New human rights farce as British police are afraid to release crooks' mugshots despite national guidelines
A new secret justice row broke out last night after The Mail on Sunday discovered that hundreds of thousands of convicted criminals are having their identities protected by police.
More than half of forces in England and Wales refuse to publish mugshots of offenders unless they have been jailed – in defiance of national guidelines.
Some insist on sentences of more than three years before they release a custody photo to the press, citing concerns about data protection and the criminals’ human rights.
This means just a tiny handful of the 1.2 million people sentenced in criminal courts each year have their pictures published or put online, even though it is widely acknowledged that publicity can link offenders to other crimes and prevent more from being committed.
It comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed ‘secret arrest’ plans by police chiefs, backed by Lord Justice Leveson and now put in place across the country, to prevent forces revealing the names of suspects they have detained.
Following this newspaper’s investigation, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ senior officer in charge of media policy wrote to all 43 chief constables in England and Wales urging them to release more photos of sentenced offenders.
Andy Trotter, the chief constable of British Transport Police, said last night: ‘I’m a little disappointed and hence I’ve written to chiefs today.
‘I am disappointed to find a variety of responses to your inquiries and I’m reminding chiefs that this is the policy. I’m reminding forces of the existing guidance that encourages openness and co-operation.
‘We’ve got a good story to tell – crime is down, the prisons are full – and we want to see more court results in newspapers, not fewer. The default position ought to be we release photos unless there is a specific prohibition such as the person is a juvenile.’
He added that the length of an offender’s sentence should be ‘immaterial’ in deciding whether or not their image is released. It is not an infallible measure of the seriousness of a single crime because the sentence may be influenced by a previous record.
‘That doesn’t make sense to me and I think that is arbitrary and I don’t think should be used as any sort of criterion to be applied to the release of images,’ said Mr Trotter.
Although the existing guidelines developed by ACPO in 2009 are not legally binding on forces, they encourage officers to release custody images to the media.
The guidelines state that publicising a criminal’s identity is justified if it serves a purpose such as aiding the detection of crime, encouraging witnesses and victims to come forward, reassuring residents, increasing confidence in the justice system or preventing future offences.
Although police are told to bear in mind the nature of the crime and the impact of releasing an image on the perpetrator and their family, there is no reference to sentencing thresholds.
However, a survey by this newspaper of 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales has established that 28 require an offender to be given an immediate custodial term at the very least before their image can be released.
Of those 28 forces, six will publish mugshots only of those given terms of two years or more, and another six – Merseyside, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Cleveland, Durham and Staffordshire – insist on three years or longer.
Of the 1.2 million people sentenced in 2012, 98,047 (eight per cent) were given custodial terms. Of these, 10,731 were sentenced to more than three years behind bars.
One force, Dorset, even insists that media organisations remove photos of criminals from their websites a month after sentencing to ‘ensure proportionality’.
Most forces added that they would release images for those given shorter jail terms in exceptional cases if the press requested them.
A further 11 forces, including the Metropolitan Police, said they followed ACPO guidelines and considered each case individually rather than making custodial sentences a prerequisite.
New guidance on relations between police and the media will be finalised this summer and approved by the College of Policing, the new professional body for the force.
In one well-known case, Derbyshire Constabulary refused to release photographs of two murderers who had fled from an open prison, arguing that they had likely left the area and therefore posed no risk to residents.
Pictures of Jason Croft and Michael Nixon were eventually published by another force.
Islamic extremists threaten to stab inmates who eat pork in front of them at one of Britain's toughest prisons
Islamic extremists threaten to stab fellow inmates who eat pork in front of them at one of Britain's toughest jails, a prisoner has claimed.
The 'long serving prisoner' at HMP Long Lartin said cooking pork at the communal kitchen is 'deemed dangerous, even a threat to your life'.
The anonymous man made the claims in a letter to prisoners' magazine Inside Time.
He claims inmates at the jail are being radicalised but the issue is not being addressed by prison bosses.
'Terror' preacher Abu Hamza and radical cleric Abu Qatada have both been held at the prison.
The inmate wrote: 'The kitchen is usually occupied by 90 per cent Muslims and we have been told if we cook pork we will be stabbed. There have been incidents here where people have been targeted and pressured and bullied into converting to Islam.
'Young Muslim men are being radicalised in here and one day they may commit acts of terrorism in this country.
'There seems to be nothing being done here to stop it and people are scared to speak out.'
The man also claimed Muslim inmates celebrated the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby at the Category A prison.
The young soldier was stabbed to death in the street in broad daylight as he returned to Woolwich Barracks on May 22.
The prisoner said when the news was broadcast on television some Muslim prisoners praised the murder.
He wrote: 'What I have come to realise in this prison is that these extremist views are not frowned on by other Muslims.'
Long Lartin in Worcestershire is a maximum security prison where some of Britain is most notorious inmates have been held, including serial killer Jeremy Bamber, who murdered five members of his family, and Mark Dixie, who murdered and raped model Sally Ann Bowman in 2005.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: 'The Government takes a zero tolerance approach in tackling radicalisation and bullying in our prisons.
'All high security prisons have dedicated counter-terrorism units, who work in partnership with the Police and security services to root out extremism.
'We also have a team of Muslim chaplains across the estate who work with prisoners to prevent radicalisation.
