London’s murder rate has overtaken New York. Feral gangs now pose more of a threat to life and limb than terrorists.
Social media is fuelling a bloody crime wave, claiming the lives of dozens of young people, including a 17-year-old girl gunned down on the streets of Tottenham.
The rising death toll is blamed on a politically motivated decision to scale back stop-and-search, which has emboldened thugs to carry weapons.
A Labour MP points the finger at organised McMafia-style gangsters from Eastern Europe, especially Albania.
Richard Osborn-Brooks was in bed with his wife, who suffers from dementia, when intruders burst in shortly before midnight
The police are under pressure. The public demands urgent action. So what do they do?
Flood the streets with hundreds of armed officers, patting down any young scrote who might be concealing a blade?
Start rounding up known gang members on some of our more notorious estates and putting the fear of God into them?
Close down the Facebooks, Instagrams and other accounts used by wannabe gang-bangers to pose with shotguns, pistols and machetes and threaten their rivals?
Steam in, mob-handed, to the safe houses of violent foreign criminals, many of them here illegally, suspected of being up to their tattooed necks in violent crime, drugs and people-smuggling?
Social media is fuelling a bloody crime wave, claiming the lives of dozens of young people, including a 17-year-old girl gunned down on the streets of Tottenham. Pictured: Victim Tanesha Melbourne
Er, not as such. Not that anyone has noticed, anyway. Instead, the highest-profile police operation this week involved the arrest of a 78-year-old man on suspicion of murder after the death of a burglar who broke into his home in suburban South London.
Richard Osborn-Brooks was in bed with his wife, who suffers from dementia, when intruders burst in shortly before midnight.
One of the men, armed with a screwdriver, marched Mr Osborn-Brooks into the kitchen, while the other started ransacking upstairs.
A scuffle broke out, during which the burglar with the screwdriver sustained fatal stab wounds. Stumbling from the house, he collapsed 250 yards away and subsequently died in hospital.
It turns out the dead man was jailbird and career villain Henry Vincent, 37, a member of a notorious crime family, who had once featured on Kent Police’s ‘most wanted list’.
It turns out the dead man was jailbird and career villain Henry Vincent, 37, a member of a notorious crime family, who had once featured on Kent Police’s ‘most wanted list’
The only person taken into custody, after Vincent’s accomplice fled, was Mr Osborn-Brooks himself. He was led away in handcuffs, fingerprinted and had to give a DNA sample. He was held for two nights before being bailed to return in May.
Obviously the police have to investigate the incident, but it really wasn’t necessary to treat a 78-year-old pensioner like Public Enemy Number One.
Why the handcuffs? Did they think he was going to make a run for it? You’ll never take me alive, copper! What was that I was saying on Tuesday in this column about British police and prosecutors now routinely adopting the U.S ‘perp walk’?
And why was he detained for two nights, when he is the primary carer for his frightened, vulnerable and confused 76-year-old wife?
Mr and Mrs Osborn-Brooks are the real victims here. So are other residents of Hither Green, where they live, who have also been subjected to a string of unsolved burglaries.
Criminals now operate with apparent impunity across Britain, ever since the police decided that it wasn’t worth bothering to patrol the streets any more.
Obviously the police have to investigate the incident, but it really wasn’t necessary to treat a 78-year-old pensioner like Public Enemy Number One. Pictured: Mr Osborn-Brooks’ house in Carford
They’ve got far more exciting things to do, like spending millions investigating dead men for ‘historic’ sex crimes and suing each other for sexual and racial discrimination.
‘Celebrating diversity’ is now more important than preventing crime or catching criminals. Derbyshire Plod has just disassociated itself from its male voice choir because it doesn’t contain any women singers.
Chief constable Peter Goodman said it was ‘incompatible with our diversity policies’. (There’s another one I don’t know whether to file under Mind How You Go or You Couldn’t Make It Up.)
In this bold new world of policing, burglary is given a particularly low priority. But woe betide anyone who tries to defend themselves, their family and their property, particularly if the burglar is injured or killed.
In that event, the police will come down on you like a ton of bricks. If there’s one thing they really hate it’s ordinary citizens who ‘take the law into their own hands’.
Here’s something I wrote earlier in relation to another high-profile case: ‘The law does not belong to the police. It is our law. We employ the police to protect us. When they fail to do that, we should be entitled to defend ourselves. Once a burglar gains entry to your property, the contract between public and police has broken down.
‘And you should be entitled to take any action necessary against the intruder, up to and including shooting them dead.’
Criminals now operate with apparent impunity across Britain, ever since the police decided that it wasn’t worth bothering to patrol the streets any more. Pictured: Police at the scene of yesterday’s stabbing in Hackney, east London
That was almost 20 years ago, in relation to the Norfolk farmer Tony Martin, who went to jail after being prosecuted for shooting dead a burglar who broke into his remote property.
After a public outcry, the offence was reduced to manslaughter and he served three years.
The Martin case brought into sharp relief the way in which the police had deserted people living in rural areas, leaving them at the mercy of travelling gangs who knew the chances of them being caught were close to zero.
Twenty-odd years on, the same now applies to city centres and suburbs. When was the last time you saw a proper copper on the beat? They don’t prevent crime, they respond to it after the event.
To be fair, the new Met Commissioner Cressida Dick is at least making the right noises about addressing some of the warped priorities which have blighted the police for far too long
If there had been a police presence in Hither Green that night, these two burglars might have thought twice before breaking into the Osborn-Brooks’ semi.
When a 78-year-old man, with a sick wife, is abandoned by the forces of law and order, what the hell is he supposed to do, other than defend himself by any means that come to hand? It’s a pity he didn’t have a gun. He could have wasted both of them and done us all a favour.
How many burglars would break into someone’s home if there was a pretty good chance they’d be carried out in a coffin?
In many American states, they don’t call it burglary, or breaking and entering, they call it ‘home invasion’. That’s exactly what it is. In the U.S., Mr Osborn-Brooks wouldn’t have been arrested and handcuffed, he’d have been congratulated by the mayor and the chief of police — and, these days, probably invited to the White House by Donald Trump.
As many have written on social media: he shouldn’t have been arrested, he should get a medal.
The only surprise here is that the police didn’t ransack his home themselves, searching through his bank statements and Mrs Osborn-Brooks’s knicker drawer, ferreting for something else they could pin on him — just in case they can’t make the murder charge stick.
I was half-expecting to see detectives in CSI boiler-suits emerging from his front door carrying dozens of black bin-liners filled with his personal possessions.
Look, I don’t enjoy criticising the police. If my mailbag is anything to go by, the majority of serving and retired coppers are as frustrated as the rest of us about the way in which British justice has become bent out of shape.
Ordinary officers are not to blame. It’s the fault of ambitious, Guardianista chief constables and of politicians — including Theresa May when she was Home Secretary — for giving in to noisy single-issue pressure groups over such things as stop-and-search.
They have all embraced the pernicious Blairite culture of ‘yuman rites’, which always puts the interests of criminals before those of genuine victims.
To be fair, the new Met Commissioner Cressida Dick is at least making the right noises about addressing some of the warped priorities which have blighted the police for far too long.
And, since the Tony Martin case, the Tories have changed the law to give householders greater leeway in dealing with intruders, including the use of deadly force if necessary.
So what are they waiting for?
If the powers-that-be are really serious about rebalancing the scales of justice, Richard Osborn-Brooks should be issued immediately with a grovelling apology and told he will face no charges, not left dangling in hellish limbo for another month.
He’s not a villain, he’s a hero.
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