Cameron\’s an ignorant friggin\’ spaz

Cells known as “drunk tanks” which detain inebriated people until they sober up could be introduced to towns to tackle the nation’s growing alcohol problem, David Cameron signals on Wednesday.

Spray them with cold water while we\’re at it and we can have the full Soviet experience.

Drunk tanks, popular in America, are prisons used to “house” drunk people overnight until they sober up, avoiding the need for them to be formally arrested and charged or taken to hospital.

Twats.

If someone has committed a crime for which they can be arrested then they should be arrested. If they\’re ill enough to need to go to hospital then they should be taken to hospital.

And if they\’re simply drunk, not drunk enough to be arrested and not drunk enough to need a hospital then what the fuck are you doing locking them up?

Yes it is a free country yes we are allowed to get drunk and no you can\’t lock us up for doing so.

I\’d give this perhaps 45 minutes before we get the first court cases about unjust imprisonment.

68 comments on “Cameron\’s an ignorant friggin\’ spaz

  1. It is an offence to be drunk in a public place. It is also an offence to be drunk in-charge of a child younger than 7 years. The Police, depending on the circumstances, help the person on his way or place the person in a police station cell until he is sober.
    So there’s no such thing as not being drunk enough not to be arrested. If you are drunk, the fuzz can bang you up. What the ignorant friggin’ spaz has done, again, is to take a bit of existent law and sex it up in the hope he will attract some positive publicity.

  2. I quite disagree with you about this one.

    Drunk people can be a nuissance, a distraction and a considerable risk, worth collecting up and storing somewhere until they are sober. But the full criminal procedures of arrests and trials have been made far too bureaucratic for this to handle the situation effectively. The criminal system just cannot cope with the volume necessary, in any country that is serious about the criminal processes. Most of West Europe at least.

    Drunk people can also be in danger of getting harmed if nothing is done to help them, but they still do not need the full procedures of admitting them to a hospital, taking a full set of laboratory samples and seeing a doctor. They need a safe place to sleep away the booze. Forcing them to be taken as fully fledged patients in hospitals would mean a huge waste of resources and endanger the care of people in real need.

    A specific process for severely drunk people is in order. No criminal history needs to be created, but some protection for the rest of the world. No hospital admittance is needed, but some follow-up of the half-conscious fellow citizens.

    (As an anecdote, a few days ago I saw a teenager girl sleeping on a bench at a bus stop. It was -20 °C and sleeping for another hour would probably have been the death of her. What can I do? My bus took me on, so I called 112. Perhaps the police or ambulance picked her up, perhaps not – I definitely hope so. At least I didn’t read about it in the paper the next day, so I suppose they managed it. But both the police and an ambulance are likely an overkill; a member of civil staff with a car and a phone could have handled it and driven herto her parents, if she has any, but no need for blue flashing lights and sirens.)

  3. You go to any town centre in Britain on a Friday night and it is full of the drunk and disorderly. Not that being drunk is a crime on its own, but being drunk and generally objectionable certainly is.

    So what to do with them? I think prison may be harsh. If they are not comatose a hospital is probably a bit of an over-kill. A drunk tank seems a reasonable compromise. Drunks are more likely to kill themselves. They are too easy to beat the crap out of while in the cells so they probably shouldn’t be kept with other prisoners. Their health may take a turn for the worse. All of which suggests a special cell with a low ability to self-harm and more supervision seems a good idea to me.

  4. Just watch a few episodes of ‘Coppers’ on Channel Four, Cameron, you ignorant cretin. Then you’ll see drunken people arrested when they need to be (and sometimes when they don’t, but that’s a different story).

    Nothing happens to them, though. They might pay a fine, or probably won’t. Perhaps if there were real consequences to doing so, fewer people would?

  5. It is not an offence to be drunk in a public place. It is only an offence to be “drunk and disorderly”. How would you define “drunk” anyway? Half the customers of such pubs as remain are probably “drunk” at chucking-out time on Friday and Saturday nights.

  6. Surely the unpleasant side effects of widespread drunkenness are yet another argument for, among other things, the abolition of the NHS.

    Drink until you’re comatose then stagger home in sub-zero temperatures, just don’t come running to me to foot the bill for that little bout of contingent hypothermia. Quaff until you pick a fight with someone who breaks your nose, if that’s your thing. But again, given a choice, I will not contribute to fixing that nose.

    This is moral hazard, pure and simple. The nanny state underwrites bad behaviour, so it gets more of it.

