I'm going to begin straight away:
An obsession with crime and punishment is one of the "Fourteen signs of fascism":
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations. (Source: http://www.libertyforum.org/ )
Now see this:
It's remarkable that the above news story appears on the same day as this one:
And it was only a few days ago that the government voted to increase the legal internment period to 42 days.
Law enforcement and criminal justice is so in your face these days! It's the hot topic everywhere from Parliament to pub chatter. This I find disturbing; it is a sign of a sickness in society. To use an analogy: It's the same thing as if the antivirus system on your computer goes into overdrive. Imagine if your Norton suite was continuously open and scanning, swallowing up all the disk space and RAM so that no other programs could run! You'd take the damn thing to the repair shop wouldn't you? But this is what our society is like at the moment. Rising crime rates and the constant threat of terrorism is making us fear to step outside our front door. And despite the promises of politicians to tackle it, violence and disorder are increasing.
When you listen to the politicians talking about crime it's worth remembering that they're not necessarily being honest (I know that politicians lying may be a strange concept, but... bear with me!). Not everyone loses out during a breakdown of law and order. The governement certainly don't because a lawless society gives them more power! If everything was hunky-dory then we might start wondering if we need these overpaid, dark-suited office wallahs in Westminster or Capitol Hill. But when we live in a danger we look to them to protect us; it gives them hero status. We're willing to pay out more tax and comply with more authoritarian laws. What's more the senior politicans themselves are not effected by street hooliganism and lawlessness because they have bodyguards and drive round armoured limousines.
A healthy law enforcement and criminal justice system is like a healthy PC antivirus program: It runs quietly and unobtrusively in the background, allowing you to get on with your daily life peace and security.
The uniforms for community servicemen form a worrying precedent. Why not go further? Make political prisoners wear a uniform! Imagine people walking around in shakles with a jacket that says on it: "NATIONAL I.D. CARD REBEL" or "911 CONSPIRACY NUT". You think I'm exaggerating? Wait and see!