'We already take steps to isolate those who seek to radicalise others, and this Government is planning further action to make sure that no prisoner is allowed to promote extremist ideology.'
Standby for another high tech lynching
You're going to hear the name Tristan Breaux frequently in the coming days. He's the Norfolk, Va NAACP President and his blackness will soon be questioned:
It seems much of the country is gripped by the George Zimmerman murder trial. As it comes to a close, many in Hampton Roads are upset about a Facebook post by a local head of the NAACP.
"To the majority of the African-American community, I would find it offensive," said Norfolk City Councilman Paul Riddick.
Tristan Breaux, 25, was sworn in as president of the Norfolk NAACP in January. He is the youngest president in the branch's history, but members of the organization are calling for him to step down.
"He obviously does not have the maturity when to speak and when not to speak," Riddick added.
The controversy started Friday morning. Breaux's posted a comment on his personal Facebook page about the George Zimmerman trial. The remark quickly spread.
"My initial reaction was that it wasn't true, that somebody had gone on his Facebook and had planted this," Riddick said. "I just couldn't imagine the president of the Norfolk branch of the NAACP making a statement like that."
"I wonder why it is that we are always willing to say someone who clearly had a shaky past, was the victim," Breaux asked in the Facebook post, referring to Trayvon Martin.
"I think this should be tried in the courtroom and not on social media," said former Norfolk NAACP President Bob Rawls.
Rawls says he is worried how the statement reflects on fellow members.
"If he had been talking to another person or two or three people and voiced his personal opinion that's different," Rawls added. "When you put it on social media so somebody in Florida, California, Oregon or New York is reading, this, that is wrong."
The post went on to ask if people are blinded to why Trayvon was staying with his dad and why he wasn't at home at at time of the shooting.....
"I think that the national office should come into this," Riddick said. "It would be an effort to silence this fellow. I don't know how recall process works, but I think they should recall him."
You'll note that the piece didn't include the allegedly offensive post in its entirety. I found it here:
The young Mr. Breaux needs to brace himself. He has sinned deeply in the eyes of the race pimps and race baiters and there will be no redemption.
And I doubt seriously the President will step in and suggest that if he had a son, he'd look like Tristan Breaux.
Earlier this year, legislators in Washington state engaged in an emotional orgy of fatuity by passing a bill to erase 40,000 words from the overstuffed bindings of their state statutes. Given the sacrosanct pronouncements that, among other things, forbid the use of x-rays in the realm of shoe fitting, one might find it shocking that any of the verbiage could be safely be removed. After all, we're not talking about mere county hijinks, where you'd expect a law making it a felony to annoy Sasquatch or any of the creature's crypto-compatriots; we're talking about state laws. That's where our overlords get down to the real business of serving the public, and the Washington crew didn't disappoint. They're serving by severing -- and what they're severing is a whole host of degenerate, gender-biased language.
This yeoman's effort took six long years to manage. State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles sponsored the new mandate. “Mankind means man and woman,” she said, which is why we must remove “man” from our vocabulary.
Washington wasn't the first state to man-up. Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois legislatures fathered the idea and many other states are at various stages of unmanliness. Apparently, grammatical castration is the trendy talisman statists adore.
Washington's Code Reviser's Office is manned by 40 bureaucrats, who mindlessly set about pruning the offending combinations of letters. The word “freshman” is among the casualties. It's replacement: “first-year.” While sophomore, junior, and senior will likely be acquitted of maniacal overtones, their usage may also be replaced by the wordier replacements “second-year,” “third-year,” and “fourth-year.” Such manipulated language ends up being drab and lifeless, the government buildings of lexicography.
The task is daunting, since the code revisers must examine each specimen of 40,000 sections of code. They're tired but managing. They've already faced down the intimidating signalman. In its place we are left with “signal operator.” Ah, signal operator . . . doesn't it sound more inclusive? It's a long overdue remedy to patriarchy. Let the atonement begin!
Fisherman too is no more. The sanitized term is now “fisher.” Piscicapturist was in the running, but the revisers could never agree on whether it meant one who catches fish or one who collects urine samples. Similarly, fireman has been supplanted by the omnisexual “firefighter.” Speaking of fighters, the military in the state, ironically gets to keep “seaman,” despite the word's overtly male homonym.
Gone are sexist terms such as “penmanship” and “journeyman.” They have been replaced by the less-lordly alternatives “handwriting” and “journey-level.” Use of the former will be limited to male chauvinists trying to romanticize a bygone era of information dominance.
According to Liz Watson of the National Women's Law Center, this isn't just semantics. "This is important in changing hearts and minds." And perhaps changing – or rather controlling – minds is the purpose behind this maneuver.
Like other forms of politically correct societal gerrymandering, the effort to neuter vocabulary imposes a form of self-censorship. Forming thoughts becomes the equivalent of walking through a minefield. Germane words are countermanded by an internal watchman screaming, “Stop! You can't use that.” Thus, the act of thinking will be avoided, since the danger of thinking will be manifest.
I would be willing to bet Senator Kohl-Welles imagines herself a champion of the little guy . . . er, gal, a helmsman leading the ship of state into more female-friendly, androgynous waters. She's not. Her limbic linguistics are simply a form of necromancy that will not advance the cause of women. Instead, her efforts will further the enslavement of both sexes, as we all are forced into the mold of unthinking mannequin.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.