  7. there is something missing from all of these answers .. the sheer cost to the NHS as the drunks turn up being unwell all over the place ( someone has to clear that up). and let’s be honest being drunk shouldn’t really be a good reason to go to A and E ( did they really get drunk by accident?) Add to this the sheer cost to the police and time wasted on drunks rather than real criminals, the poor ambulance staff transfering drunks from pavement to cosy hospital beds. Drunks are a pain, just sweep them up, dump them in a drunk tank, charge them fifty quid for the pleasure and make them clean the place in the morning!

  8. Puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans puritans

  9. If caught drunk by the police people should have to remove two items of clothing: there you go, not puritan at all.
    Police get to decide, and we could halve their wages due to the increased attraction of the job.

  10. If caught drunk by the police people should have to remove two items of clothing:

    If you’d seen the drunk woman who tried to chat me up last time I was waiting in A&E you wouldn’t say that.

  11. Section 12 of the Licensing Act. 1872, makes it an offence to be drunk in a public place.
    Section 91, Criminal Justice Act, 1967 makes it an offence to be drunk and disorderly.

  12. Blue Eyes – “We used to have drunk tanks and they were got rid of for exactly the reasons raised in the post.”

    I seem to recall that they were got rid of because the police thought they were a pain and everyone else thought it was the Liberation Baby, so that it was fine to get drunk in public and only uptight squares objected.

    Being so drunk you’re are incapacitated is bad for the drunk in Britain – it is not the south of Spain – and it is bad for everyone else. Drunk tanks are an excellent idea.

  13. No doubt ‘drunk’ will be redefined as meaning ‘having drunk more than three units’.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. A ‘progressive’ and a liar.

    Oh, and the ‘cost’ of drinking figures are now so divorced from reality even the old Soviet Union would have been embarrassed to use them.

  14. So Much, the “problem” is that we have this little thing called due process. When someone is arrested for an offence, being drunk in a public place, say, there is a procedure. Things like PACE and its codes of practice come into play.

    Shoving a person into a room with all sort of drunk aggressive people isn’t going to be deemed fair treatment, is it?

    How long until the first person gets seriously injured or killed in one of these drunk tanks Mr Cameron?

  15. Blue Eyes – “the “problem” is that we have this little thing called due process. When someone is arrested for an offence, being drunk in a public place, say, there is a procedure. Things like PACE and its codes of practice come into play.”

    And how is this lacking in procedure? They find someone who is drunk, they take them into custody, they don’t lock them up in a cell but in a drunk tank. How is that different from how they do it any other way?

    “Shoving a person into a room with all sort of drunk aggressive people isn’t going to be deemed fair treatment, is it?”

    Assuming they will be kept in a room with other drunk people. Most cells tend to be single occupancy these days and I certainly hope a drunk tank would be. Or failing that, having permanent supervision.

    “How long until the first person gets seriously injured or killed in one of these drunk tanks Mr Cameron?”

    A boy drowned in a ditch no far from where I lived. He was so drunk he drown in a few inches of water. Another froze to death up north somewhere. People die from being drunk in public all the time. Perhaps people will die or be injured in these drunk tanks, but presumably fewer than without them. Surely we ought to be working to minimise harm, not minimise the number harmed while in custody?

  16. Surely we ought to be working to minimise harm

    Well no, we ought to be working to maximise the liberty of citizens against a fanatical and oppressive State. That of course is just my opinion.

  17. There are no “drunk tanks” in the United States. What we have are jails. If you are arrested for public intoxication, you are booked into jail and then put in either a single person holding cell or a multi-person holding cell.

  18. As to the cost, Tim W has pointed out on this here site that benefit is rarely if ever weighed into the equation. Only when we’ve measured benefit can we net out either cost or benefit… Always assuming calculations on such a gigantic scale are rigorous and falsifiable. And I rather doubt they are. It also assumes that it’s desirable to undertake such calculations and as to that, I’m with John Cowperthwaite: we don’t want busybodies collecting data and analysing it, because they’ll only use the results the better to push us around.

  19. The costs and benefits of externalities are intrinsically impossible to measure, because you’re trying to compare against an intrinsically unknowable datum- an alternative reality in which the Damned Thing does not exist or is not done. It’s not just a case of the calculation being difficult. It’s literally impossible.

  20. “A boy drowned in a ditch no far from where I lived. He was so drunk he drown in a few inches of water. Another froze to death up north somewhere. People die from being drunk in public all the time. ”

    I think there is a worthwhile distinction to be drawn between dying in police custody and dying in a ditch. A ditch owes no duty of care for a start.

  21. ” boy drowned in a ditch no far from where I lived. He was so drunk he drown in a few inches of water. Another froze to death up north somewhere. People die from being drunk in public all the time. Perhaps people will die or be injured in these drunk tanks…”

    Unlike in your first three examples, we’ll be on the hook to Ambulance Chasers Are Us for the last one….

