June 2011 articles archive:

More Red Tape – new Continuous Insurance Enforcement

Is this a case of bureaucracy keeping check on bureaucracy?

Those of you who are looking for examples of ‘red tape’ might be interested to learn that this new requirement which attempts to clamp down on uninsured vehicles came into effect on the 20 June. Road Safety Minister Mike Penning reminds us why the new law is necessary saying:

'An estimated 1.4 million drivers are flouting the law by driving without insurance. This is a serious offence and results in accidents that cause about 160 deaths each year - and more than 23,000 people are injured by uninsured drivers. It also adds around £30 per year to honest drivers' motor insurance policies.

'We know who the registered keepers are with vehicles that have no insurance and letters will be dropping onto their doormats from this week. It's no longer a case of if you will get caught but when you will get caught.'  

Previously the matter of driving whilst uninsured was an offence as it still is but only usually came to light if you were stopped for some other offence or spotted as a result of a vigilant police patrol car having an onboard computer with the right software. Many may argue that the new law seems to smack of big brother and that it is targeted at ‘hard done by’ drivers. Could they be right?

  However it is possible to argue that the measure will free up the police from dealing with regulatory matters so that they have more time to ‘catch real criminals’.  

On the other hand we are led to believe that red tape may be a thing of the past if we look at the government’s new  Red Tape Challenge website which invites comments and observation on a whole host of rules and regulations according to various themes.

  Pity if you have any views about vehicle insurance – because that topic has already been dealt with!

 Is this a case of bureaucracy keeping check on bureaucracy?


Sentencing reforms – a serious debate would be helpful

The scrapping of the proposal to introduce an enhanced discount scheme of up to 50% off of sentences in some cases, for those who pleaded guilty at the earliest stage, has paved the way for a serious and informed debate about sentencing reforms.

Now that David Cameron has announced the scrapping of the government’s proposal to introduce an enhanced discount scheme of up to 50% off of sentences in some cases, for those who pleaded guilty at the earliest stage, this may have paved the way for a serious and informed debate about sentencing reforms. Whether Kenneth Clarke did or did not get too bogged down on the issue of serious sexual offences and rape does not alter the fact that in view of the importance of the subject of sentencing, surely it warrants a serious debate and there now needs to be an opportunity for that to happen. Obvious claims of ‘U’ turns are one thing but there are other proposals at stake.

Other proposals to be included in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill   include such matters as making prison life harder, the wider use of mandatory sentences, the introduction of a new criminal offence of squatting, a review of indeterminate or indefinite sentences and an addendum to the law relating to those who use reasonable force to defend themselves and their property to the effect that they will not be prosecuted. Proposed cuts in the legal aid bill have already sparked a very vocal and healthy debate –thanks to Sound Off For Justice  and others.

We really need to hear more about the reasoning behind these other measures.




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