“They seek to intimidate and bully through the threat of violence…”

Given the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggot’s current concern about certain communities, and confidence, the BBC report on the 18-year-old shot in both legs in the Creggan estate in Londonderry on Thursday night is worth noting.  From the BBC report

His mother was told to take him to the location, and waited at the top of a lane while he was shot twice.

“I know what happened was wrong but hopefully he’ll get help,” she said.

The dissident group Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) is suspected to have been behind the attack, which been condemned by politicians and police.

The woman said she believed he was targeted “because he was dealing in drugs to feed his habit”.

“It should never have come to this, he shouldn’t have been doing what he was doing,” she said.

“I don’t agree with drug dealing and hopefully we can work from here to get him the help he needs.”

She said she was ordered to bring her son to a specific place in the Creggan estate.

“He walked down the lane – I was standing at the top – and I heard two shots,” she said.

“I ran down to him. There was blood coming from both of his legs, but he was lucid.

“I just did what had to be done.”

She said drugs were “rampant” among young people in Derry.

“I have witnessed the hallucinations, the depression – the weight loss is unbelievable and his mental state… I was losing my son through drugs,” she said.

Hmm…

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • andnowwhat

    Sounds like the mother sees it as a first step to reab. Jays’s, I thought my ma was tough

  • Makes me ill to read that.

    [Text removed – Mods]

    These “vigilantes” are men who have a bloodlust. It needs to be satisfied. How do you stop that?

    (also, some of my thoughts on the Nolan debacle, if that’s okay: http://bit.ly/KcZi7f)

  • andnowwhat

    No Chrisbrown. What they are trying to do is to ingratiate themselves with the community. They tried it in the St James’ area of the Falls when they were having serious problems but the locals got them to fek off.

    The dissidents are trying to replicate situations that made the IRA more popular within their community and as someone who lived in such an area during the troubles, it had a lot of success within that community. These are different times in a different situation.

  • andnowwhat

    BTW, on Nolan’s TV show, they did a survey and of over 3,300 who voted, 57% agreed with punishments when appropriate. Also, when a caller suggested he would “shoot the hoods in the head”, he got quite an applause from the audience.

  • Reader

    andnowwhat: BTW, on Nolan’s TV show, they did a survey and of over 3,300 who voted, 57% agreed with punishments when appropriate. Also, when a caller suggested he would “shoot the hoods in the head”, he got quite an applause from the audience.
    No wonder the local human rights quangos are struggling to get traction.
    But I suppose we all know that the local vigilantes are infallible, incorruptible, operate in a proportionate and transparent manner, and are not given to hypocrisy or to political or social authoritarianism, don’t we?

  • andnowwhat

    Reader

    Or we know that people know what’s going on in their areas and by whom and are frustrated at the piss poor stats on convictions?

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, they are always going to be ‘piss poor’ when the burden of evidence is low so low for maiming/exiling/killing…

  • Granni Trixie

    How ironic to think that this occurred in Derry where civil rights movement got going. “they came for the Jews” also comes to mind.

    Whilst of curse those most at fault are the usage and jury who kneecapped, as a Mother I simply cannot understand this young mans mother.

  • Granni Trixie

    Should be judge and jury ofcourse

  • “as a Mother I simply cannot understand this young mans mother.”

    Granni, we don’t know what she believed her options were.

  • The 57% Nolan vote is not indicative of popular opinion across Northern Ireland. His show attracts a certain audience, and turns a lot of people off. I would guess that the majority do not support these crimes.

    andnowwhat – To carry out these crimes you need to have a predisposition to violence. They delude themselves into thinking this is acceptable and condoned by the community in order to continue to carry out violent acts. It’s all they know. I do take your point however, I understand the underlying tactic of gathering community support. However they gain that support by intimidation, it is not real support.

    People should be concerned about the PSNI’s performance in this area, and Mick makes a good point. But I am very concerned that this story is getting away from the underlying point – this is sick, violent, wrong.

  • Mick – I made a point above that was removed by the mods. Any reason why?

  • sherdy

    Mick, the burden of evidence must be sky-high for conviction of drug dealers when we see how ‘piss-poor’ the results are.

  • Pigeon Toes

    As a mother, there is no way on “God’s Green Earth” I would have taken my child down there…

  • Pigeon Toes

    Somehow I feel this is a “postoperative” view…

  • Mick Fealty

    Sherdy,

    Look at the Derrytresk story this morning…

    If people in a fairly peaceable part of the country cannot abide cops in to do a road safety campaign, what on earth kind of co-operation do you think they’re going to get in an ‘inner city’ constituency where the heat is really on?

    To be blunt, if the cops are still socially ostracised, even after all this time, in Republican areas, then people are going to continue to get ‘piss poor’ results… and they are going to have to keep taking their sons to have their legs done…

    And I’m not picking on Derrytresk; most GAA folk west of the Bann have the same kind of sensibilities… It’s a problem that’s not going away anytime soon…

  • aquifer

    I do not think that mother is enjoying her full civil rights, including that of free speech.

    Newly introduced by armed separatists. Open plan internment, without those expensive heating bills. You can herd a whole community waving pistols about and inflicting a few well chosen atrocities.

    What is the community suffering now? HT Wiki:

    “Stockholm syndrome”. When hostages fervently try to help their captors due to fear of death. Since their reasoning is mostly disabled, their cooperation/help goes a lot further than uninvolved people would expect.

  • DC

    The PSNI from what I have seen – male or female – are largely middle class types who would look down on the son and turn him into a criminal, whereas the paramilitaries would probably be seen as one of their own types and offer discipline of sorts. Remedial action if you like provided by lads around the corner in adidas tracksuits, rather than strange men or women going by the name of the PSNI in some sort of off-putting statutory uniform offering at best a visit to some cold and impersonal statutory agency for treatment and doses of moralism, or at worst court for a criminal conviction or two.