  22. ChrisM: “I think there is a worthwhile distinction to be drawn between dying in police custody and dying in a ditch. A ditch owes no duty of care for a start.”

    And, So Much, there is rather a large difference between dying in a ditch and dying in police custody at the hands of someone else who is sharing the drunk tank.

    The point here, So Much, that you seem to be missing, is that this would not be a standard arrest and incarceration procedure. If it was, the PM would simply have said something like “I would like to see more people arrested and prosecuted for their poor behaviour whilst drunk”. He did not say that, he said he wanted Drunk Tanks like in the USA. My understanding is that these are often communal cages where people are left to sober up.

    So either he seems to be saying that being drunk is such an immoral activity that the usual procedures shouldn’t apply and people should be left to the whims of other drunks. And where does this stop? I can think of crimes much more heinous than being drunk in the town centre on a Friday night. Maybe suspects in those cases should be treated by a different process as well?

  23. So far as the abolition of due process goes, we do of course already have procedures for rozzers to act as judge and jury by handing out tickets for various things. Just for example. I deprecate this, but to most people it is unremarkable as, I am afraid, will be the suggestion that drunks (then Jews, gypsies, commies, minarchists, etc., channelling Neimoller) should simply be rounded up and deprived of their liberty.

  24. Yesssss, but the tickets are only “judge and jury” if you accept them and pay the fine. If you turn over the ticket when you next get one you will see there is a chit which allows you to request a hearing.

  25. Not sure that’s always the case, Blue Eyes, but even if it is with tickets issued by rozzers and my example therefore imperfect, one can nevertheless receive camera-based fine tickets against which there is usually and in effect no recourse or due process (rare execeptions apply). One can also be given, for instance, a police Caution for certain first offences where admitted. … and actually, I’m not sure that admitting to stuff really changes the basic point that what we used to think of as due process is being whittled by the empowerment of various arms and agencies summary to mete out punishment. After all, if admitting to it were sufficient there’s no reason why “yes, officer, I’m standing over the body of my recently murdered wife because I am her murderer” shouldn’t land you straight in prison for x period.

    On the other other hand, I suppose for all practical purposes, it would: he’d arrest you, you’d be interviewed and, regardless of the content of the interview, not bailed, produced at the mags for a brief hearing to confirm your name, bail again inevitably refused, whisked up to the Crown court, where you’d almost certainly enter a guilty plea before being sentenced to x years…

    Oh, shucks, I don’t know

  26. What Ed said.

    It’s the inevitable evolutionary trajectory of the Big Moral State. So much becomes against the law, it’s impossible for a court system to deal with, so you have to have a mutaween with quasi-judicial powers, and then your whole “jury of peers” thing has to be abandoned.

  27. ‘They are too easy to beat the crap out of while in the cells so they probably shouldn’t be kept with other prisoners.’

    They probably shouldn’t be kept with policemen either.

  28. If you get a speeding ticket you could ask the court to look at it, no problem. The issue there is that the evidence is pretty well nailed on because the system is designed that way. What you receive in the post is effectively a witness statement and an exhibit showing the evidence that the prosecutor has against you.

    If you want to give a defence or mitigation or dispute the evidence you can. No process has been short-circuited.

    If you don’t like the automation factor fine, argue against it. I happen not to like speed cameras either but I don’t dispute the legal process surrounding them.

    However what Cameron appears to be proposing is a “straight to punishment” system of a night imprisoned with other drunk in this tank of his or a lower standard of suspect care. If he was arguing that the processes were too strict for all suspects then he could be intellectually coherent and argue for that. But that is not what he is arguing at all.

    “Jury of peers” etc.: you do know that magistrates courts have existed for rather a long time? Are you proposing their abolition?

  29. I think I’m right in saying that the existence of the mags courts is an outrage to Magna Carta, and the purist in me dislikes this.

    As to summary tickets, I think often it is all but impossible to dispute the evidence. It’s as if, accused of glassing a chap in a pub, I’m faced with CCTV of me doing it and six witness statements of me doing it, and told to accept my guilt. I may well be as guilty as sin, but I want my trial. In fact it does sometimes happen that Dave Pillock is caught on CCTV glassing Colin Hateface and there are at least one or two people willing to swear that they, too, saw, him do it. Pillock demands his trial. His trial may well be a humiliating farce. But he’s entitled to it.

  30. I think we agree then, that if you want a trial you can have one, even if the evidence is unchallengeable. You simply fill the form in and post it back.

