Pick up a woman’s dog and run away with it. Ask people late at night if they want to die. Assault in someone’s house uninvited. The case of Bacari-Bronze O’Garro, aka “Mizzy”, an 18-year-old who chases social media fame by “pranking” unsuspecting members of the public, speaks volumes about the state of modern Britain. .
Yet the best our justice system could do, even after widespread public outcry when he racked up millions of views on TikTok for bad behavior, was to arrest him on suspicion of causing a public nuisance. He was accused of violating a community protection notice, which stipulated that he should not trespass on private property.
Some might wonder why other possible offenses were not applied. The truth is that our system has long been biased against legal creativity. While criminals (and road-blocking protesters) exploit every loophole and weakness in the law, our institutions, perhaps the Crown Prosecution Service in particular, tend towards a more timid approach of doing the bare minimum. and turn the problem into someone else’s problem. It makes you wonder what Al Capone’s fate might have been in Britain.
What was needed in Mizzy’s case was clear and unequivocal punishment and deterrence. Instead, what we got was that she walked free from court with a paltry £365 fine, easily dwarfed by the potential gains from social media fame, and an invitation to speak and brag on a TV show. Smiling for the cameras that night, she showed little sign of remorse. The former TikToker said that she can now be found on the live streaming platform Twitch.
and then came hammer blow. “UK laws are weak. Simple as That’s not my fault,” he told the host.
Unfortunately, in this, he was absolutely right. Beyond his own case, as people continue to stab each other on our streets, fewer than one in three people caught with a knife last year were sent to prison, a proportion that appears to have declined in recent years, and the picture is worse with children under 18 years of age. Furthermore, only 218 of the 3,423 crimes of possession of knives or offensive weapons in 2022 resulted in a custodial sentence. That’s down from nearly 514 in 2018.
Even when repeatedly caught with a knife or offensive weapon, and where we have minimum sentences by law, we see nearly 4 in 10 adults and 7 in 10 children under 18 avoiding prison time.
If our politicians and institutions can’t even be tough on those who roam our streets with deadly weapons, there seems little chance of cracking down on criminal fads on social media. And the danger now is that, as the indulgent consequences of such follies are discovered, they will become a viral phenomenon, perhaps as contagious as the disturbing climate change protests, but worse. We have to be careful with these imitators.
The whole thing feeds into a justice and police crisis in Great Britain. Now more than ever, our political leaders need to realign with the overwhelming law-abiding majority. They must be tough on crime, tough on criminals, and committed to ensuring that criminal justice institutions are adequately resourced and prepared to fight.
Rory Geoghegan is a former police officer and special crime adviser at No 10