  • derrydave

    ‘“they came for the Jews” also comes to mind.’

    Ye read some mad s***e on here sometimes, but this one really did make me laugh !
    ‘they came for the drug-dealers’ is a fair few steps away from ‘they came for the jews’ haha 🙂 Idoubt society is threatened in anymajor way by a few scumbags gettin some rough punishment.

    Regarding the mother involved – I have nothing but pity for her – god only knows what she has been through and at her wits end she may simply be hoping that this incident will shock her son into seeking help to address his problems (in much the same way that many mothers in the past have grassed up their druggie sons to the police for the same reasons).

    I think that the support for an action like this is always understated – locally these actions are often very popular. The unpalatable truth is that many of these ‘victims’ are bad fuckers who have made peoples lives hell – and local people who know the ‘victim’ are often delighted to hear that they have got what they deserve. We should not mistake these feelings for support for dissidents however – that day has gone – the truth of the matter is that these actions are popular in the same way they would be were they to take place in working class areas of Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Manchester, Liverpool, London. People like to see scumbags who are blighting their local area get what’s coming to them – shocker !

  • ForkHandles

    I think the problem is that the punishment from the justice system is so mild that it is no deterrent to people that carry out whatever anti-social activity is happening. People know that. There is simply no reason to stop if all that is threatened is some sort of telling off in a court. If people went to prison for maybe 1 – 5 years then maybe it would be a deterrent. If not, then at least the people would be gone for 5 years.

    Add to that the requirement of proof is so high that it will probably not be met to begin with. How then do you stop some hoods rampaging? Everyone in the area knows who they are and what they are up to. The threshold to get people to stop this behaviour is to break their legs or put a bullet in their knees. Obviously we don’t want this to happen, so the question is how does the justice system provide a deterrent that is equally as scary to these anti-social people? I think that the only way is to lower the burden of proof and to have long prison sentences. There is no point in people saying “oh that’s bad” when someone gets a knee capping if that knee capping stops the anti-social behaviour. Come up with an equally effective method. If no alternative solution is put in place then the effective solution, however barbaric, will have to be applied.

  • Mick Fealty

    Okay, I’m grateful to the last three contributors for making a debate of this rather than a long slow procession of moral condemnation.

    So let me ask, what evidence do we have that this is actually an effective way of dealing with anti social crime?

    It clearly qualifies on the retributive scale (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociology_of_punishment#Retributivism), but what about actually stopping the behaviour? I get the sense as andnowwhat says above that these practices are popular partly because this is the way it has always been done.

    And as we have seen local reps find it difficult to provide clear leadership on this since historically they also championed the very same means in the past.

    So what is the pragmatic, or utilitarian case against maiming people in this way?

    Please feel free to bring in experience, research or anything else that’s pertinent to the matter in hand?

  • Granni Trixie

    In the mid nineties I worked in WB in a project which sought to deflect young people from car theft, a scourge in the area. Naturally there were overlaps of kids getting into these behaviours and those sniffing glue and taking drugs. I think what I learnt then still holds in present case:
    1. Punishment beatings, largely do not work as a deterrent
    2. Getting kids through from say early teens to around 25 (maturation) is what needs to happen. and even if I am inevitably accused of being soft on the hoods, mostly these young people are doing badly at school, have no positive male role models and have low self esteem.
    I have also read from time to time of kids who commit suicide and in their stories you see they have been kneecapped. I doubt that we will ever know however the mental I,pact of these scary experiences.

    Re ‘they came for th Jews’ – I strongly believe that it’s up to everyone to stand up against this crude form of “justice”. I also think its a class issue and if it’s not good enough for middle class children and young people why is it good enough for those in working class communities?

    I also recommend reading Bill Rolstons book “Children of the Revolution” where many of the stories are testimony as to the blunt instrument of punishment (though incidentally as the focus is on the experience as the child whose parent is often “away” in jail). More direct research is that of Colin Knox and Rachel Monaghan from UU who published a study of pun. Beatings and public policy (or lack of it)

  • Neil

    So let me ask, what evidence do we have that this is actually an effective way of dealing with anti social crime?

    The justice system is pathetic. Is there any evidence it works? Take the average PSNI clearance rates (I saw from 07/08). 20% of criminals caught. Whoop dee doo. Of those one in five how many end up being repeat offenders? Well there is probably some UK statistic somewhere, but something tells me good ole NI drags the average up.

    But let’s take the 2010 UK average of approx 50%. So that means from setting out to commit a reported crime that’s serious enough to get included in the stats (and hence not including anti-social behaviour) 90 out of every 100 criminals, thieves and violent attackers will be back living next door to their victims and planning to go again.

    The reason these attack happen is so simple: if the cops arrested that thief, he wouldn’t have been attacked. If the cops arrested him before he attacked that woman, she mightn’t have sought that kind of justice.

    The police say they’ll concentrate their efforts on catching punishment attackers, which demonstrates their institutional stupidity. So the problem – the crime and anti social behaviour – which fuels the demand will be further ignored.

    And finally, one last smack in the teeth for the victims, a lot of the scumbags are now protected by the PSNI. Because they’ve seen the dissidents, been spoken to by them, so now the cops are being that little bit more lenient with them as this thieving scumbag who was not long ago attacking young female children, is actually a witness to them. So they are emboldened.

    Dissidents are their primary – other victims are secondary to their primary of catching dissidents because we all know one policeman’s worth a hundred ordinary people.

    And as we have seen local reps find it difficult to provide clear leadership on this since historically they also championed the very same means in the past.

    A lot of people would say ‘this place has gone to the fucking dogs and no amount of buzz word laden horse shit is going to make me start “moving towards a better future for all” until such times as I can live my life without intruding on other people’s and not be tortured by scumbags’. The old justice system stopped some years back and it was replaced by nothing. Criminals are having the time of their lives.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nice evasion of the question there Neil…

  • babyface finlayson

    Neil
    ” If the cops arrested him before he attacked that woman, she mightn’t have sought that kind of justice.”
    How might they do this, without proper evidence of previous crimes?
    Also I think your interpretation of the statistics assumes that each crime is committed by a separate individual, which is unlikely.