  31. Having a few years experience from the other side of the (licensed) bar may I say that when The World and his wife were out on a Saturday night it was he and she and the publican who would curtail the drunken excesses of the Yoof. Drunkeness was socially unaccepable and family and neighbours would never let you forget it.
    Since the introduction of the superpubs and cocktail bars, in which The World and his wife would not be seen dead, enthusiastic Yoof drinking has acquired a glamour not seen before, spurred on by TV progs about British drunks abroad etc.
    City centers, including my own, have indeed become unpleasant places after mid-night. Insensible drunks are, here, either committed to hospital by the on duty paramedics or handed to ‘Street Pastors’ who blanket them, coffee them and protect them. Violent drunks are arrested as before.
    Arrested drunks are left to sober up (drunk tank?) before being cautioned and interviewed. There is no sense in interviewing someone who is belligerent and unable to comprehend what is being said to him/her.

  32. Blue Eyes, I don’t think it’s right that with tickets handed out by rozzers you can always demand a trial. But let’s assume it is: what then is there to prevent, say, a middling offence of ABH – say, a black eye – being dealt with in the same way, with a ticket? You tell the rozzer on scene, “I done it, occifer”, you sign his pocket notebook to confirm these are your words, and he gives you a month inside/orders you to pay £1000 compensation/whatever?

    As a pragmatic proposition, you might favour this, I don’t know. But it seems to me to be fraught with difficulties, difficulties which we don’t tend to see arising with regulatory ‘offending’. For instance: you go down for a month, come out the other side and six weeks later you’re discussing it with a bloke in a pub. We’ll call him Edward Lud, for the sake of argument. You tell him that the bloke you gave a black eye to was steaming towards you with a murderous look on his face after you spilled his pint. Rather than wait to find out what his right hook was like, you let him have it. He goes down and starts crying like a babby. Mr Rozzer turns up. You’ve had a couple. You’re feeling a little bit bad. You tell the rozzer, because you’re an honest chap, “I done it, occifer”. The nice rozzer asks you to be so kind as to sign his notebook to that effect and, wanting to be helpful, you agree. Lovely.

    And all this comes out a couple of months later, tallking in the boozer to this Lud. Who says: a) sounds like you acted in reasonable self-defence, given the way matey boy was approaching you, b) you’re out of time to appeal your conviction.

  33. “…spurred on by TV progs about British drunks abroad etc.”

    Yeah. Last year, caught one of those filmed at a resort just down the coast from here. Judging from the cars, shop fronts, it was filmed around the end of the eighties.
    If I take a stroll along the playa of a holiday season evening I might come across a crowd of Brit youth, obviously well pissed, “‘Avin’ a laff.” High spirits. Bit of yelling & maybe the odd impolite & possibly obscene request from a passer-by. But nothing to be worried about. Reason? We do actually have a police presence here. When the kids go into a bar they know the same cop car will be waiting when they come out. Will step on them if they don’t behave.
    Contrast with my North London ‘village’, beloved of media & acting types with it’s dozen bars & pubs, 60 odd restaurants. Despite being able to field a veritable army in blue when one of our 2 local Premier Division clubs is playing at home, a Saturday night had only two cars to cover the entire area. We are on what is described as response policing, meaning the law turns up at a stabbing slightly after the ambulance.
    The primary purpose of the police is to keep order. Not deal with disorder after the event. And this will more of the same won’t it? Scrape the drunks off the streets at 2am rather than be there when they could have deterred them getting in that state in the first place. Yet deterrence is exactly the justification for the dozens of police troopcarriers blocking side roads for a football match.

  34. Just to add to the above & to supplement one of IanB’s regular beefs. It’s that puritan ethic again isn’t it? The notion that just because this particular bunch of tax paying citizens prefer to spend an evening having a few drinks & a good time rather than sit indoors watching the BBC, they aren’t entitled to the same standards of protection & safety. They’re all potential criminals & will be treated as such.

  35. I get the ‘let people be drunk if people want to be drunk’ thing, and I get the ‘we really don’t want the state locking more people in rooms’ thing. However, there’s an awful lot of public drunkeness out there which, without question, ‘scares the horses’.. and so perhaps the test of whether the state should be giving consideration to what might be done to improve matters is passed. Then, given we can agree that there are a great many situations where neither arrests nor hospitals are entirely appropriate.. I can see the logic from which this suggestion comes. Any application would, of course, be a complete disaster.. but credit where it is due, no?

  36. At the risk of channelling The Lady, as well as Martin Neimoller, and all in one day, there is no such thing as the state. It’s an abstraction, a collective noun for a bunch of people who are at best self-aggrandising idiots and at worst malevolent cattle prodders. So the state will not be giving consideration to how to improve matters, but the two groups identified supra will. And they’ll muck it up, at best. At worst they’ll create other problems besides. The best these groups can do is get out of the way as far as possible.

