I was interested to read this post about the Information Commissioner's ruling that 5 police forces must delete old records of criminal convictions/ cautions was upheld by the Information Tribunal.
It seems that most of the records were very old indeed, and that their subjects had not re-offended. It reminded, also, of a recent story of a University refusing to accept a very well qualified student onto its law degree course because he had a conviction for burglary.
It seems to me that in all such matters Society now finds it hard to keep a sense of proportion on how it uses the systems and sanctions available to it.
When I was a teenager, I could easily have found myself in a similar situation to that of the Bradford student denied the opportunity to pursue his preferred academic/ career studies.
I was from a poor area and in a group of youths, many of whom were involved in burglary. Probably the only reason I wasn't involved was because of the strict curfew my Mum enforced; I had to be home before the nightly forays began!
Incidentally, we all carried sheath-knives and suchlike – wearing them openly on our belts – but I never heard of anyone using them in fights, and don't think any of us dreamed of doing so.
I worked from home, today but, as I'm on this year's judging panel, had an evening invitation to the LGC Awards 2009 Launch Party at Dartmouth House in London's West End. I drove into town for the "do", stood chatting in the venue's courtyard for an hour, then drove home. It cost me a tenner for parking!