  • derrydave

    Is this an effective way of dealing with anti-social crime ?? hmmmm….I think it cetainly decreases anti-social crime to some extent. Let’s face it, a lot of the young people today causing problems in working class areas have absolutely no fear of the police, the criminal justice system, or their neighbours. Although the hardcore appear to show no fear of punishment beatings / shootings either, I think a very significant number of these people are afraid of a punishment attack and so are deterred in some way.

    So I would say, yes these attacks do decrease anti-social behaviour and are some form of deterrant. However, are they an effective way of dealing with the problem ? I would say that no, they are not – the hardcore who show no fear of it seems to have grown over the years – these guys all know that the dissidents are nowhere near as powerful as the PIRA were and so now feel the threat is just an ‘occupational hazard’. This trend will only increase I would venture.

    In my opinion the only really effective way of dealing with the problem would be to make the system much more brutal in dealing with repeat offenders. Almost like the US-style 3-strikes and you’re out (though not going as far as that), I feel that the punishment for crime should be much more severe for second offences and subsequent offences. I know that theoretically the system is meant to work like this at present, with previous convictions being taken into account when determining sentencing, however the reality is that this is not working (how many times have we ead of some little scrote with 67 prevous convictions getting a suspended sentence or getting out on bail ?) – we need to take discretion out of the hands of the judiciary more and put more mandatory sentences in place specifically for those with previous convictions. Let the first convition punishment stay as is (which gives everyone the opportunity to change their ways), however for second convictions onwards the criminal justice system should take off the gloves and start playing hardball with those who don’t learn their lesson first time around. Bail should also only be awarded to those with a number of previous convictions in very exceptional circumstances.

    I do believe this would tilt the scales much more in favour of the criminal justice system, rather than the situation now where the scales are vey heavily tilted in favour of the criminal. Will never happen though, as would result in an increase in the prison population and the government it appears would rather let these scumbags walk rather than pay to incarcarate them.

  • andnowwhat

    Mick, a few personal experiences from my time working in the NHS that might cast a wee light on the mentality of “hoods”

    In neuros, we had a guy with severe brain injuries due to joyriding. Oddly enough, he was from a fairly well to do background but the deal is that his older brother also had brain injuries from the same cir circumstances. What was the worst bit was that their wee brother would walk about the ward (he was about 12/13. I’m crap at judging kid’s ages) goimg on about how he can’t wait to start joyriding too.

    In another unit, we had a guy who was a complete quadraplegic who was a joyrider and hold up merchant. Now, when he used to come back for reviews he would tell me (the guy thought I liked him. I was clearly more professional than I’d give myself credit for) about how his mates lift his dead weight and shove him in to the back of a stolen car and go for a ride.

    I also worked in the Mater’s medical ward which shared a short corridor with the surgical ward. They would get the guys in who had just been “punished” and there would be camera crews there from time to time. On would go mummy and the son and do the usual thing about how he was no angel but…… Of course, when the crew went, so did the wee sad face and it was party time.

  • Harry Flashman

    My word! I never knew we had so many Daily Mail readers on Slugger.

    So the solution to petty crime and anti-social behaviour is severe corporal punishment is it? The retired colonels writing to the Mail always preferred birching the little buggers but I suppose they’d be happy enough with a bullet to the major hinge joints if it achieved the same purpose.

    Strangely enough though the Mail readers usually agree that a fair trial and proper legal process should be followed before such condign punishment is handed out. Pinko liberals the lot of ’em, the good people of Derry and West Belfast don’t need any of that fair trial nonsense, just take the little yobbos from their homes and shoot them in a back lane, preferably in front of their mothers if that can be arranged, that’s the ticket, eh? What ho!

    So can the police adopt the same tactic? If they “know” someone is an IRA terrorist but can’t actually get enough evidence against them, is it ok for the cops to just shoot them out of hand?

    I only ask because the RUC tried that a few times and the same republicans who are defending rough justice now seemed to get a wee bit upset about it back then.

  • derrydave

    Harry, I’ve no idea where you live or where you have lived over the last 10-15 years, however my experience in that time has been one of complete decay and decline of working class areas of Derry. Petty Crime and Anti-social behaviour has increased massively in that time. This has lead to massive frustration on the part of the ‘ordinary man on the street’ – particularly given the fact that most of the characters who have caused the problems are well-known and seem to be untouchable ! I don’t believe that anyone really believes that the answer to the problems we currently face are for increases in punishment attacks, however it is hard not to take some pleasure on some of these scumbag b******s gettin what they deserve !
    Rather than pontificate on the views of others perhaps it’d be more useful to give your view on what you feel should be done to try to make life better for those whose lives are affected by this intolerable situation day after day after day (I know the issues involved may be difficult to fully comprehend from your ivory tower).

  • Harry Flashman

    Dave I grew up in Derry in the 1970s and 80s and let me assure you it wasn’t petty criminals who were causing the bother back then.

    If I follow your logic what the cops and the army should have done to the “untouchables” who turned Derry into a nightmare of violence and social disorder was to have summarily shot them without trial, that would have solved the problem wouldn’t it it?

    In fact if I’m not wrong Colonel Derek Wilford in January 1972 seemed to think that shooting young hoods in the Bogside would solve the widespread criminality that had taken over working class areas in Derry.

    Shooting “scumbag b******s” back in 72 wasn’t so popular in Derry as I recall, when did the working class nationalists of Derry suddenly start thinking it was a good idea?