    I’ve read nothing here today that gets past Worstall’s basic point: if someone’s broken the law (assuming for the moment that it’s a good and proper law) then they can be arrested, by anyone, as it happens. They can be detained. But you can’t just lock people up absent a breach of that law.

  37. EdLud: “Blue Eyes, I don’t think it’s right that with tickets handed out by rozzers you can always demand a trial.” Perhaps a homework assignment for you?

    As to your main point I agree, dealing with most offences would be terrible with tickets. My guess is that this is why Parliament doesn’t sanction such processes. That is why legislation such as PACE gives a suspect every opportunity to give a defence or mitigation. So for example your pub fight chaps would both have ample opportunity to give their side of the story once sober enough to do so properly, and given taxpayer funded legal advice to boot!

    I don’t think anybody is suggesting that a pub fight should be dealt with by a ticket.

  38. I think you give them too much credit, Blue Eyes.

    Mine is the Thin End of the Wedge argument: the public doesn’t perceive the relatively extraordinary fact of extra-judicial powers attaching to Plod in relatively trivial matters. Given enough time, a sufficient passage of the generations, we’ll see i think a gradual increase in the range of offences that Plod can summarily ticket. Simple Possession. Common Assault. Shoplifting.

  39. Edward

    There is such a thing as ‘the state’, then. It is, indeed, a collective noun. Just like a pack of dogs is a thing we can identify or, perhaps, attempt to use for some useful purpose, the state is a thing we can identify and try and make some use out of. And no, I don’t much fancy our chances either.. but if ‘we’ all agreed that terribly drunk people wandering around the streets were a problem, then we could agree to do try and do something about it. On the other hand, we could maybe agree that drunk people wandering around the streets are a problem, but that we can”t come up with anything to do about it tat won’t likely be even worse so we’ll just put up with it instead. All valid.

    I think the point with the locking people up thing is that we think there’s a swathe of drunkeness which is already illegal and which one can already be arrested and locked up for.. but but which people are not arrested and locked up for, and we think they should not be arrested and locked up for.. because that’s deemed to be overkill and we feel that a less costly/onerous ‘solution’ might be a better option. And yes, there are immense concerns about what this could all mean in reality with regards to enabling the fuzz to pop people into rooms with reduced due process. My point was not that this is a whizzo brill-pop idea, but rather than I can see (as can many others0 that a) there is a problem and b) a remedy which is somewhat milder than those currently on offer would be nice.

  40. If there’s a problem, then I repeat the suggestion I made at the start of this thread. And, at the risk of reigniting a dispute I had with Ian B a week or two back, another way in which a relevant rolling back of the state might reduce present levels of alcohol consumption is by reducing tax on alcohol. I happen to think that reducing tax is always and everywhere a good thing, but in the present context I suspect it would also reduce the relative attraction of the round-buying culture. And if I’m wrong about that, what the hell ? A tax has been reduced.

    An not trying to be provocative, Ian 🙂

  41. I would just like to remind everyone that the motivation for these policies is nothing to do with reducing drunkennes, making the streets safer, or solving “a problem”. It is simply a puritan loathing of alcohol, organised into an effective activist campaign.

    It is thus useless discussing “solutions” or whether particular policies will have particular effects. The policies do not matter. The purpose is purely the intensification of the puritanism of the State and society in general, and that is the sole reason.

  42. if someone’s broken the law (assuming for the moment that it’s a good and proper law) then they can be arrested, by anyone, as it happens.

    Nope. As long as it is on the books. Now, if it is a bad law, then people can choose to actively disobey it and suffer the consequences in the hope that the “great reform bill” will finally be passed or that the masses will rise up in righteous revolution.

    It would be going too far to say that the only truly bad laws are ones that are either secret or obscure (because there are some awful politicians out there who would and have passed some utter crap.)

    But those are worthy of being called out because those are the ones you cannot know whether you are breaking them or not. As per this one and Rob’s pessimistic definition @ #16.)

  43. “…the motivation for these policies is nothing to do with reducing drunkenness…” Quite so. The motive is the urge to coerce, to bully and boss which is justified in the mind of the bullyer by reference to the standard household gods of common good, altruism and so on.

    SE, I’m afraid I don’t understand your comment. But then I’m always half cut by this time of night.

  44. Been thinking this through & can’t help wondering if we’re all barking up the wrong tree here. We’re looking for powers of detention & they’re not needed to run this. Works like this:
    Subject exits pub, somewhat the worse for drink & comes to the attention of the authorities.
    “Come on, Sonny, you can’t hang around here. We’ll take you back with us so you can sleep it off on a nice comfortable bed.”
    From here on he’d need to be a lawyer with the patience of a saint. Because pretty well anything he does from now on can be construed as offence if he fails to voluntarily comply with the invitation. A simple “F**k off.” can be construed as threatening behaviour. Brushing a hand away as assault. Probably half a dozen other offences I haven’t thought of.
    So the next line can be ” If you don’t come along I’ll have to arrest you.” And there’s nothing says he can’t be released without charge in the morning.

