Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't hurt their feelings

Convicted criminals working in the community are to be barred from wearing fluorescent jackets because their feelings might be hurt if passers-by hurl abuse, it emerged last night.

Government officials are worried about the health and safety of burglars and thugs if they can be identified as they carry out their punishments.

In a spectacular U-turn, probation staff have been told to stop putting up signs saying street work is being carried out by convicts - or forcing them to wear bright yellow jackets branded 'Community Payback'.

Instead, a small plaque will be erected long after the yobs have gone, to make sure their delicate sensibilities are not put at risk. The decision makes a mockery of repeated Labour promises to make 'tough' community sentences - such as tidying parks and fixing benches - more visible so that the public can see justice being done.

Last year England's most senior judge, Lord Chief Justice Phillips, secretly passed himself off as a convicted drink driver and donned one of the jackets to see what community punishments were like.

And a modified version of the yellow jacket he wore may have a reprieve.

In a classic example of Whitehall confusion, some criminals working in the open air will still wear them - albeit without any logo to suggest they are convicts.

Why? Because the high-visibility jackets could help prevent accidents - as required under health and safety rules.

This country must be the laughing stock of the criminal world. When did criminals ever care about the feelings of their victims? They should be visible to the communities they wreck to humiliate them into stopping their criminal ways but under Labour it won’t stop them. Labour are easy on criminals when they have said that they would be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. I would like to know when we will actually see them being tough.

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