I've been thinking about the idea of summary justice. Yesterday Chris Grayling announced that he favoured police officers having the power to temporarily confiscate a young thug's mobile phone to encourage them to behave. It was described as the 21st century equivalent of a clip round the ear. I'm not so sure. Apart from the authoritarian overtones of this measure, could it not lead to an increase in crime, as those who have had their phones confiscated would just go and steal a new one?
We have legal process for a purpose. Summary justice can be a very dangerous thing, especially when it relates to acts of violence or vandalism. Aren't there echoes of Tony Blair's suggestion of marching youngsters to cashpoints if they couldn't pay an on the spot fine? It seems like a good idea until you think about it.
I'm all in favour of new approaches to youth criminality but I actually don't think this idea is a very Conservative one.