The ‘Silly Season’ of Christmas news or rather, Non-News, is upon us. 

You probably missed the ABC spot.  It would have been headlined something like, “Hoons Torch Cars”.  No one likes the image of a burnt-out hulk along the road.  We have seen three on our stretch of highway this past year or so.  We are told young hoons, usually males of about eighteen (who probably wear baseball caps), torch stolen cars to cover their fingerprints or destroy their DNA markers.  Rotten stuff! 

As always the police response is the same.  They call for ‘tougher laws’ and ‘steeper penalties’ and ‘liberty to investigate’ these terrible happenings and get after anyone who might know who the driver was and treat those who know the drivers as criminals as well.  Suddenly the prison gets bigger.

This is their classic reaction to problems they do not seem to be able to solve or understand.  We can say that there are now fewer police on duty because of budget restraints, possibly true and perhaps the young hoons are smarter now with all of the IT machines they use.  This torching of cars must be brought to an end but giving the cops more power is no answer.

However, by the department’s own admission on the ABC segment, car theft is down 43% for the same period of last year.  Wait a minute.  Theft is down, the police and laws must be working something very well.  Yet, they want MORE POWER to pursue, arrest, investigate and interrogate.  Why?

Police, the world over, (I have lived in twelve countries and travelled in about 120) always want more power, more arrest abilities, more of everything to make their success ratio higher.

My New Year’s wish is for the police to be satisfied with the laws which are already too plentiful and get on with the job of simple law and order.  They are not politicians trying to get new laws passed to make their work easier.

Dr Buck Emberg is a long-time resident of the Tamar Valley.