Whenever I read headlines such as "The 16-year-olds who have committed 86 crimes each" (24 June), I wonder how difficult is it for police to get a conviction for a repeat offender. In discussions with local lads, many of whom had a police record for petty offences, many accepted the sentence handed down by the court in line with the oft-quoted "don't do the crime if you can't do the time". But they resented the way local police were less interested in justice than in preying on them for having "form". I remember being told more than once how they were reluctant to leave the house where they lived (usually with parents) because they feared police were waiting outside in a squad car and that they would be pounced on and "fitted up" for crimes, almost before reaching the gate. Once convicted for a second time, how much easier does it become each time the individual comes up? With the pressure on police under the present administration to "get results", is abuse of this kind likely to get a) more, b) less, c) remain unchanged?
Jon P Baker
Emily Dugan, in her article on teenage crime, quotes a 14-year-old boy who found out that stealing was wrong only when he got caught. The Butler Education Act of 1944 made only one subject in the curriculum compulsory – RE (religious education). Had this been taught properly (and had he been paying attention), he would have learnt the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, his possible role models, be they pop stars or politicians, footballers or fat cats, seem to live by "the 11th commandment": Thou shalt not get caught.
Since 1992 our cars have become cleaner. Expensive petrol makes us careful. Cruise ships are no longer followed by flocks of noisy seagulls waiting for rubbish to be thrown overboard. Our coasts and rivers can produce constant energy while wind turbines and solar panels from China give energy. Anchors no longer scrape along and destroy the coral, because satellites can keep ships positioned. We honour environmentalists. Paul Vallely, observing that the Rio summit with its 50,000 delegates achieved nothing, says, "Politicians have a history of being followers rather than leaders in such matters" ("The planet looked to Rio again, and Rio looked away", 24 June). So it is up to us now.
Nina Lakhani's report on her Asian family's experience of Uganda ("Return to Uganda", The New Review, 24 June) is fascinating. Having spoken to Asians from Uganda who were expelled by Idi Amin, I was told the reason they feel they were thrown out was not because they were seen as "bloodsucking", but because an Asian women spurned his advances.
West Bromwich, West Midlands
Jimmy Carr is a scapegoat ("The hypocrite! He failed to live up to our principles", 24 June). A legal loophole is a failure by those representing the government that drafted the legislation or terms and conditions in the first place. If the advice that he received available to everyone, masses of people would want to be a part of it, including every MP.
Simmy Richman believes that Italians think themselves "better dressed, better fed and better lovers" (The Emperor's New Clothes, 24 June). I think you'll find that it is non-Italians such as him who think this. Italians as a nation don't need to possess such jealous natures as they are confident in their own abilities.
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