Britain's war memorials - of which there are about 60,000 in total - are increasingly becoming the target of vandals, yobs and scrap metal thieves.
Some examples of this have received national press coverage:
- Islamist slogans were painted over the memorial in Burton upon Trent;
- The student, Philip Laing, was caught urinating over the poppy wreaths on Sheffield's city centre memorial;
- the eternal light stolen from the Hawarden Cenotaph.
Sadly these incidents are only the tip of the iceberg since at least one memorial a week is being defiled in some way. Sadly also the law as it stands affords little protection as the penalties for those actually arrested are derisory: nominal fines, cautions, a few hours community service and, as you would expect in the Muslim case, conditional discharge.
Now a group of MPs, lead by Tory MP David Burrowes, is calling on the Government to bring in stiffer penalties for those who desecrate the nation's war memorials and insult the memory of those who died in the service of their country fighting for our freedom. The MPs are urging the Government to create a separate crime of "desecrating the memories of this country" which will help to deter the yobs and punish the transgressors more appropriately.
The proposal has already received the backing of a number of prominent former military chiefs. The campaign should also have the backing of the Defence Secretary Liam Fox for it was he who last November compiled a list of desecrated memorials and said: "At a time when we are honouring those who have sacrificed themselves for our security, this sick and despicable trend is a miserable commentary on contemporary Britain. War memorials should be sacred places, respected by each and every person in every corner of the UK."
But it is not just the military who should be signing up for this campaign; protecting and honouring the memory of Britain's war dead is the duty of all her citizens. The general public need to be galvanised behind the campaign and public pressure brought to bear on David Cameron and Kenneth Clarke to bring in the necessary changes to the law.
The Telegraph: Military chiefs back call for law to protect war memorials
The Mail: Revealed: How one war memorial is desecrated in Britain every week
The Mail: 'Britain's most disgusting woman' who urinated on war memorial escapes jail
UK National Inventory of War Memorials