Just call me Mister Gunn……….

Colin Gunn demands some respect when spoken to
In yet another depressing sign of the times Colin Gunn, a self-styled gangster who epitomises the worst of the UK’s chav generation, has won an important victory for prisoners seeking respect from within the walls of the prison establishment.
As the Sunday Times reported at the weekend, Gunn has now won the right to be called by the title he wishes after a battle with the prison authorities at Whitemoor HMP. Gunn revealed his victory in a letter published in this month’s issue of the prison inmates newspaper Inside Times.
I raise this issue because I have written at length about the misery that Gunn and his cohorts brought to the people of Nottingham and beyond. Perhaps there is nothing wrong in the idea that prisoners should be addressed in a formal manner; a civilised society should not seek to treat inmates as animals if there is any hope of rehabilitating them from the wrong road they have taken. What is wrong here is that Gunn has been afforded some kind of respectful status in the face of some truly brutal crimes for which he is rightly facing a 35 year tariff. I make no mention of other crimes he hasn’t been convicted of which currently lie in the dusty shelves of detectives trays marked “case unsolved”.
Surely until we start treating the victims of crime with the respect that they deserve, the human rights concerns of the likes of Colin Gunn should be pushed to the back of the queue. Colin Gunn is clearly revelling in this latest burst of publicity because he thinks he has got one over on the system that he is constantly seeking to pevert. His idea of a just world is one where might is right and the mob rules and where he is considered as a role model for others…that seems to me a recipe for the end of civilised society.

The age of organised crime is upon us…..

Earlier this week the Met’s chief Sir Paul Stephenson indicated that dealing with organised crime was the biggest challenge that would face the UK’s law enforcement agencies in the coming years . He rightly raised concerns about how, in the current economic climate, police forces and the criminal justice system – faced with making huge budget cuts – would be able to meet the challenges of organised crime. The public could be forgiven for thinking that the agency specifically charged with combating the problem the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) , now in its fifth year, is on top of the problem. 
In fact SOCA is only dealing with the top tier of criminals and most of the middle and lower tier criminal gangs which are operating now out of Britain’s housing and industrial estates fall under the radar of SOCA. As a result these gangs are being left to grow perniciously because the specialist units which local police forces have to deal with them are few and far between. More than that these specialist units are the very ones that may be at risk when the current round of budget cuts being considered by all police authorities come into play. In Nottinghamshire it was this very scenario – the dismantling of its major crime unit and drugs squad, in 2000/2001 – which contributed to the rise in power of gangsters such as Colin Gunn from the city’s Bestwood estate. In today’s Telegraph there is a further warning about how organised crime is being imported imported and yet this is a problem that has been festering for some years; staring the politicians in the face. Perhaps a way forward would be for police forces which share geographical county borders to pool their resources into regional specialist units to tackle organised crime such as the East Midlands Special Operations Unit which uses the resources of five police forces to tackle organised crime and middle tier drugs dealers. Ultimately it will be for the politicians to decide where the axe falls on the ever thinning blue line, but if Sir Paul Stephenson is correct the UK could be in for a rocky ride ahead with the economic conditions giving rise to more wannabe Tony Sopranos than it can handle.