Musicians ‘silenced by petty laws’

July 4, 2007

Red tape introduced in the 2003 Licensing Act is stifling small-scale gigs and performances, a report commissioned by ministers has found.

A West Country brass band has been told that it could only play religious songs when performing for charity in a town centre – or pay for a licence that could cost more than the band would be able to raise.

A male voice choir cancelled its outdoor performances after being told by the local council to sing religious songs or pay for a “temporary event notice”.

A group of elderly men who regularly sang folk songs in a room above a pub were told that the landlady would need a variation to her premises licence if they were to continue.

The report from the Live Music Forum says that some “perfectly reasonable, harmless” events have been negatively affected by a lack of clarity in the Act.

Musicians ‘silenced by petty laws’ – Times Online


Knife crime laws ‘will not work’

April 8, 2007

New laws to tackle gun and knife crime will not work, a senior police representative has said.

Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, spoke after the fatal stabbing of 14-year-old Paul Erhahon on Friday.

Mr Gordon said some people had a “scant regard” for human life which would not be combated by legislation.

The Violent Crime Reduction Act introduced a range of new offences relating to gun and knife crime.

Mr Gordon said he thought the intention to try to control violent crime was good but added that he was cynical as to whether legislation was the right answer.

BBC NEWS | UK | Knife crime laws ‘will not work’


Victims are not getting justice, says law chief

August 27, 2006

THE liberal legal establishment has been condemned by the Director of Public Prosecutions for its patronising attitude towards the public and victims of crime.

Ken Macdonald, QC, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, said that elitist attitudes had helped to break the bond of trust between the public and the criminal justice system. In an extraordinary warning, he said that the country would enter dangerous territory if the public felt that justice was not being delivered by the courts.

Mr Macdonald also called for a move away from the position held by many lawyers that only the defendants’ rights matter. Greater emphasis should be given to the rights of victims and witnesses, he said. “Few sounds are less attractive than well-educated lawyers patronising vulnerable victims of crime with inflexible platitudes.”

Victims are not getting justice, says law chief – Britain – Times Online


Shoplifters to avoid jail

August 26, 2006

SHOPLIFTERS could avoid jail no matter how many times they commit the offence, under proposals from a sentencing watchdog.

The radical change could apply even when the thief is a persistent offender who has breached community sentences in the past, the Sentencing Advisory Panel suggests.

Only where shoplifters committed aggravated offences, such as those involving violence or damage, would they face a jail sentence, it proposes in a consultation paper.

Shoplifters to avoid jail under new guidelines – Law – Times Online


Relaxed gaming laws will cause damage

August 12, 2006

GAMBLING is likely to become one of Britain’s most serious addictions by 2026 because of relaxed gaming laws and new betting technology, the Government has been told.

A report for the Department of Trade and Industry says that the Government has not paid enough attention to what long-term effect its new gaming laws will have on the public.

Britain’s laws, it says, will have problems keeping pace with technological advancements in gaming, including internet gambling, spreadbetting, fixed-odds betting terminals and betting via mobile phone and television.

These new forms of gaming suggest that gambling is likely to become a widespread and damaging problem in the next 20 years.

Of particular concern is spread-sheet betting, which, the report says, can leave gamblers with huge losses.

Relaxed gaming laws ‘will cause extensive damage within 20 years’ – Britain – Times Online


Brown to let shops share ID card data

August 7, 2006

Opponents warn that linking police databases with the private sector to beat crime will lead to a ‘surveillance state’ and a big assault on privacy

Gordon Brown is planning a massive expansion of the ID cards project that would widen surveillance of everyday life by allowing high-street businesses to share confidential information with police databases.

Far from intending to dump ID cards once he is in Downing Street, Brown is quietly studying how biometric technology – identifying people by unique markers such as fingerprints and iris patterns – could be expanded over the next 20 years to fight crime.

Police could be alerted instantly when a wanted person used a cash machine or supermarket loyalty card. Cars could be fingerprint-activated, making driving bans much harder to disobey.

The Observer | UK News | Brown to let shops share ID card data