Eugene Volokh is taken in by a story in the Daily Mail:

So reports the Daily Mail (UK) reports:

Residents in Surrey and Kent villages have been ordered by police to remove wire mesh from their windows as burglars could be injured….

Locals had reinforced their windows with wire mesh after a series of shed thefts but were told by community police officers that the wire was ‘dangerous’ and could lead to criminals claiming compensation if they ‘hurt themselves’….

something appalling is going on, either in English tort law, or in English police practices, or both.

Something appalling is going on, but it’s English tabloid reporting.

Don Arthur did some basic fact checking:

But it turns out that the Surrey police don’t actually have a problem with wire mesh. On their web site they advise home owners to “Use a window lock on opening windows and a strong grille or heavy wire mesh.” When I emailed them to ask about the news story they told me that wire mesh should be fitted on the inside of the window so that burglars can’t remove it.

While wire mesh gets the thumbs up from police, there are some things they don’t recommend. For example, they generally advise homeowners not to use razor wire or broken glass because they could be sued if someone injured themselves — even if that person was injured while committing a burglary.


  1. #1 Molnar
    February 18, 2011

    Does it count as being taken in if you so much want to believe it that you are utterly credulous?

  2. #2 Dan Olner
    February 18, 2011
  3. #3 Dan Olner
    February 18, 2011

    Sorry, forgot: the daily mail’s ongoing work to classify everything on the planet into ’causes cancer / prevents cancer’.

  4. #4 Jeremy C
    February 18, 2011

    I’m sorry Tim but I don’t get your heading to this thread……why does anyone need to be told not to read the Daily mail????!? Isn’t it the same as warning someone not to take Monkers seriously?

  5. #5 ianam
    February 19, 2011

    Who needs facts when you have ideology? I remember when I first heard of Volokh the 12 year old whiz kid programmer (back then, that was young; nowadays they’re doing it in diapers). So much talent so badly wasted.

  6. #6 toto
    February 19, 2011

    Yet another victim of the Daily Fail!

  7. #7 DavidCOG
    February 19, 2011

    If you think of the Daily Mail as *Fox News UK Lite*, you won’t go far wrong. It’s not news – it’s just a rag that panders to the beliefs of xenophobic Little Englanders who think all of the UK’s troubles are down to single mothers, Muslims and no longer being allowed to publicly flog criminals.

    A couple of their apologies that show how low they go:

    * “In fact Mr Bellamy had not been on an all day drinking session nor did he assault anybody. Mr Bellamy has been working in Sierra Leone setting up a charitable foundation for local children. We apologise for any embarrassment caused.”

    * “This was wrong. David Gest has never had a sexually transmitted infection and did not have Ms Minnelli’s dog killed.”

    It’s a national disgrace….

  8. #8 Lionel A Smith
    February 19, 2011

    Dan Olner

    The Amanda Platell bit at Tabloid Watch just about sums up this lot. Platell, the other half of Conrad Black, once wrote opinion pieces in a certain well know Sunday paper, of the Murdoch stable, over here that was also inhabited by Melanie Phillips and other such serial intelligence attackers. At a guess they do the rounds of the same dinner parties.

  9. #9 Lionel A Smith
    February 19, 2011


    But David Bellamy did evade the questioning of George Monbiot as seen in this:

    David Bellamy being humiliated by George Monbiot over climate change Part 2

  10. #10 Lionel A Smith
    February 19, 2011

    Oops! I had a senior moment when making that #8 post.

    Conrad Black’s other half was of course Barbara Amiel and not Amanda Platell but otherwise other references fit the picture.

  11. #11 MIkeB
    February 19, 2011

    #10 – Its an easy mistake. Many of us must read Amanda Platell rantings and think ‘shouldn’t she go to prison for writing stuff like this?’ Of course, if writing poisonous rubbish in the DM was a criminal offence, they’d have to open a new wing of the Scrubs…

  12. #12 Matthew
    February 20, 2011

    My rule of thumb is that 80% of “bureaucracy / PC gone mad” stories from the UK are bogus.

    This is from years of being annoyed by these stories and deciding to google the facts. I now just assume that any story of the kind is probably bogus, and if I care enough I wait a couple of weeks to see if another side pops up.

    Listening to a show about media a couple of years back, I heard a claim that london has about 14 major daily newspapers. The competition for eyeballs is incredible, so they basically have to print outrageous claims to sell units.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.