Warminster court must re-open(November 14, 2008)
NEWS, in The Wiltshire Times today, that there has been 22 incidents of criminal damage over a two week period in Warminster will come as no surprise to residents of some areas.
We do not know who is responsible but the chances are that they are aged under 21 and male.
There is no excuse for such behaviour but the fact that tyre slashing etc is taking place demonstrates there is a need for things to be done differently in this town with the fresh approaches we have outlined in our policing and young people’s section of the vision.
In the past when offenders had been traced the identities of those responsible would, if aged over 18, have become widely known to the public as they would have been dealt with in court at Warminster magistrates.
Today they appear in court miles away in Salisbury or Chippenham magistrates and the punishments are laughable.
In the past the families of these people would have endured the punishment of local publicity and done more to keep their offending little monsters in check.
Although youths aged under 18 had the protection of anonymity through the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 in small towns like Warminster news that so and so had appeared in court used to spread around the town in a way it doesn’t now.
One day the authorities will see the folly of closing local magistrates courts for ‘efficiency’ reasons. But don't hold your breath.