    “it’d be more useful to give your view on what you feel should be done to try to make life better for those whose lives are affected by this intolerable situation day after day after day”

    Call me old fashioned but how about this for a solution? Call the police, tell the police about any criminality in your area, support the police in catching criminals, encourage your kids to abide by the law and respect your neighbours’ property. Elect politicians who support the police and the rule of law, don’t glorify violence and criminality, things like that.

    You know batshit crazy ideas that people who live in normal societies seem able to abide by.

  • derrydave

    blah, blah,blah Harry. So you lived in Derry in the 70’s and 80’s (so did I by the way, and through the 90’s and beyond too) – where you been since ? Things and issues have moved on a little since then in case you haven’t noticed.
    And though I admire your efforts to equate potitical violence during that period (which ,whether you like it or not, a significant proportion of the population believed was legitimate) with the crime and anti-social behaviour being experienced today – these are very different issues.
    Let’s not bore everyone with rants about the rights or wrongs of the political situation in NI over the last 30 years however and instead concentrate on the issues society is facing now – wouldn’t that be a novel idea ?
    It is obvious that your suggested solution is one that is not working – as evidenced by working class communities in what I presume you consider ‘normal society’ in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow, London etc etc etc not to mention our ‘abnormal society’ in Derry and Belfast. Admittedly, it may be difficult to understand these issues fully if you view them from the relative safety of some middle class suburb in north down or hampshire ! Why not try to provide something constructive to the debate – it wouldn’t hurt.

  • Barnshee

    “And though I admire your efforts to equate potitical violence during that period (which ,whether you like it or not, a significant proportion of the population believed was legitimate) with the crime and anti-social behaviour being experienced today – these are very different issues”

    A significant proportion of the community believe these punishments are justified- so thats OK then -as significant proportion of prods believe people in Derry got what they deserved ? so thats A OK then?

    The sad problem is that most people are unaffected by the problems in Derry and W Belfast – they really don’t care. The cops are guilty of this as well as long as its “contained ” they don`’t really care..

    Until it breaks out into South Belfast that is

  • derrydave

    I do wonder sometimes if it’s ever possible to have a sensible discussion about how we should best tackle the big issues facing society today WITHOUT referring to the tribal history of NI (and all the predictable arguements this will inevitably lead to). Unfortunately it often appears not to be possible.

  • derrydave

    ps Barnshee – North and East Belfast are affected just as much by these issues as West Belfast.

  • babyface finlayson

    Derrydave
    What is your suggestion?
    Would some kind of community action, without the kneecapping be possible? Could evidence be presented to the police not by an individual but by the community, so there would be no fear of reprisals?

  • Alias

    It’s odd that the mother hasn’t been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. If the PSNI want people to abide by the law, they’d be better served enforcing it rather than whinging to the media.

  • andnowwhat

    Perhaps Barnshee forgets the large riot that broke out in Cloughfern 2 years or so again when the cops went in on a drugs bust?

  • socaire

    I remember in the late 90’s when our estate in a fairly rural area was tortured by these hoods. The ‘normal’ residents called the police and the police duly arrived to tell the residents that any violence from the residents would result in residents being charged. The hoods laughed at the police and carried on. A call on the local provos resulted in parents and hoods being threatened with violence if necessary and anti-social behaviour stopped. Did the residents learn a lesson from this? You betcha! Now the drug problem. A large element of the middle class here are ambivalent to drug use. Sure it’s not that bad. An odd sniff. Do no harm. If you are attacked by a large dog, you don’t start by pulling a hair out of it’s tail. You go for the head. Dealers are to blame. Period.

  • derrydave

    babyface – I’ve outlined my suggestion in my mail at 11.26am. Ultimately I believe that the only ‘effective’ or ‘viable’ solution is a reform of the criminal justice system. My personal view is that the answer to crime lies only in the system, not in any local community initiatives. If the system achieved results then I believe local communities would gain more confidence in the system and co-operation between police and communities would improve massively. It seems to me that the problem is not catching these people, but instead is in punishing them appropriately.
    Admittedly I am no expert in these matters – my views are simply based on what I have witnessed and experienced in Derry City and in my own home estate of Carnhill in particular. In Carnhill ,as with most working class areas of the North, the situation with regard to crime and anti-social behaviour has deteriorated significantly over the last 10-15 years. However I do not believe that the issues encountered are particular to NI and instead I believe they are the same issues faced in other citys throughout Ireland and the UK. If anything, I believe that the troubles insulated us from many of these issues which have been experienced for some time in other cities in Ireland and the UK !

  • babyface finlayson

    derrydave
    Are you advocating prison sentences for repeated anti-social behaviour?
    Firstly I’m not sure it works, and secondly, we are going to need a bigger prison.
    I agree the system does not seem to be working, but surely local community must be part of the system. We are not separate from the justice system; it can’t work without us.
    Do you believe the police are being given the evidence to obtain convictions, or is there a problem with people coming forward?
    And by the way, I am far from sure I would have the courage to come forward myself, so I am not judging.

  • aquifer

    Who says that PSNI officers are not suitable role models for these kids?

    Smarter, fitter, and more honest than average. Well trained in respecting the rights of their fellow citizens, while effectively reducing everybody’s exposure to anti-social and criminal behaviour. They will exhibit high levels of self control while dealing with very difficult situations. Super skill levels for young people to aspire to.

    I have not heard of them dragging people down back alleys and kicking the sxxt out of them nor shooting them, and nor should they.

    And if they did there would be some howling.

    So how could it be OK for armed gangsters to do it?

    Trying to set up a separate state again boys? Trying to show some muscle to cover for the fag and fuel rackets?

    No thanks we got one or two states already, none of them a state of fear. If we want kids shot we will vote for it.

