seanxair wrote:Stiffer more meaningful penalties for every crime.
I think the problem is that we now live in a time where the penalties are increasingly not having a deterrent effect on many of those who commit crimes.
A deterrent is only effective if it is in the mind of the perpetrator to the point where it either deters the perpetrator altogether or maybe influences the degree of the crime committed.
I don't think that the behaviour of those involved in gang culture are deterred by punishment, people committing crimes to fund drug and alcohol problems are almost certainly not going to be deterred by the level of punishment, terror-related crimes will never be deterred by punishment. Crimes of passion and those committed while under stress or suffering from mental illness will never be prevented by penalties.
If people are not deterred by punishment then all we can do is lock them up (if they are caught) to prevent reoccurrence and hope that while they are locked up they can be influenced to change the values and behaviour; all of which is entirely reactive.
I agree with FD's outline of what is required (i.e. preventative measures) but realistically there is little, if any, chance that that will happen at present. Collectively there is disagreement on the scale and causes of the problem, which simply means we'll never agree on a solution.
I am very pessimistic about this, I can't help but think the problem is going to have to get substantially worse, to the point where there is widespread fear amongst people (i.e. the likes of us), before there is a chance of getting a consensus of opinion on how to deal with it. It will take a great deal of compromise of peoples political and social views to be able to agree on how to deal with the problem.
As we're all painfully well aware our political system is in the process of a very public meltdown. Matters such as knife crime will be addressed with soundbites of disingenuous acknowledgement of the problem with hollow promises of a response.
To address knife crime we need widespread public support for action, genuine cross-party support for actions and substantial resources; I fear we have a long way to go before we have these in sufficient quantity to make any real difference.