  45. Has he Mr Lud?
    My experience, that’s what happens when you get lippy with coppers. Starts with them asking you to voluntarily comply with a request. Argue & your nicked. Surely that’s essentially what’s happening in crowd control with ‘kettling’. You’re only herded into a area & restrained because you volunteer to be. It may be intimidating but at that point you haven’t committed an offence. However if you attempt to break out then you’re arrested. If that’s entrapment, I can think of a lot of people been entrapped.

  46. Ian B – “Well no, we ought to be working to maximise the liberty of citizens against a fanatical and oppressive State. That of course is just my opinion.”

    Well no, we should be working to maximise liberty, period. Whether from the State or from our fellow citizens. Drunken fellow subjects of Her Majesty routinely inflict damage, physical, emotional and to property, on other people. So there is a case to be made that such people should be dealt with. Actual damage that is. Not the made up sh!t we usually hear about.

    Although it would take a heroic commitment to liberty to say the police ought to stand by while a teenage boy drowns in a puddle due to being incapacitated through alcohol because that was his choice.

    ChrisM – “I think there is a worthwhile distinction to be drawn between dying in police custody and dying in a ditch. A ditch owes no duty of care for a start.”

    I agree. But I am not sure that should stop us. When the police stand by while little boys drown because none of them have the right training to wade into a shallow lake, or they lack the right piece of equipment, or the properly designated Health and Safety officer is not on site, people get annoyed. We have an obligation to do the right thing. If the system punishes people for doing the right thing, the system has a problem. The right thing is not to leave the incapacitated to freeze out doors.

    27 JuliaM – “Unlike in your first three examples, we’ll be on the hook to Ambulance Chasers Are Us for the last one….”

    Then the problem is to change the law so that Ambulance Chasers do not stop the police doing the right thing. Because if they do, we have far bigger problems. As we do actually.

  47. Blue Eyes – “And, So Much, there is rather a large difference between dying in a ditch and dying in police custody at the hands of someone else who is sharing the drunk tank.”

    Sure. One actually happens. The other is so rare we can more or less ignore it. The police should make sure no one dies in police custody and if they have failed they have failed in their duty of care. But they should make sure that people don’t drown in ditches as well, in so far as it is possible. Even if that means running a risk they will die in a cell.

    “The point here, So Much, that you seem to be missing, is that this would not be a standard arrest and incarceration procedure.”

    No, it would be more lenient. They would, I assume, get better supervision than an ordinary criminal would.

    “My understanding is that these are often communal cages where people are left to sober up.”

    Which is exactly what happens in the UK when the police can be arsed to apply the law. A drunk is taken into custody, they are left in the cells to sober up, in the morning the police have the choice of a Caution, a fine or sending them up before a magistrate. All Cameron seems to be saying is that the police should have some special resources and they should do it more often.

    “I can think of crimes much more heinous than being drunk in the town centre on a Friday night. Maybe suspects in those cases should be treated by a different process as well?”

    Being drunk does not make them a suspect. If they are being disorderly, it makes them an offender. And I tend to think offenders should be punished. If someone is cheerfully pissed and not annoying anyone, I see no problem. But if they are loud, abusive, violent and violently ill, I tend to think they should be in a drunk tank.

    34 Ian B – “It’s the inevitable evolutionary trajectory of the Big Moral State. So much becomes against the law, it’s impossible for a court system to deal with, so you have to have a mutaween with quasi-judicial powers, and then your whole “jury of peers” thing has to be abandoned.”

    100 years ago Britain was vastly more liberal and less administered than it is now. But they would not have let so many people become so drunk and disorderly in British streets. I agree with your general point, I just don’t agree with it in this specific case. The State does have a core of obligations they should enforce. Sexual and racial harassment are not one of them. Drunk and disorderly is.

    35 Peter S. – “They probably shouldn’t be kept with policemen either.”

    That is a glib and superficial comment. Who should they be kept with? Drunken people going home make a major contribution to our domestic violence and murder rates.

    36 Blue Eyes – “However what Cameron appears to be proposing is a “straight to punishment” system of a night imprisoned with other drunk in this tank of his or a lower standard of suspect care.”

    How is spending a night in a hospital bed or even in the cells a punishment of any note? What lower standards?

    ““Jury of peers” etc.: you do know that magistrates courts have existed for rather a long time? Are you proposing their abolition?”

