Wednesday 19 September 2012

We have all seen the sad pictures of two young women police offices mercilessly gunned down in Manchester, one a very young only daughter. This has inevitably caused much comment as to whether police officers generally should all be armed and whether capital punishment be introduced for the murder of a police officer.

I think most people, including those in the Police service, would not particularly favour arming police as a matter of course, but the issue of capital punishment is a different matter. If a poll was conducted throughout the country it would show that the vast majority of the population would vote for such legislation, not only for police officers, but for murder.

When such a suggestion is made there is an immediate outcry from those who are never likely to venture out alone in any unruly area of the country, especially at night, and would do all they could to stay far away from any display of violence. The Members of Parliament, who are always calling for independent enquiries into every subject imaginable, reject any discussion on bringing back capital punishment.

There was a time when a murder was considered to be of such seriousness that it was headline news for days. Now murder is such a common crime that it is often just another item on middle pages of the press. I state quite rationally that I doubt if a week goes past without it being reported (briefly) that a body has been found of a young man/woman, followed later by news of an arrest. Despite this being so, we are told the number of murders has decreased. If anyone seriously believes this, they are not facing reality.

It is all very well for such liberal minded people sitting comfortably in safe surroundings to be telling us how awful it is to suggest capital punishment, but if they had witnessed the tragedy of parents finding a policemen suddenly knocking on their door to tell them their daughter had been found strangled lying on a grass cliff; or returning home to find their teenage daughter lying with her head cut open having been struck with a steel bar; or young son stabbed to death for no reason; and then to experience the frustration of seeing the perpetrator told they must serve at least ten years in prison, they would enter the real world.

I once took part in a debate with a Methodist Minister at a Church hall when he said, amongst other things, that it was un-Christian to support capital punishment. I stated, and still do, that it is because I am a Christian that I am in favour of such punishment. A little reading (and acceptance) of the Bible would support such a view.

If the thugs who go out committing crime armed with guns knew that they faced the death penalty, there would be a different outcome. I have heard all the arguments about wrongful convictions due to faulty evidence and police fixing. The science into DNA research has proved most reliable into the establishment of fact, and I do not accept that police would deliberately give false evidence in such a serious case, especially knowing what a guilty sentence would mean. Added to this is the Home Secretary has the authority to make a final decision.

If the politicians are serious in their desire to cut the number of murders they have the power, and the support of the people. When capital punishment was abandoned, the day afterwards policemen were shot dead in London. The then Home Secretary, although probably the worst the country has had, just shrugged it off when questioned. However, part of the agreement was that the alternative would be life imprisonment. Now there is very little chance of a person being sentenced to life. Regularly we read a person so convicted is told they ‘are sentenced to life imprisonment and must serve at least ?? years before release.’ The person who died had no reprieve and their relations were left with a real life sentence.

It is time the politicians faced up to their responsibilities.

My sermon this week will be on Genesis Chapter 9 v 6

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