Saturday, 18 May 2013

Life sentences for Cop killers

Constable Peter Sams of the Met Police in 1948
Earlier this week Theresa May announced to the Police Federation conference that should a Police Officer
be murdered the culprit will serve the rest of their life in prison.

As the decedent of three generations of Police Officers who worked selflessly for their communities (three served in the Mertropolitan Police with two making Sargent and one in the Devon & Cornwall constabulary.), I can fully agree with this motion. A Police officer dedicates their time to serve and protect the community from crime and fear. It is unfortunate that officers can be killed in the line of duty, usually in RTIs, but straight murder is unacceptable, be it in the form of throwing bricks in a riot to shooting patrolmen dead in the street for no reason other than they are Cops.

Beyond the uniform they are people with families and lives. For the most part they are just doing a job.

However this throws up other problems. What about other members of the Emergency services? Paramedics and firemen have been abused on duty. If one was killed would they get a life sentence off the bat too?

Then of course there are other murderers. Some like Peter Sutcliffe and Ian Brady who, thankfully will never see the light of day again.Others like Ian Huntly only received 38 years as a sentence for the murder of those two young girls in Soham and it is a possibility, at one point that he will get out.

So - if you murder two innocent defenceless children you should be punished less than the killing of an adult trained to defend themselves and armed with pepper spray and an ASP?

Also - if as a teenager you are involved in the murder of a police officer will you be given parole later in life if you turn your life around or will you have to pay the price for a moment of teenage stupidity for the rest of your life where as a middle aged man who premeditates the murder o f several prostitutes or preys on and murders innocent children may still have parole as a possibility.

As much as I understand the sentiment and do agree that life sentences should be life (but with the possibility of parole) you have to be fair across the board. Can you weigh one human life against another and say that the killing of one is more devestating than another?

Another big question is if they do make life - life then how much will it cost the nation to build and maintain prisons? There is always the option of using decommissioned vessels as Prison hulks - still space on the Medway marshlands!

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