    So … the police can’t arrest murderers until after they have been convicted? Because to spend one single night in the cells as a suspect in a crime is too much punishment for a free society? I find that odd.

  48. Edward,

    The point was about this phrase of yours:

    assuming for the moment that it’s a good and proper law

    The essential or practical goodness or propriety of the law bears no relation to your arrest-ability under it. It might make a difference in your final punishment if it is worth taking to a sufficiently high court which can overturn a bad or essential good but structurally or procedurally deficient statute on ECHR grounds.

    SMFS

    How is spending a night in a hospital bed or even in the cells a punishment of any note?

    It is a limited but material deprivation of your liberty. Whether that is justified by your conduct or as necessary for your safety or that of society is a relevant point. But it is still a punishment.

  49. SE, my point about “good and proper law” was merely to avoid the risk of digression. I could see how, absent that caveat, I’d be confronted with objections about being arrested for, for instance, the choice of recreational pharmaceuticals one has decided to stick up one’s bottom.

    BiS, if Knacker deliberately gets Sonny Rongun to behave in a way that he otherwise would not, so as to be able to arrest him, then yes in theory that’s entrapment. I say ‘in theory’ because there may be an argument as to the ultimate aim of that arrest. Classically, entrapment is done in order to arrest AND charge for the offence apparently induced. In your example there is presumably no intention to charge. At which point Knacker enters a world of pain because he has deprived his fellow man of fellow m’s liberty in bad faith.

  50. SMFS-

    100 years ago Britain was vastly more liberal and less administered than it is now. But they would not have let so many people become so drunk and disorderly in British streets. I agree with your general point, I just don’t agree with it in this specific case. The State does have a core of obligations they should enforce. Sexual and racial harassment are not one of them. Drunk and disorderly is.

    100 years ago Britain was already in the grip of Big State ideology and in particular gripped by Social Purity progressivism. It was only 4 years away from Lloyd George imposing Temperance laws.

    From a general historical perspective, you can look through social history of any period and find, lo!, people drinking and getting drunk. That is what drink is for which was part of what I was trying to say to Edward in that other discussion. The only way to stop drunkenness is to stop drink. The milder-end of the Temperance Movement have succesfully imposed this absurd idea that you’re supposed to drink and not get drunk, and getting drunk is “misuse” of alcohol. This is ridiculous. It is the same nonsense as Clinton not inhaling his dope. It is “you may still do this Damned Thing but don’t you dare enjoy it”.

    It is interesting to see how rapidly we are collapsing back into the Victorian/Progressive mindset, as this illustrates with its talk of “Drunk Tanks”- a direct creation of the First Wave Temperance Movement.

    We need to be absolutely clear on this. Alcoholic drinks are primarily purchased because they contain alcohol, and the purpose of consuming them is to induce some state of intoxication. If it is actually the desire of the State or yourself to prevent intoxication, you have to be against alcohol altogether. You cannot say “you may drink, but may not get drunk”. Reality does not work that way.

    And, this is the problem with what we now call social conservatism. Such people treat the Victorian/Post-Victorian Era as a datum, as if it was the “normal” state of Western society. It was not. It was the first wave of what we now call Political Correctness; a massive moralist government intervening arbitrarily in private life and behaviour.

    Drunk tanks are not the norm. Getting pissed and having a laugh and being left alone to do it so long as you don’t do something else that is actually criminal, that is the norm to compare to, not the deranged interference of upper class tossers that has been ruining our society for a century and a half in ever increasing degree.

  51. Oops, not 4 years, 2 years.

    Here’s the welsh twat with the girly hair bob in full flow by the way-

    “We are fighting Germany, Austria and drink; and as far as I can see, the greatest of these deadly foes is drink”

    Wanker.

  52. Sorry to keep serially commenting, but anyone interested in what we’re up against might enjoy this comprehensive history of the First Wave Total Arseholes-

    http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/component/content/article/160-life-on-the-home-front/1591-lloyd-georges-beer-or-when-it-was-illegal-to-buy-your-round.html

    -and note the astonishing similarity of rhetoric and proposed measures as we go around the mulberry bush with Big Temperance again.

    Oh they say it’s a terrible war, oh law,
    And there never was a war like this before,
    But the worst thing that ever happened in this war
    Is Lloyd George’s Beer.

  53. Ian B – “100 years ago Britain was already in the grip of Big State ideology and in particular gripped by Social Purity progressivism. It was only 4 years away from Lloyd George imposing Temperance laws.”

    I admire anyone who looks at 1912 Britain and claims it was in the grip of the Big State. It took the war for Lloyd George to get his way. Not likely to have happened in the normal course of events was it?

