The true price of justice is not leaving cautions to the police

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From: Raymond Curry, Adel Grange Close, Leeds.

IT would be a good start to 2013 for the police and crime commissioners to examine what happens to too many offenders after they have been caught.

Under the discredited Blair government, what had for years been a sensible action on limited occasions for the police to deliver a caution for very minor offences, became translated into Out of Court Disposals (OCDs) for many not so trivial criminal acts, some even being indictable offences including violence against the person.

Encouraged by present policies of saving time to cut back on costs, this unjust action has grown out of all proportion and proper justice is being denied to the people, including offenders.

Communities are becoming increasingly distressed by repetitive offending.

It is easy for the police to go down this route as it saves time and paperwork, mostly invented in recent years by the complex minds of bureaucrats who invade every opportunity to make much work out of minor functions.

The CPS, Police and Courts have been bogged down with administrative blather.

Up to half of OCD “ticket” penalties can be unpaid, yet the offence can not be re-opened to be dealt with by the courts, so the offender gets away with it. Some are not recorded as offences, thus officials from police to politicians are able to say that crime has reduced. The offended against public know otherwise. This farce is wrongly mis-named as justice.

Additionally, local courts are being run down and closed. In those which remain, up to half of the courtrooms on any day may be unused.

Magistrates, who are trained lay people from the community are resigning in disgust.

Yet the Government continues with ideas to invent so called community courts with panels of citizens deciding on whether offenders should be given a road sweeping or graffiti removal disposal. Meanwhile the media carries headlines on repeat offending, much of it being violent. Does the right hand have any connection with the left?

With the stroke of a pen it seems the commissioners can decide enough is enough and that proper justice must be done.

That may not be popular with criminals and unsavoury louts, but if the Commissioners want to salvage some credibility out of the farce of their invention and election to date, they might care to take swift action.

That is if they can find time from appointing paid deputy commissioners who seem to have been magicked out of thin air and in Humberside imposed on the system, despite opposition from the very Police Panel being paid to keep an eye on the commissioner (Yorkshire Post, December 29). Mr Cameron, it is far past the time when you need to get a grip of your so called Justice Ministers and tell them quite firmly to get it sorted with a return to proper justice being dispensed by the courts.

You can not penny-pinch on justice. The police are there to catch criminals. It is the duty of the courts alone to try, judge and sentence.