  • Mick Fealty

    derrydave,

    With you on the widespread (and frightening) nature of adolescent crime… It’s not confined to Northern Ireland, as you rightly point out…

    And the effect of drugs on adolescent behaviour can be particularly frightening, not least for the way it releases them from their more natural inhibitions…

    Granni Trixie makes a good point, well worth reiterating, and that’s the lack of a serious policy response to all of this…

    But the problem highlighted at the top of this thread is less the nature of the antisocial behaviour than the antisocial ways it is being dealt with…

    I’m not being aloof or middle class about this…there is a cost to dealing with these matters extrajudicially… sidelining the law means the law has little of any direct relevance to say to these kids…

    So complaining that the law is useless is a self perpetuating story that paradoxically both comforts the sufferers and deepens the problem…

    Reintroduction of conventional law into areas that have lived without it forty years is no palliative, though I think sometimes that is the way it has been sold to those communities…

    I witnessed a very minor incident this evening… the cops seemed to arrive very promptly on the scene, called by one group of teenagers who had been harrassed by another…

    In fact the kids were able to id one of the kids running away as a primary offender and were able reassure the second set of kids they’d be picked up…

    Only the cops weren’t cops, they were CSO’s or what they used to call Specials… Locally recruited auxiliaries who know the local community well enough to know who’s who and act upon it, but operating within a police command structure and accountable to the parameters of the law…

    [sucks breath in sharply between teeth]

  • Reader

    babyface finlayson: Would some kind of community action, without the kneecapping be possible? Could evidence be presented to the police not by an individual but by the community, so there would be no fear of reprisals?
    I suspect that antisocial behaviour is at its worst in areas where the term “tout” is part of the local vocabulary. That wouldn’t be a coincidence; that’s cause and effect.
    I’m glad I live in a nice area. We’re all touts here.

  • babyface finlayson

    Reader
    “I suspect that antisocial behaviour is at its worst in areas where the term “tout” is part of the local vocabulary.”
    Possibly that is how things are. But if the community as a whole is the tout then who do you kneecap?
    Of course it would require some kind of contract between the community and the police and we are a long way from that.
    The current system is not working, and imposing heavier sentences is pointless if there is no fear of getting caught.

  • DC

    I’m not being aloof or middle class about this…there is a cost to dealing with these matters extrajudicially… sidelining the law means the law has little of any direct relevance to say to these kids…

    So complaining that the law is useless is a self perpetuating story that paradoxically both comforts the sufferers and deepens the problem…

    I reckon we all share these sentiments but trouble is the law is professional and without seeming prejudiced I imagine these are not professional folk we are dealing with here. So the law does seem useless to these folk – be it a self -perpetuating story or not – the law and its style, the way it is applied by the police generally, can be distasteful in certain areas.

    What’s the saying, food first (take this to mean good jobs enough disposable income, better health etc), then morals second (take this to mean following rules and the rule of law and respect for the police). The food first approach means that people in these areas have probably been done for no tax or insurance, drink driving etc and have been caught out by these rules which they are supposed to obey and feel disgruntled as a result of said rules. Being fined and punished when skint by the law is hardly conducive to respecting the rule of law.

    How can policing be improved? Perhaps by not policing ‘with the community’ but rather ‘by the community’. Work your way back from the barriers to achieving that sort of policing and you might find some answers to the problem, or at least discover stepping stones to a more realistic and in touch police service.

  • derrydave

    Babyface, yes I certainly am advocating prison sentences for repeat anti-social behaviour. If you torture your neighbours and make their life a misery then you should face some sanction or punishment.

    You’re right that there should also be some community involvement in the solution – I’m just not sure what the answer is on that. My biggest frustration currently is the inabiity of the system to deal with (i.e. to jail) these scumbags when they are caught – I also believe that this inability is one of the major reasons people don’t bother reporting / touting on people – why bother putting yourself above the parapet if the scumbags involved will not face any significant sanction ? If the system dealt with repeat-offenders with a very stromg hand then I believe confidence in the system and the willingness of the local community to work with the system would increase. exponentially.

  • derrydave

    The major frustration for many is that such a detrimental effect is had on so many by so few – the small numbers of ‘ringleaders’ or ‘hardcore’ are often guys who have numerous convictions yet seem to only ever serve very short jail sentences. It is these guys who are biggest problem I would venture, not only in their actions, but also in the example and encouragement they provide to others. Deal with them severely at an earlier stage and it would send a message to those who would be inclined to follow their lead, and it would also send a message to the local community.
    Once these guys start racking up the convictions there is little prospect of any of them ‘seeing the light’ or reforming – therefore let’s stop wasting our time trying to reform them and instead simply start handing out severe prison sentences.
    I do understand that this ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ approach makes me sound like your average right-wing looney, however the system is simply not working and it’s time for a radical change in approach otherwise our working class areas will become crime-ridden holes with very poor quality of life. Already many of the good people in these areas are looking for a way out and this will only lead to a downward spiral where those left have their lives made a misery – look to Englands big Citys to see how this works out.
    On a political level I would consider most of my views to be quite left-wing (less of the sniggers), however on crime in line with most people who have lived on the front-line I think we need to get real and get tough.

  • Pete Baker

    “Once these guys start racking up the convictions there is little prospect of any of them ‘seeing the light’ or reforming – therefore let’s stop wasting our time trying to reform them and instead simply start handing out severe prison sentences.”

    Or promote them to “community representatives” or, indeed,
    MLAs.

    It worked for the last lot of ‘enforcers’…

  • Alias

    These assaults are not designed to deter crime in the community, as a lot of folks seem to think. They are designed to create a climate of fear in the community that will allow those carrying out the assaults to engage more effectively in criminal activity within that community and, indeed, outside of it.

    These folks need scalps on their belt when extorting money from local businesses. If they couldn’t point to halfwit louts as evidence that their threats carry weight, they’d have to point to shootings of local business people – and that’s just bad publicity.

    It’s all about taking care of business – just ask the Chief of Staff of PIRA, Thomas Murphy (he’s the richest criminal in Northern Ireland).

