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Lenient judges should resign

PUBLISHED: 15:29 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010

Gun crime: Sentences should be tougher

Gun crime: Sentences should be tougher

by Alex Wellman Judges who hand out lenient sentences to gun-toting criminals should resign according to community leaders. The call came in the wake of comments made to a national newspaper by Bernard Higan-Howe, Chief Constable of Merse

by Alex Wellman

Judges who hand out lenient sentences to gun-toting criminals should resign according to community leaders.

The call came in the wake of comments made to a national newspaper by Bernard Higan-Howe, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, who said the fight against gun crime was being undermined by judges who fail to impose the toughest penalties senior police chief.

His view was backed up by leaders across Brent who called for the mandatory five-year minimum sentence to be enforced on anyone caught with a firearm.

Cllr Lincoln Beswick, Harlesden Ward, said: "The people fighting crime are doing a splendid job but some judges have a namby-pamby attitude of patting people on the back.

"There is a sentencing procedure and I don't think its being followed. It needs a tough sentence to fit a tough crime and I reckon the judges should do their job or resign.

"The time has come to take gloves off and it needs a public example to say - you carry guns - you get a minimum five years."

Earl Dinham, Not Another Drop, said: "I think that sentencing needs to be tougher because it is seen as a joke at the moment.

"Judges are failing the community because these people who commit the crimes are sent to prison for a few years then come back and often do the same thing again."

The call for tougher sentencing comes just a few weeks after a father-of-one was shot in the head outside the Jet Set nightclub in Harlesden.

Brent is among the worst in London for the number of gun enabled crimes committed each year.

Although the figures have fallen, the number of reported incidents stood at 173 from February 2007 to February 2008 compared to 176 incidents from February 2006 to February 2007.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the courts. The mandatory five-year sentence for possession of a firearm is a starting point. In determining the final sentence aggravating and mitigating factors will also be taken into account.

"We consider that the five year mandatory minimum has had an impact. Average sentences have increased from 18 months in 1995 to 47 months in 2005."

alex.wellman@archant.co.uk

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