The recent riots in London and other cities shocked the people of Great Britain, causing a greater than normal deployment of police. Once the riots and disturbances ended, it resulted in a huge amount of counter-reaction against the rioters; this included calls to ensure that the rioters were evicted from state provided housing; that rioters received quick and harsh sentences as a deterrence; parents were encouraged to turn in their children if these children took part in the rioting, and so on.
But there have been calls after the first series of judgments that came out against some of the rioters that the sentences have been too harsh, that normal norms of sentencing have been set aside in some kind of harsh vigilante mode. What would you call sentencing an 11 year old boy for stealing a waste bin costing around 50 pounds (link to article):
A 11-year-old boy today became the youngest person to be sentenced for stealing a waste bin worth £50 during the recent London riots.
He was given an 18-month youth rehabilitation order at Havering Magistrates' Court in Essex after admitting burglary.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stole a waste bin from Debenhams in Romford, Essex, on August 8 after the windows of the store were smashed by looters.