  • derrydave

    Did you read that in a book Alias ? All complete bs just for your info.

    The assaults are reactionary and are as the name suggests ‘punishment’ rather than being designed as a deterrant as such.

    Your theory is simply wrong and i’m not quite sure how you came to this conclusion ? Sounds like you just made it up in the last 5 minutes to be honest.

  • Harry Flashman

    “And though I admire your efforts to equate potitical violence during that period (which ,whether you like it or not, a significant proportion of the population believed was legitimate)”

    I recall an appalling riot in South London in 1985 in which a copper with nothing more than a boiler suit, a motor cycle crash helmet, a plastic shield and truncheon tried to protect firemen who were battling to stop a fire spreading to a block of flats. A mob surrounded that cop and hacked the poor man to death.

    The next day Bernie Grant who was to go on to be a much respected Labour MP said the cops got a well deserved bloody nose.

    Flash forward fifteen years, the cops had left south London estates to the gangs and a wee lad called Damilola Taylor, ten years old was stabbed to death by one of these gangs. There was the usual hand wringing and moral outrage, I thought back to the death of PC Blakelock and thought of a song popular at the time of Damilola’s murder.

    “If you tolerate this then your children will be next”.

    You cannot simply wash your hands of two generations of young Derry hoods being encouraged by Republicans to wreck and destroy their city, of Republicans murdering policemen going about their job of trying to uphold law in Republican areas and then say oh that’s the past, we need to move on.

    We’ll move on when Republicans and Derry working class people step up to the plate and take responsibility and say we need the police, we want the police, we support the police.

    The same wee hoods who were glue sniffing in the Bogside and breaking into homes and stealing cars are the same wee hoods that Republicans use as their frontline troops in riots and who Republicans used to attack the home and family of the hero Pat Ramsay when he tried desperately to bring normal policing to the streets of his town.

    There was a chance back at the time of the ceasefire before the drug problem had spiralled out of control in Derry for robust policing, Sinn Fein cynically played politics with policing when braver more honest men were working hard to save the future. Sinn Fein won, decent men were intimidated and threatened, the policing that Derry working class communities could have received was pissed away.

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

  • Alias

    “Did you read that in a book Alias ? All complete bs just for your info.

    The assaults are reactionary and are as the name suggests ‘punishment’ rather than being designed as a deterrant as such.

    Your theory is simply wrong and i’m not quite sure how you came to this conclusion ? Sounds like you just made it up in the last 5 minutes to be honest.” – derrydave

    I see, so why do you think it is only organised ‘republican’ criminals who continue to engage in meting out this form of ‘punishment’ to the locals?

    I suppose it could be that they have easy access to guns but surely other community-minded locals could beat the yobs senseless with hurleys and such or drop concrete blocks on their ankles and thereby achieve the same nobel effect sans access to guns?

    No, it doesn’t seem to be the case at all that only armed ‘republican’ criminals are capable meting out this form of ‘punishment’ to the locals.

    Perhaps they’re the only group with a social conscience then? Yup, that would explain it…

    Oh look…would you believe it?? Thomas Murphy made he Rich List at No 6, just ahead of Osama bin Laden. Surely ’tis a terrible mistake?

  • Mick Fealty

    Derrydave,

    I don’t know what the conviction rate for such crimes are, but 4% against those handing out punishments suggests to me that upping sentences alone would be pure cosmetics if you cannot collar them in the first place?

  • lamhdearg2

    from derry to belfast,

    “A bomb has been found in north Belfast overnight.
    It was found under a parked car in a garage on the Ballygomartin Road”
    “SDLP justice spokesperson and North Belfast MLA, Alban Maginness, expressed his anger at those who planted the bomb.”
    “The cowardly and reckless actions of dissidents are attempts to intimidate and cause distress within this community which is utterly contemptible.”
    “Ballygomartin is a densely populated, residential area”

    What Alban could have added was ballygomartin is a densely populated protestant/loyalist residential area.
    we (I) as yet do not know who the intended victim was, but at the risk of making an ass of myself, will assume, this attack will not help the intended talks on the nearby
    Crumlin road (ardoyne) interface about the parades issue, and could (hopefully not) cause a reaction from similarly minded mooncats on the other side of the divide.

  • derrydave

    Mick,

    The 4% is for those giving out punishment beatings is it – a very different and much more difficult crime to prosecute (for a variety of reasons).

    The fact that these guys constantly get off lightly in court is a massive disincentive to pursue prosecutions for the police and a massive disincentive to get involved for the local community. The vey lengthy rap-sheets of the worst offenders seems to indicate that despite these disincentives these guys still are being caught and convicted on a regular basis.

    I strongly believe that the courts getting tough on repeat offenders would not at all be a cosmetic exercise, but instead could be key to the turnaround of working class communities. How many times recently have the most horrific crimes in NI been committed by young scumbags with long lists of previous convictions who should eally have been locked up long before they had the opportunity to commit their most serious crimes ?

    Even if the conviction rates for these crimes are low, the very fact that these scumbags are often committing these crimes on a daily (even hourly bassis) day after day, week after week, means that they would be caught and convicted before long.

  • tacapall

    The ongoing anti social activity problem that has plagued our communities for decades has challenged the thinking of many who have tried to understand the actions of these young hoods and taking steps to bring them back into the fold, from making them brush the streets with placards to bringing them on day trips or arranging meeting with psychiatric nurses and finally physical punishment, none has worked the latter being morally wrong as mistakes cannot be rectified. It is a legacy of the past conflict, unseen, unaccounted for ailments of our past. Most of those young anti social types come from single families or from fathers/mothers who’s father/mother were either murdered or imprisoned, who are either now alcoholics or have mental health issues be that PTSD or simply fear, one thing is clear drugs and alcohol are two of the common factors of anti social behaviour, young minds indoctrinated by stories from their elders of past bravado and the thrill of the chase. What is the answer, well more psychiatric units like the Mater and more psychiatrists for a start, the high amount of suicides by young and old in our communities is proof of the lack of resources and facilities in that department. Social workers trained in working with disadvantaged and under developed children who although might be 16 – 17 actually have the mental age of 12 -14 these kids must be helped rather than punished, every avenue must be addressed. Another issue is respect, I have often watched as these kids who hang about in groups are automatically branded or challenged by those who care little for their problems and tell them to fk off away elsewhere, slap them, punch them or threaten them, the kids believe they are doing no harm and neither they are, sometimes they are just intimidating or noisy, people feel threatened by that. Give respect and you’ll earn it back, that doesn’t cover all cases but it covers most of them and if you build on that then you’re getting somewhere.

