BUSINESS QUESTION – VANDALS AS VICTIMS – 18 September 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: May we have a statement from the Home Secretary, or perhaps one of the Law Officers, on the policing and judicial practice applied in the case of Mr. James Dowell, who found 15 youngsters vandalising his pond, and managed to detain three of them and force them to clear up the mess? He was subsequently arrested by no fewer than eight police officers for false imprisonment, received a sentence of 80 hours community service, and has been tagged for the next four months to make sure that he does not do it to them again. Would it not be good to get back to the time when the letters "PC" meant police constable, not political correctness?

[Peter Hain: I am obviously baffled by that case, but I shall certainly ensure that the Home Secretary knows about it. At least the citizen concerned was not sentenced to attend the proceedings of the Conservative Party.]