HAD Mr Vant read my Mailbag letter of March 31 more carefully he would have noted that the figures I supplied covered 50 years when there had been both Labour and Tory governments.

Denying that crime has risen beyond belief during that time is what prevents ‘sensible national debate’ which Mr Vant purports to seek.

Being in my 60s and therefore one of the ‘elderly’ to whom he refers, I can tell Mr Vant that my life is not ‘blighted by fear of crime’, nor do I wear rose-tinted spectacles..

I am appalled, disgusted and outraged by our mealy-mouthed politicians (and their apologists) whose attitude to the millions of crimes committed in the UK each year seems to be one of benign tolerance, as if career criminals are naughty children who must be fondly indulged.

They then dare say to the rest of us: “Look. it’s OK. We wrote it down – more than that other lot did!’’

Whether you’re recording a crime once or 10 times does not make things any better. The crime has still been committed.

For the first 20 years of my life I never heard of anyone in my locality in Huddersfield having their property broken into. Now I hear of it on a monthly basis.

Why should I be surprised when 77,000 burglars in a single year are let off with a caution?

So what can we do?

How about our leaders and their supporters stating plainly that stealing things, beating people up and murder are simply wrong?

How about some of our leaders feeling as outraged as many of the people I speak to daily do and letting that outrage fuel their determination to address the problem?

Preventing crime and punishing those who break society’s laws would help. Making a ‘life’ sentence mean exactly that would help.

Stop apologising for criminals, that would help. Instead of trying to ‘understand’ them, perhaps we ought to be telling criminals – all of us – that they ought to be ashamed of their behaviour. Difficult to do when our MPs show so little sense of shame for their recent outrageous behaviour!

Perhaps Mr Vant could tell us all what happened to ‘Tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’, or is the political definition of being tough simply the collection of more and more statistics to throw at the electorate when they have the temerity to ask: “Mr Prime Minister, what are you doing about the 4,500,000 reported crimes committed in the UK each year, let alone the 5,500,000 unreported ones?’’

Just writing them down is not enough.

Richard A Bulloch


Breaking the cycle

THE Howard League for Penal Reform is asking as many people as possible to take action for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.

The charity needs your readers to get involved in our General Election campaign.

The prison population is close to breaking point. Each year about 66,000 men, women and children are given sentences of less than a year with the vast majority serving less than six weeks in custody.

Yet these people are often homeless, workless and still drug and alcohol addicted and so it is no surprise that two thirds go on to reoffend.

For too many people the only activities available in prison involve gangs and hard drug use or spending all day lounging on a cell bunk.

The Howard League wants to stop the cycle of crime where prisoners are shut up, forgotten and then dumped back on to the street.

We need more investment in communities to tackle the underlying causes of crime.

We need the support of your readers today for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.

Please visit our website www.howardleague.org to find out more about the Take Action 2010 campaign.

Frances Crook

Director of the Howard League for Penal Reform

Who is running Kirklees?

FOR some time I have wondered who runs our council.

Our elected councillors take a great deal of stick for numerous incidents of apparent mismanagement. But is this stick being wielded in the right direction?

Are our councillors in a position of being able to mismanage? If they are, why do we pay the various managers and executives their massive salaries? I thought it was to manage.

Why are these anonymous faces immune from criticism and most important from the consequences of what they do or don’t do?

Why do we never see or hear of anyone being brought to book, disciplined or sacked for these major debacles that take place far too often?

It is our money that pays them.

It would be nice to see a family tree of all the managers and executives showing their responsibilities and where all our councillors fit into this and what their responsibilities are.

Lawrence Whiteley

Salendine Nook

A waste of money

LARGE plastic advertisements have started appearing to the latest Kirklees Council project, car sharing.

How much is this one costing a council that keeps crying the poor tale?

Two council workers have taken a couple of weeks to erect them and probably the same in Dewsbury and Batley. Kirklees has probably set up another department to deal with it.

Did we get the same money spent on letting us know the options for how the council could be changed? It’s not been easy to find the options for a proposed new constitution for Kirklees – I finally found them in a council handout – and even harder to find a contact number at which I could register a vote for an elected mayor.

An elected mayor might have half a chance of protecting us from the projects that are dreamed up by Regeneration.

I bet more money is being wasted on the car share scheme than was spent on a really important option that our dictatorial councillors didn’t want us to have, so as not to lose their power. What a sad lot.

Do they serve us or what, or do the department heads make all the decisions?

Hazel Spencer

independent candidate, Newsome Ward

Human Rights Act

TO Brenda Holroyd of Netherthong (Mailbag, April 20) with reference to the Human Rights Act, can I make a plea to anyone who wants to abolish the Act to read it first and then come back and explain what parts of the Act they particularly dislike?

Please send any reply directly to me at tony.woodhead@kirklees.gov.uk

Clr Tony Woodhead

Lindley Ward

Improving the NHS

THE NHS provides good care day in day out – this we all know. More recently though, we have heard of more and more cases of poor care within our hospitals.

Many older people now live in fear of becoming ill and needing hospital care.

Cure the NHS is a group of relatives who united to challenge our local hospital to improve the care it provides, particularly to the elderly and vulnerable.

We have had contact from people from all over the country who, like us, have concerns about the care their hospital is providing.

Because of this we have decided to help others to develop groups similar to ours. We believe that by all working together we will have a much stronger voice, to create the changes that are needed within the NHS.

For more information visit our website www.curethenhs.co.uk or telephone Celia Watson 07886571661 or me on 07708469513.

Julie Bailey

Cure the NHS, Stafford

Blue sky thinking

THIS morning I looked out on a clear blue sky and marvelled at how big it looked without the criss-cross of vapour/fuel trails.

I thought about good old Concorde which flew at 50,000 feet until it was scuppered due to the jealousy of the Americans. I feel sure it would have still been able to fly.

If this volcanic disruption carries on for any length of time – I’m not being pessimistic but some volcanoes rumble on for years – then it might became necessary to bring back the airship and the aeroplanes which used props.

Continental travel would have been able to continue if the programme for high speed trains had been continued and not abandoned like so many other projects that made Britain great!

So many lost opportunities we could live to regret!

Chris Woolnough


All Iceland’s fault

IT WAS Iceland’s fault for pulling the carpet from under the greedy bankers and losing the council’s brass.

It is now Iceland’s fault for having a volcano and clearing the skies of aeroplanes. Pity about the people stuck abroad, but it was nice in the garden with no noise in the sky.

If things happen in threes, what is Iceland going to do next ? Get rid of the EEC and all its Labour, Conservative and Lib/Dem component support?

Could be a green and pleasant land once again.

Robert Walker

BNP candidate, Colne Valley

Wonga epilepsy walks

I AM writing to ask your readers to support people with epilepsy by getting involved in Epilepsy Action’s Wonga Walks.

Wonga Walks are taking place across the country to mark Epilepsy Action’s 60th anniversary this year.

ŠAll the funds raised from the walks will help us help people affected by epilepsy.

To find out how to take part in a Wonga Walk or for information about organising your own event, please visit www.epilepsy.org.uk/wongawalks. You can also call the fundraising team on 0113 210 8800.

Michael White

Fundraising Events Officer