Express & Star comment: Criminal justice system needs major overhaul
The standard of the criminal justice system in this country has deteriorated markedly over the last decade.
As crime has rocketed, our prisons have started to burst at the seams, a situation which has undoubtedly contributed to an apparent lenient sentencing outlook from our judges.
Time and time again we see smirking criminals walking out of court with a nothing more severe than a suspended sentence against their names.
It is little wonder that many people now believe the entire system is rigged in favour of the crooks – and against the law abiding public that it is supposed to protect.
With police officer numbers drastically reduced, the chances of criminals even being put before before the courts seem slim.
Yet even with faith in our legal system at an all time low, the latest figures relating to crimes where disabled people were deliberately targeted are still shocking.
There were more than 230 attacks classed as 'disability hate crimes' in the West Midlands over the last two years, with many of them including an element of violence or verbal abuse.
Scandalously, only four of the cases ended up before the courts.
Even in an age where we have grown to expect low prosecution rates, this is unacceptable.
It is difficult to understand how the Crown Prosecution Service could possible justify such a pathetic rate of conviction.
It is not just in the West Midlands where this is an issue, as the same sorry trend is reflected across the whole country.
While the vast majority of crime is up over recent years, including violence, burglary and robbery, there is a particular concern over the targeting of vulnerable people.
It takes a particularly despicable sort of criminal to target the disabled.
We are talking about the type of shameless scumbag who has no moral compass, and is unlikely to be rehabilitated by a suspended sentence and a few weeks on an anger management course.
Boris Johnson's Government has pledged to sort out law and order, and stiffer sentences are a major part of the plan.
But we need to get the criminals to court first, which is why the extra police officers allocated to the region cannot start soon enough.