Prison not always the best option
You reported (Bury Free Press, 28 December) an employer’s anger at a thief’s low sentence – two years in prison, but suspended for two years – for stealing £ 28,000.
In the interests of deterring the thief, of deterring others, and for compensating the employer, what could be better?
For that sort of criminal, prison is not the best option. He is not a general threat to the public. It is very expensive for taxpayers (including the employer) and it does not seem to deter thieves much; indeed, it has been alleged that it results in them learning how better to steal more. Perhaps a financial penalty would be better; but the thief is unlikely to have much money left if, as stated, he has spent so much on riotous living. One might at least hope that the jewellery and designer clothes mentioned were being reclaimed and sold off. Perhaps he could also be required to pay as much as practical out of his future earnings?
As a deterrence for other potential thieves, a suspended prison sentence does not seem to be much use. Removing their property, whether or not stolen in the case, sounds better; but is that allowable? If so, doing that, and publicising it, would be a better deterrence.
For the employer, some form of recompense might be better, though his financial checking system seems to have been rather poor.
Obviously some form of repayment would be better for him. I had thought that removing some or all of the thief’s possessions and selling them off was now a legal possibility. Perhaps one of your legally qualified readers could comment.
Carrying out the prison sentence would probably cost the taxpayer more than the £28,000 involved. It might be better, therefore, if the taxpayer refunded all or most of the employer’s losses, (perhaps after some deduction for his poor accounting system) subject to reclaiming as much as legally allowable from the thief now or in the future.
Maybe some part of these suggestions is already in hand, but not yet reported?
Sir Reginald Harland
Bury St Edmunds
Proposals offer few protections
The Religious Society of Friends has come out in favour of same-sex marriage. ‘For Quakers this is an issue of religious freedom. We do not seek to impose this on any one else’ (Letters, December 28).
That is all very well for that ‘church’, but what of the wider implications.
As we know, in a u-turn recently announced by the Prime Minister, the Government has decided to introduce same-sex weddings in churches. Its public consultation had proposed allowing them in civil settings only.
The Government’s proposals have confirmed many people’s fears about the implications in the workplace for people who believe in traditional marriage. No new protections are being offered for the millions of people who work in the public sector, including teachers, foster carers and NHS or Army chaplains. It seems that teachers will be expected to teach about same-sex marriage in lessons and that parents will face problems withdrawing their children from these classes.
The plans will clearly have a very powerful impact across the whole of society. This is why the Government is proposing a ‘quadruple lock’ to try to prevent churches being forced to carry out same-sex weddings.
But Government ministers have admitted that they cannot stop churches being sued, they only think that the litigation will not be successful. Even then the plans are dependent on the European Court of Human Rights not backing same-sex marriage in the future. This is why I am backing the campaign for marriage – www.c4m.org.uk
Bury St Edmunds
Protect NHS from privatisation
The National Health Service is about to undergo drastic changes as the result of Government legislation. This could lead to creeping privatisation, which will have no long term benefit for patients.
Clinical Commisioning Groups (CCGs) will have the power to allow or prevent this privatisation. Detailed amendments to the constitution of the CCGs, which would protect the NHS from privatisation have been published by a group with the title ‘38 Degrees’.
I, like many others who oppose prvatisation, have benefitted from the NHS, as my wife did, receiving first class treatment for cancer, which would have been extremely expensive under any private arrangement.
Bury St Edmunds
Christmas play was a delight
As a past headteacher of Westage Primary School I am always invited to to their Christmas show.
At the end of last term, I was invited to see the Santa’s on Strike show involved with about 100 young children aged between five and seven years old and it was absolutely amazing. The young children sung and danced so very well. The show ran for about an hour and there were certainly no mistakes.
Bury St Edmunds
Thanks for your support
I am writing on behalf of the NSPCC in Suffolk to thank your readers for their support over the last 12 months.
The NSPCC relies heavily on the support of local people in order to provide our services for children and their families and we really do appreciate the efforts that people go to, especially in such a challenging financial climate.
Last year was a really exciting time for the NSPCC as we launched our new ChildLine Schools Service. The service is aiming to visit every primary school by 2016, educating nine to 11 year olds about abuse and where to go to for help. In addition, our service centre in Suffolk has been delivering innovative new services which focus on protecting very young children whose parents are drug or alcohol dependant, children in care, and also on preventing sexual abuse.
Sadly we can’t provide vital services like this without the support of local people and I would like to ask your readers when thinking about their New Year resolutions, to consider supporting the NSPCC. Just one example of how others in Suffolk have done this is by forming a Business Group which raises money for the NSPCC. If anyone is interested in joining a group or starting their own, they can contact me on 01353 699745 or log on to www.nspcc.org.uk
Head of community fund-raising