Another day, another lazy ‘Mind how you go’ section from serial bullshitter Richard Littlejohn. This week he casually claims that:
In Suffolk, the police are giving stolen bikes to young offenders to help them look for work.
Of course, this is not true and if Richard could be bothered to try and remotely justify his huge salary by doing the faintest bit of research he would know this. Checking the recent news section of Suffolk Police’s website gives a detailed description of the scheme:
Police in Ipswich are to trial a Re-cycling Cycles scheme whereby the Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust can apply to the police for a cycle to be donated to them for use by a prolific and other priority offender (PPO).
So, firstly, the scheme is only currently being trialled in Ipswich, not the whole of Suffolk as Littlejohn implies. Furthermore, the bikes are never ‘given’ but have to be applied for by the Probation Trust and then:
Each application for a cycle will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Only PPOs who are engaging and complying with the PPO scheme and where provision of a cycle would be beneficial to them will be considered.
A disclaimer has been produced by the police, which the probation service will sign on receipt of each bike successfully applied for. This will be filed in the property store in case the owner of the bike becomes known. It will then be recovered from the probation service and returned to the rightful owner. The probation service will allocate and manage the bikes.
Detective Inspector Richard Crabtree of Ipswich CID who came up with the Re-cycling Cycles scheme said, “Bikes will not be given to every PPO and are not to be seen as gifts. They will be on loan from the probation service to the PPO who will be responsible for their own cycle safety.
This little casual line from Littlejohn pretty much sums up the sneering output of the Daily Mail, in fact his column is a nice little window into the Daily Mail mentality: on the one hand you have his main piece which moans about the problem of irresponsible dog-owners letting their dogs foul parks and pavements (something I am more than aware of, being a park footballer) and his desire that something be done to tackle this problem. Then, straight afterward, when the police try a simple, free initiative to try and help ‘prolific and priority offenders’ get employment and turn their backs on crime, he mocks them with one short, misleading sentence, even though you’d think he (and the Mail) would be all for free initiatives that were trying to reduce crime.
The Daily Mail and Littlejohn never want to offer anything constructive on any issue, they just want to scream ‘it’s all shit, we should all be outraged’ from the sidelines no matter whether what they are reporting has any merit or not. They cannot moan about crime, anti-social behavior or dog-fouling whilst simultaneously also bemoaning any attempt to tackle them. For example, Richard argues that attempts to shame dog owners into modifying their behavior are always doomed to fail and what we need to do is tackle ‘the core problem’. So, how does he suggest we tackle ‘the core problem’: by employing more people to hose down streets with water and bleach. This doesn’t tackle ‘the core problem’ at all, it just means we accept the behavior of irresponsible dog owners and are happy to clean up after them.
As ever with Richard Littlejohn even a cursory glance at his column – even on topics you really agree with, like dog fouling – demonstrates that he has no intellectual capacity whatsoever – as demonstrated whenever he has appeared and made an utter arse of himself in radio shows and TV programmes. His capacity for only knowing enough to push the buttons of a bovine readership has led him to lead an isolated existence in a gated mansion in Florida where he would never dream of entertaining any form of criticism or debate: because he has not got the balls or brains to do so.
Getting back to the bike story, it is also strange why Richard refers to the bikes being given to ‘young offenders’, given that the word ‘young’ does not appear a single time in the news report on the Suffolk website – and that the news report clearly states that it is open to all ‘prolific’ and other ‘priority’ offenders. The phrase ‘young offender’ is used by Littlejohn to invoke suitable outrage from Mail readers; here are young criminals who should be locked up and given the cane instead being GIVEN BIKES! It’s PC gone mad and so forth.
Yet, in reality, it is a small trial in Ipswich in which probation officers can apply – for any prolific or priority offender – on a case-by-case basis for the loan of a bike that would otherwise be doing nothing until is was sold on at a police auction. The scheme is a trial, it might help reduce re-offending, it might not; but what seems fairly clear is that reducing crime is something the Daily Mail seems to want, so really they should reserve judgment or even support the scheme until the results are known. Otherwise I’d argue that they give up the right to moan about social issues, given that they seem hell-bent on sneering any attempt to improve social problems.