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Additional texts. Read Texts A and B and discuss the following questions:

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  5. Additional texts.
  6. I. Read the texts.


Read Texts A and B and discuss the following questions:

1) How did the attitude to the British police change compared to the last century?

2) What facts are given in the text to show legal mistakes?

3) What new rules were introduced to protect the rights of citizens?

4) How did the increased expense on crime prevention change the crime rate in Great Britain?

Text A

There was a time when the broad mass of British people felt confident and proud about their system of justice, and in particular the quality of the police force. There has been a loss of innocence since then, most strikingly the result of some spectacular miscarriages of justice. In 1989 four Irishmen, ‘the Guildford Four’ were released after 15 years’ imprisonment when it was revealed that the police interrogation on which they had been convicted in 1874 had not been properly conducted. They had been found guilty of causing a bomb explosion in a Guildford pub. The following year, the conviction of seven other people, /the Maguire Seven’, found guilty of running a bomb factory in the 1970s was quashed. And the year after that, 1991, another six Irishmen, ‘the Birmingham Six’, convicted for a bomb explosion in Birmingham in the 1970s, were also released because their convictions were unsound.

Through the 1990s there has been a steady trickle of other revelations leading to the release of people convicted for murder. In 1996 the police admitted that James Hanratty, one of the last men to be hanged in Britain for murder over 30 years earlier, was in fact innocent. The same year it was agreed to review two other suspected cases of miscarried justice. All these cases revealed disturbing aspects of police methods: obtaining confessions by improper means; withholding vital pieces of evidence because they weakened or undermined the case for prosecution; faking evidence; failing to check within the police force when doubts arose about a particular officer’s methods. Concern for such miscarriages, however, has been offset by the police’s anxiety over rising crime rates and its desire that criminal be caught and punished.


Text B

Until1984 no British citizen had any formal protection against police intimidation except customary ones, the right to silence and the right to see a solicitor. Since 1984 there have been statutory codes of practice to be followed in the arrest and questioning of suspects, including the requirement to tape-record all interrogations (for court use). This should improve things, but it should be remembered in the words of one ex-policeman ‘cells and detention rooms are known as places where officers feel free from formal and organizational rule.’

In an age of increasing popular violence and disrespect for law and order, the great challenge for the police is to recapture the respect of the public. Frustrating as it may be for the police, the challenge is to show great restraint rather than aggression under provocation. It is also to shift the emphasis back from the more exciting image from armed or armored law-enforcement to a softer image of policing in the form of a friendly but firm neighborhood bobby. In the longer run, the way the public feel about the police, is of fundamental importance to police ability to control crime and maintain public order. Unfortunately, neighborhood policing has far lower status that crime control.

As the challenges of modern society became more complex, the response of the conservative government was to give the police more manpower and more money. Between 1979 and 1992 expenditure on the criminal justice system (police, courts and prisons) doubled in real terms. However, there is no indication these extra resources had any effect at all on recorded offences which rose considerably. In other words, the steepest increase in crime coincided with the greatest increase in crime prevention expenditure. Even these statistics, however, are probably a friction of the real crime figure. Furthermore, the failure of increased spending on crime prevention to effect crime figures suggests the answer to crime must lie elsewhere. [13]

Text C

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