Britain’s hard-man Home Secretary David Blunkett, stands accused of encouraging, rather than reducing, crime with his latest radical initiative. Inspired by the US recording industry’s attempts to track down and prosecute individual downloaders of illegal internet music files and the public reaction to the jailing of farmer Tony Martin for shooting dead an intruder in his home, the scheme sees the police targetting individual offenders and handing out on-the-spot instant justice rather than arresting and prosecuting them. Supposed offenders in West London – where the scheme is being piloted – have found themselves the subjects of increasingly bizarre lightning police raids on their homes. “I couldn’t believe my eyes – I came home from shopping to find a uniformed policeman squatting in the middle of my garden path, trousers around his knees, taking a dump! As I watched he proceeded to drag his bare arse all around the lawn, leaving long shitty streaks all across it, before urinating in the garden pond! The goldfish have never fully recovered, ” claims Windsor pensioner Edna Futz. “It was absolutely disgusting, my garden path was covered in foul smelling human excrement – I slipped over twice as I tried to make my way to the front door, covering myself in crap and breaking my hip into the bargain! The paramedics wouldn’t touch me until a biological decontamination unit had been called to hose me down – I spent three hours lying on a concrete path in agonising pain!”

In a similar incident, Twickenham environmentalist and leading Green Party member Trevor Bliff awoke one morning to find the police wrecking his garden. “I looked out of the window to see a white police van – siren blaring and lights flashing – crash through the garden fence and proceed to perform a series of handbrake turns, completely destroying the lawn in the process. As I watched in disbelief, half a dozen officers piled out and chopped down my ornamental trees before ripping up what was left of the flowerbeds! Before leaving they poured weed-killer all over my vegetables and torched my garden shed,” he recalls, “When I went to the local police station to complain, the Inspector told me that they had merely been taking reciprocal action against me for my part in destroying a GM crop in a field near Knaresborough last year! Surely this can’t be legal? They did thousands of pounds worth of damage!” However, the Home Secretary has little sympathy for Bliff. “It is all very well Mr Bliff bleating on about the damage done to his garden – but what about the damage he and his friends caused to that farmer in Knaresborough, eh? They might claim it was justifiable eco-terrorism, but some would call it simple vandalism! He should think himself lucky he was not prosecuted,” says Blunkett. “As for Mrs Futz, despite several warnings, she had continued to allow her pet dog to foul local pavements and parks. Now I know many will say our action against her was an over reaction, but her conduct was not just anti-social, but a health hazard to boot! At least one jogger is known to have severely twisted his ankle after slipping on one of her dog’s turds – we were just giving her a taste of her own medicine!”

Blunkett has moved quickly to try and dispel fears that his new initiative is simply a vigilantes charter. “People taking the law into their own hands is precisely what it is designed to avoid – by letting properly trained and licensed public agencies such as the police do it instead,” he told a Westminster press conference. “I can assure people that only such anti-social offences as vandalism and loutishness will be covered by the scheme – we can’t really have the police shooting suspected murderers or massacring the families of serial killers, can we? – and we will ensure that action will only be taken where clear and conclusive evidence against the offender exists. Unsubstantiated rumours and hearsay from friends and neighbours will only be used where DNA testing is unavailable.”

He added that the scheme had the potential to save the taxpayers millions of pounds every year by eliminating the need for costly trials for minor offenders – the majority of magistrates courts could be closed and a large number of judges laid off. “Frankly, we’ve got too much justice and not enough retribution! I’m getting tired of the judiciary clinging to such outmoded concepts as ‘due legal process’ and ‘innocent until proven guilty’ – they are clearly out of touch with the public, who are sick of seeing lawbreakers set free because of ‘lack of evidence’! We all know who the criminals are and we must give the police the powers they need to deal with them directly and appropriately!” he mused. “Of course, I can’t envisage a situation where we’d abolish the entire judiciary and close all the courts – we’ll always need a few for ornamental purposes and things like murder trials.”

Nevertheless, critics – including leading barristers and solicitors, judges, politicians and human rights groups – have been quick to condemn the scheme, claiming that not only does it undermine basic legal principles such as the right to trial and the presumption of innocence, but it also and institutionalises state harassment and brutality. “Once again this government panders to ill-informed populist sentiment in an attempt to curry favour with the electorate! Instead of addressing the root causes of crime it goes for a knee-jerk quick fix designed to appeal to Sun readers!” says Judge Fenton Quiver. “Is it any wonder there is less and less respect for the law when the government is licensing the police to go around acting like thugs and vandals handing out arbitrary ‘justice’? What next – will traffic wardens be allowed to break motorists’ legs for parking in spaces reserved for disabled drivers, rather than simply fining them?”

Renowned for his impatience with the judiciary, Blunkett issued a swift rebuttal. “It is the likes of Judge Quiver who are undermining ‘natural justice’ with their ludicrous notions of ‘fair trials’ and the like. I’ve only got one thing to say to him – if you think you are hard enough, come and have a go, you bewigged ponce! I’ll fight you for the future of our judicial system!” he stormed, rolling up his sleeves and adopting a prize-fighter’s stance. To the surprise of many, the Judge took up the challenge. “I thought I would be able to take advantage of his blindness by sneaking up behind him and administering a good kicking,” explained Quiver. “But he must have developed super-acute hearing to compensate for the blindness – before I could get close enough the bastard had set his guide dog on me! Sod an independent judiciary, I was lucky to get away with my life!”