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Has South Shields been transfered to the Dnieper?

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Map of River DnieperStalinist “bansturbation” conditions will prevail

What on earth are they doing?

It’s like the introduction of a Stalinist penal code for the centre of South Shields, as police in partnership with the Safer  South Tyneside Group begin to introduce harsh illiberal banning orders for those who have yet to be tried, put in front of the magistrates, or be found guilty of any crime at all. A charge is all that is necessary for the guilt to be assumed and a draconian bail condition will ban someone from a whole swathe of South Shields town centre! It seems to me that the presumption of innocence, a cornerstone of British justice has been trampled under foot with this measure – you are no longer to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, you will be treated as guilty from the moment a policeman charges you!

This measure will confine some drinkers to local community pubs in estates that are already under policed at weekends, it will prevent those charged perhaps from visiting friends and family, and heaven knows how it will affect someone whose home address falls within the designated area, are they to be forced out of their homes? No chance of perhaps visiting an ailing parent, or child? What will they do about those who actually work in the town centre?

From today, streets across the town centre will appear on an exclusion list, contained in a letter which will be handed out to suspects as they leave the police cell.

The letter warns them that until further notice, they are not to step foot in the exclusion zone marked out on a map. If they do, they could find themselves locked up again.

Isn’t that just great, those arrested and charged with violence, shoplifting or a public order offence –which can include shouting and swearing in the street, will be banned from entering South Shields, as a bail condition, for possibly months until they have put their case in front of the magistrates! Just accused, not even found to be guilty, yet they will face the sorts of restrictions on their movements that are like those that were imposed in Stalinist and pre-perestroika Russia and Maoist China!

Let me put one thing straight, I do not condone drunkenness, violence, personal abuse, swearing in public, threatening or abusive behaviour, and I would have little hesitation in supporting some form of curfew alongside a community based penalty for those found guilty. But to penalise them before they are found guilty is wrong and offends natural justice, there should be no presumption of guilt by our local police and punishment and retribution should only start after guilt has been proven.

These bail conditions just stink of “bansturbation” and an increase in police powers, and will only assist in moving some problems from one well policed location to other under policed locations, it feels as though South Shields has today been transferred from Tyneside and plonked down next to the River Dnieper, just a few steppes short of Moscow!

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Written by curly

December 4, 2009 at 7:15 pm

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