To be soft on crime is to betray the law-abiding citizen. And to make excuses for the criminal is to offer incentives to dishonesty and violence. Crime flourishes in a culture of excuses … Crime is not a sickness to be cured—it’s a temptation to be resisted, a threat to be deterred, and an evil to be punished.

—Margaret Thatcher. Speech to the Conservative Party conference, Bournemouth, October 12, 1990.

Criminals do not respect the law, but even less so if it is unenforced. Thus, letting car thieves off with a warning or letting drug addicts off who only have enough drugs for their personal use is not enlightened law enforcement; rather it encourages more serious crime. Furthermore, criminal prosecutors should have no discretion under the law. If a police officer or prosecutor discovers a crime, then the perpetrator should be charged. It should be a criminal offense for those entrusted with upholding the law to turn a blind eye to crime— regardless of whether they receive a bribe for doing so.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove