.
But since coming to power the Conservatives have removed ringfencing from the programme.
Westminster council is now being cited by ministers as running the most successful example of a family recovery programme. Set up in 2008, parents joining a six-month programme are required to sign a contract with the council to take part. A team is appointed for a family as a single contact point acting as the gateway to all public services.
The agreement sets out the possible sanctions – eviction, parenting orders, care proceedings and other forms of court action – in the event of a repeated failure to co-operate with the programme. Westminster council claims the average number of arrests for these households dropped from nine to 1.5 a month and antisocial behaviour was reduced by nearly half.
The government is also looking at offering clear options to rehouse families where a gang member wants to leave a gang but fears retribution.
Ministers want more councils to be open about the scale of the gang problem, and claim that until the pervasiveness of gangs is admitted, progress will not be made. Ministers are also looking at schemes in Boston and New York, where the police do much more after hours to help youngsters. They believe the crisis gives the police an opportunity to rethink its concept of community policing.
Ministers also suggest the option of a public inquiry into the riots has not yet been irrevocably ruled out. So far the government has appointed a panel to hear voices from inner-city communities where the riots occurred.
Cameron is likely to be opposed to a further expensive public inquiry so soon after he appointed the inquiry into the future of media regulation.
My Thoughts Are Of:
1. There is no doubt that tension are still running high for people to do an e-petition after a month for rioters who went on the rampage of looting and thugs to remove their benefits.
2. On the face of it, it more-like the heat of the moment response and people want justice to be done for the lost of businesses and rented accommodations which is understandable.
3. People have every right to be angry I would urge to look at the wider picture for a moment. Not all the looters and thugs were unemployed some were in professions such as Teaching, Social Worker Assistants etc.
4. According to reports I saw in some newspapers with Ken Clarke said that Almost three quarters of those aged over 18 who were charged over the riots had a prior conviction it begs the question with the cuts that is taking place how are the probation services can keep with their jobs. What mechanism is in place to ensure the offenders are getting jobs.
5. Then there is a petition calling for demanding that those convicted of taking part lose “all benefits” rapidly gained support, making it the first to reach the threshold.
6. Stopping benefits from the looters and thugs will only cause more re-offending which harden criminals to sell illegal drugs just to survive.
7. Are the looters happy to make a career out of looting then why not get the courts seize their possessions to put back into the treasurer’s chess to help fund public services.