  • derrydave

    Yeah these little scumbags are the real victims aren’t they tacapall ? It’s this softly softly approach which has got us were we are today. They need to be punished i.e. taken off the streets and locked up, not to have doo-gooders making excuses for them, and sending them on day-trips. Next you’ll be telling us how all the youth clubs have closed down blah, blah, blah ! Meanwhile the working class estates of NI are decimated and destroyed from within by these little scumbags !

  • tacapall

    Derrydave yeah they are the real victims, walk up the Falls Road or into any of our communities and although you wont see many factories you’ll see plenty of bars, clubs, off licences, bookies, but there wont be too many youth clubs other than GAA clubs and not every kid is into sport, but they’d probably be interested in the bar that goes with the club. Thats some society you have in mind for us, punish all kids who do wrong, the more forcefully the better otherwise lock them all up, any idea where you’re going to put all these young offenders as young as 10 or 12. Im not making excuses for anyone Im telling it as it is and I never suggested bringing them on day trips, I said it was tried before. Your description of other peoples kids as scumbags says it all about yourself, conveniently forgetting that it was our society that taught them to disrespect authority.

  • derrydave

    Tacapall. I was born and bought up in a council estate in Derry at a time when there were much less jobs and much less facilities. There was also much less crime. The estate I was brought up in has now gone to shite. This isn’t about facilities, it’s about parenting, a culture of criminality, and a piss-poor criminal justice system which allows persistant offenders to go unpunished. I’ve also travelled quite extensively in India and South-East Asia and seen what real poverty looks like. What we define as poverty and deprivation in NI would be a dream existance for hundreds of millions of others throughout the world. Our ‘poverty’ usually comes with an LCD TV and a satellite dish !
    And you know what ? Some people just are scumbags, plain and simple. Ask anyone who actually lives in a council estate and they will have no hesitation in naming you scumbags who are destroying the quality of life in the area. Ask the middle-class do-gooders and they’ll tell you that there are no scumbags, just poor uneducated victims of society who need help!

  • Alias

    “I have witnessed the hallucinations, the depression – the weight loss is unbelievable and his mental state… I was losing my son through drugs,” she said.

    Presumably she thinks that his own mother conspiring to have him shot will help ease his depression. When the parent is a degenerate, it’s not surprising that the kid is also a degenerate. If the welfare state didn’t finance these single parent failures, the problem wouldn’t arise.

    Meanwhile, it provides fodder for organised criminals masquerading as ‘republicans’ to get rich. One of these ‘republican’ racketeers was jailed in Dublin last week for extorting 260k from a local businessman. Who would be surprised if RAAD, like its PIRA original DAAD, was a front for a protection racket that generated revenue from drug dealers by targeting those who didn’t pay protection and ignoring those who did?

  • Harry Flashman

    “There was also much less crime. ”

    On the contrary in Derry at the time of which you speak there was massive crime, the city was one huge crimewave, it’s just that it was the sort of crime which you happen to approve of.

    I enjoy reading you Dave, I actually agree with most of what you say (with the exception that it is somehow the job of the biggest criminal organization in the city to take on the little guys).

    It’s very simple, the concept of softly softly judicial system and over sensitive policing has failed, it never worked, it has been played out to destruction over the past fifty years.

    There needs to be a return to basics in policing, they need to take back the streets as they did successfully in New York, much to the outrage of the liberals in that city (who shut up however when the system worked).

    The same can be seen in London last summer. The gangs took the streets and saw that the police were scared, not of them but the liberal-left reaction if they actually did their job. By the time disorder had become almost total and anarchy reigned the police discovered that they did in fact know how to solve the situation. They flooded the streets with officers, they patrolled the streets, they used the truncheon on guttersnipes who were wrecking other people’s property, the courts operated around the clock and handed out eye watering sentences.

    They did in short what liberals and criminologists had been telling us for half a century would not stop crime and gee whizz within 24 hours the crime wave was over and law and order had been restored.

    However policing is only half of it. Are you prepared for the more difficult half? The turning back of fifty years of liberal social dogma? Slashing welfare for fit young men unwilling to work? Not handing out council homes to pregnant teenagers? Telling young girls that no, unmarried motherhood is not a good idea?

    Because the biggest facilitator of the feral gangs and hoods is the taxpayer through the welfare state. If you don’t take that on then don’t start blaming the wee gobshite on the street corner, you put him there.

  • derrydave

    Harry,

    Think I’ll sidestep the differences in what you and I would consider as crime if you don’t mind – we both know that conversation won’t go anywhere.

    Regarding who’s job it is to deal with these guys – I have been pretty clear all the way through this thread that this is the job of the (criminally inept :-)) criminal justice system.

