In the 1990s, in common with other counties in England, the Isle of Wight had a crime prevention panel of which I was the chairman.

Our mandate from the government was to investigate ways in which the combat of crime could be improved.

At a function which we hosted, attended by all those concerned with crime prevention, I was buttonholed by the inspector from Shanklin police station, who complained that he had been made a laughing stock with the youth in his area because all he could do was issue a caution.

We approached Barry Field, our MP at the time, who arranged for a deputation to travel up to London and interview Lord MacKay, the Lord Chancellor.

We spent about half-an-hour with him, putting to him that the judicial system was not fit for purpose and presenting several examples, such as that of the Shanklin police inspector, to support our case.

He listened attentively and we came away feeling that we had justified our existence but, of course, nothing happened and shortly afterwards we resigned en-masse.

Nothing has improved and the two murderers of infants prosecuted recently, although sentenced to life imprisonment, will only serve 29 and 25 years respectively.

This is a farce and shows that the judicial system that was not fit for purpose in the 1990s is certainly not fit for purpose now!

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