    “The only way to stop drunkenness is to stop drink.”

    That may be true but the law does not punish people for being drunk. It punishes them for being drunk and disorderly. In a public place. There is a difference.

    “Alcoholic drinks are primarily purchased because they contain alcohol, and the purpose of consuming them is to induce some state of intoxication.”

    I am not convinced that is true. Depending on what you mean by intoxication. I am just about to go and drink some home made alcohol. I do not intend to get drunk at all. Nor do I intend to lose my eyesight and make an unexpected trip to the hospital. But you never know.

    “You cannot say “you may drink, but may not get drunk”. Reality does not work that way.”

    But you can say you can’t get drunk, urinate in other people’s front yards, smash their post boxes, scream obscenities at small children, beat the crap out of other people and so on.

    “Such people treat the Victorian/Post-Victorian Era as a datum, as if it was the “normal” state of Western society.”

    If only.

    “Drunk tanks are not the norm.”

    All over the world governments tend to have drunk tanks because drunken people are a public order problem. They are the norm.

  54. Congratulations, SMFS, for that reframing there-

    But you can say you can’t get drunk, urinate in other people’s front yards, smash their post boxes, scream obscenities at small children, beat the crap out of other people and so on.

    All of which are crimes against persons and property, other than the bizarre “scream obscenities at small children” which seems to be concocted from the Moral Panicker’s Handbook or something, and for which these people can be arrested and tried. None of them are mere drunkenness, the persecution of which we are discussing.

    I am just about to go and drink some home made alcohol. I do not intend to get drunk at all.

    Well, you’re being a bit daft then, because it’s going to induce some drunkenness. If you only drink a small amount, you’ll only get a small amount of intoxication. But you’ll get some. That’s how it works.

    Nor do I intend to lose my eyesight and make an unexpected trip to the hospital.

    What? Is that from the MPH as well?

    I admire anyone who looks at 1912 Britain and claims it was in the grip of the Big State. It took the war for Lloyd George to get his way. Not likely to have happened in the normal course of events was it?

    Big Staters always grab at crises for major expansions; Wars on Terror, Great Depressions, whatever. Temperance was already seriously underway (e.g. 1908 licensing act) and the State had been seriously expanding for decades. Nationalisation of the telegraph, anyone? (1868). Municipal this and that. Slews of new powers and laws. It wasn’t as big as today, but that’s how growing things are. They are always smaller in the past.

    All over the world governments tend to have drunk tanks because drunken people are a public order problem. They are the norm

    They weren’t until the Temperance Fucknuts got themselves organised, which is the point of this debate, surely.

    I’m also kinda mystified why you think it’s the State’s business if I shout “obscenities” at “small children” when drunk; but not the State’s business if I shout “niggers” or “jewbastards” at them while sober.

    Sexual and racial harassment are not one of them. Drunk and disorderly is.

    Presumably I can shout, “get your tits out you dirty bitch!” at a woman while sober. If I do it drunk, I get arrested. Why?

  55. My personal favourite example of early industrial age statism is when the government forced private railway companies to permit smoking on their trains.

  56. Cells known as “drunk tanks” which detain inebriated people

    Change “drunk tanks” to “pubs” and “detain” to “lock-in”. Problem solved?

  57. Ian & SMFS, Plod would get involved if you shouted “nigger” or “jewbastard” or “get your tits out”, at whomever, when sober. Or when drunk. Although such behaviour is more common when drunk. You’d be prosecuted for a public order offence. On the whole I’m unimpressed by public order offences. They are for the most part both by definition and in practice victimless crimes or crimes subject to what we used to think of as the sticks and stones rule. Not that I rejoice when confronted by an inebriated leering fool who doesn’t quite cross the threhold into threatening behaviour and who refrains from any other identifiable harm besides being an unsightly nuisance, it’s just that that’s what he is: an unsightly nuisance.

    Separate but related point, no one, IMO, really believes taking drugs is criminal activity (in the true sense of ‘criminal’: intending and doing harm*)… that’s why even rozzers talk about “drug-related crime”. Sirsly. They might as well talk about crime-related crime. Occasionally you hear about “alcohol-related crime” (Stella Artois – “wifebeater” – beer for wife-beaters), and we may hear more of this in future. But I wonder whether our master haven’t bitten off more than they can chew: I’ve never known a more potent yet readily comprehensible argument against prohibition of drugs than the fact that booze was simultaneously legal. I mean, justify that, Daily Mail! Right? Yet, with the average unthinking member of the British Public of my acquaintance, the argument never seems to hold water. I wonder how these types will react if they find their modest tipple increasingly as proscribed – initially, socially – as is dope and, now, fags…

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