    I agree absolutely with the need for society as a whole to have a very serious conversation about the welfare state. This deserves a thread of it’s own if truth be told, however my feelings on this are mixed and I don’t really know what the answers are to be perfectly honest. Certainly at the moment the welfare system encourages and subsidises generations of families who have decided not to work, and who’s kids and grandkids therefore have no real chance in life and turn out to be the scumbags who are destroying our estates. How do we turn this around however ?? I would be inclined towards a reform of the system whereby welfare payments are actually increased for those who have a work history and who, through no fault of their own, lose their jobs. These payments should be much higher than at present though should gradually decrease over time. Welfare payments to those to the long-term unemployed should be reduced or the recipients should have to work (for the local council or something) for their money.
    This is such a complex area however that I’m unsure on what the solutions are – my big fear in reducing welfare payments to the long-term unemployed is, are you in effect punishing children for the choices made by their parents ? are you only making it harder for these kids to have any chance in life ? As I’ve said, there is a massive discussion which needs to take place here, however it seems almost to be toxic to even mention reform of the welfare state – as evidenced recently when the wholly reasonable suggestion was put forward that fit and able adults should be made to work for their benefits. No one has ever expained to me as to why this is a bad idea ??

  • Harry Flashman

    “Think I’ll sidestep the differences in what you and I would consider as crime if you don’t mind – we both know that conversation won’t go anywhere.”

    Fair enough.

    As to the rest of what you say I can’t find much to disagree with however we are both in danger of sounding like we’re on the Daily Mail’s editorial board.

    Not that as I get older the more I find myself nodding in agreement with that paper.

    Frightening.

  • derrydave

    Haha – know what ye mean Harry !

  • tacapall

    Derrydave Im not unlike yourself I too was brought up in a council estate and although not as lucky or as wealthy as yourself I haven’t traveled the world much but I do know the environment we live in has an impact not only in our upbringing but the way we view what you would term criminality. I understand the reasons you dont want to equate the actions of others in the past with the actions of those who engage in anti social activity today but you must realise, that mindset of the past will have an impact for generations, did we honestly believe that the peace process would cure all the ills of society here. I still live where I’ve always lived and yes its different, kids are spoilt by parents who are frightened to lose them, ffs they blackmail their parents into buying them this or that or they’ll hang themselves and they have done, parents are frightened to punish them for the same reasons. The justice system and the PSNI’s responsibilities are covered in another thread similar to Pete’s but this is about physical force punishment, reverting back to caveman tactics to control children and young adults who are deemed to have broken the rules, rather than give your opinion on what punishment is needed we should be looking at the root cause of the problems.

  • derrydave

    I really don’t think the mindset of the past has that big an impact in the problems we are facing now. I think the troubles actually protected us from much of these problems by providing much more social cohesion, community, and shared identity (within two very separate communities obviously).
    If we’re looking at the root causes of this destruction of working class communities, and the descent into criminality of a certain ‘underclass’ (for want of a better phrase) then we should really be looking at the experience of english cities which have gone through this process probably 20 years before us. Believe me, having lived in a number of different english cities, I can vouch for the fact that as bad as it is in NI it is much worse across the water ! We’re headed that way though if nothing is done to stop the decline.
    In summary, I beleve that the root causes are much more generic that the impact of the troubles, and part of the root cause is in fact an extremely weak criminal justice system which makes a life of crime quite an appealing career-choice for some. Tighten that up first and you are attacking the root cause – action is required urgently !
    Alternatively we can commission countless more reports on the impact of the troubles on these kids (who have actually no direct experience of the troubles), and pour more money down the drain coming up with schemes to entice scumbags (who are content with their choices in life) out of criminality. Meanwhile life in Shantallow, Carnhill, Ballymagroarty, the Creggan, the Bogside, and the Brandywell, become more and more intolerable for the good residents, and more and more good people opt to move out.

  • derrydave

    PS Tacapall Lucky and wealthy are two good things to be.
    Unfortunately however I am neither 🙂

  • Barnshee

    “The same can be seen in London last summer. The gangs took the streets and saw that the police were scared, not of them but the liberal-left reaction if they actually did their job. By the time disorder had become almost total and anarchy reigned the police discovered that they did in fact know how to solve the situation”

    The fuzz are craftier than you think I have heard “the let them run wild for a bit” school recommend stand back and wait

    Rather than rush in and bang heads -allow a fair bit of damage/riot to proceed—,particularly in front of TV cameras. Disgusted of Tonbridge Wells can then approve of virtually any action the police then take. “Kettling ” et al

    Watch smomthing similar in action at Ardoyne etc. Problem with it is the cops have to take it first before they can dish it out.

  • tacapall

    Derrydave I didn’t say kids of today were affected by the troubles I said their fathers or mothers were and still are, West Belfast must have one of the highest levels of suicide in Europe do you believe that fact has no connection with the past conflict or that kids of parents who have suffered due to the past conflict are in no way contaminated by the mental health issues that their parents are suffering. I really don’t understand whats behind your claim that “an extremely weak criminal justice system which makes a life of crime quite an appealing career-choice for some” as anti social activity comes in many forms and in the majority of cases no financial gain is made, just wanton destruction, aggressive behaviour, drunkenness, high on drugs and generally making life unbearable for others, there are elements who do engage in a life of crime like selling drugs, doing robberies, burglary etc but they are a different kind and their motives and ability to evade justice regularly is open to debate. This is not Manchester and nor has Manchester or other British cities suffered and experienced the level of violence or the social conditions that some of our communities have suffered. There is no like for like anywhere in the world, what was abnormal to others was normal to us and the effects of that mindset has festered rather than evolved.

  • derrydave

    career-choice probably a bad choice of words – my opinion is that the weakness of the criminal justice system just encourages these wee scumbags.

    From what I have seen the social conditions and particularly housing conditions in many English cities are much much worse than those in NI.

    Re suicide in West Belfast – if there are statistics out there to prove your claim that WB ‘must have’ one of the highest rates in Europe then perhaps you have a point. However, as with many things here in NI it may simply be another myth – another case of us believing that we are in some way different to the rest of Europe.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not sure it’s necessary to prove a causal link as such, it’s notoriously difficult to do in any case.

    But it stands to sense that it can do nothing to improve those stats if human life is held so cheaply dave…