When I was a CID officer in the 1970s we used to have a great tactic for clearing up crimes, and therefore improving the ‘clear-up’ rate once we had a multiple offender finally in custody. It was fair, honest and very effective. I assume it is still valid today.
The method went something like this.
When you had a prolific criminal in custody you would normally charge him with the main offence he had been caught for and maybe 2 or 3 others which served to indicate to the judge that the Defendant was a prolific offender.
The Defendant was then offered the opportunity to have all his other crimes ‘Taken Into Consideration’ by the judge at the time of sentencing. The advantage to him of this was that once he had served his sentence he was genuinely free and clear of further prosecution for crimes that had been duly declared as ‘T.I.C.s’.
The tactic was especially effective if you could prove (for example via fingerprint evidence) some additional crimes that the Defendant had not been charged with – but could be.
Of course it was important that the Defendant had no idea which other crimes could be proved, so he had a choice, either to admit to all his other offences and be free and clear after completion of his sentence – or risk what frightened him more than any other sanction. What was referred to as ‘The Gate Arrest’.
‘The Gate Arrest’ meant that the police would wait at the gate of the prison on his release and immediately re-arrest him, charge him with the additional offences and in all likelihood get him sent straight back to jail – don’t pass go, don’t collect £200!
Some young burglars committed so many crimes they found it almost impossible to remember them all and it was necessary to resort to driving them around visiting known, similar burglary locations to give him the opportunity to point them out!
It occurred to me this would be an ideal tactic for thieving tax evaders and others of a similar ilk.
Give them the opportunity to admit to all their crimes immediately or charge them with one crime then wait outside the prison gate and re-arrest them immediately they are released and send them back in after a quick new trial!
Cruel and unusual punishment? – or natural justice? – I know what I think!