ALTHOUGH the London Borough of Hounslow does not, fortunately, suffer the extremes of the gang warfare which plagues other parts of London, the Thursday morning columns of the Chronicle remind us that none are immune from the attentions of youthful muggers or those who disturb the peace almost as a way of life and at the drop of a hat.
How can we deal with this? No easy solutions, but your front page recently tells us that a good start is being made by mothers in certain parts of Hounslow particularly affected by bad behaviour and minor crime.
A person well versed in the ways of gangland activity in the east of London told us in a TV interview last week that young criminals are not deterred by the prospects of spending a year or two in jail in this country. A couple of years or so out of their young lives with a roof over their heads, nourishing food and some amenities not available on the outside is no punishment or an experience that is likely to deflect them from criminal acts in the future.
Nothing will be solved until young adults suffer punishment for their misdemeanors and we are not talking about bringing back the birch and other medieval deterrents that would have the Human Rights do-gooders in our midst shouting the odds with much bleating and tear-jerking rhetoric.
One way towards making our lives safer is to sentence young adult offenders to a mandatory sentence of say six to 12 months' hard labour in one of our African Commonwealth countries. The prospect of a 'Chad-like' prison term with nothing of the amenities of a young offenders 'Hilton' is likely to set people on the straight and narrow especially as a few of their pals come back after release and tell how it went.
Juveniles would be dealt with in the usual way and earmarked for attention if they continue to misbehave as they left the years of childhood behind. They would soon learn that hard labour alongside indigenous offenders in a place like Malawi, Mozambique or Zambia was not something to be shrugged off or pooh-poohed.
Taking this big step, or perhaps enormous leap, forward, Hounslow might have its own sheriff and deputies working alongside the Metropolitan Force and Scotland Yard to deal mostly with minor criminal activity.
The justice system would be local too with the suggested mandatory overseas hard labour sentence. Soon Hounslow would be free from such criminal acts as the lesson would have been learnt or the 'bad eggs' departed to other parts of the city where lax rules still existed.
Eventually voters would wake up and follow suit leaving only a few places where criminal activity and bad behaviour thrived because authority there was too soft to do anything serious about it. Worth a thought although the gnashing of teeth from the legal profession and others will be heard above the noise of the aircraft engines over my head as I type this latest contribution to Letters to the Editor.
JIM PASQUAL Hounslow.