JUDGES at Bradford Crown Court must sometimes feel as if they know exactly how King Canute felt.

Attempting to hold back the relentless tide of appalling driving that blights the city by getting tougher on offenders must feel a little like trying to keep the beaches dry with a child’s plastic bucket.

Contrary to popular legend, which suggests Canute – or Cnut – was arrogantly trying to demonstrate the power of the monarchy, modern interpretations of the story suggest he was a pious and humble man who was doing it to prove to his grovelling courtiers that kings did not have divine powers.

Bradford’s senior judge, the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Hall, is only too aware that his powers are also limited. Frustration was clearly seeping through his words this week as he reiterated his call for dangerous drivers to be punished with immediate prison terms.

Sentencing David Hull, of Oakworth, who led police on a 10-minute chase around Keighley in an Audi TT sports car, reaching speeds of 70mph on icy 30mph roads, he told his defending solicitor that a non-custodial sentence was a “non-starter.”

The judge had previously studied an impact statement into the effects of dangerous driving on the local community, which the courts had requested from West Yorkshire Police.

He said: “We’re in the premier league for the number of fatalities and serious injuries. We’re plagued by dangerous driving, and it is only a miracle that more people are not killed, maimed, or injured. The risk of death and serious injury is appallingly high.”

Judge Durham Hall said the only way to reinforce the message to potential offenders was by the passing of immediate custodial sentences: “Markedly generous sentences are still being passed, and that has to stop. I have to get the message across.”

The judge’s determination to tackle the problem with every tool at his disposal will be music to the ears of long-suffering Bradford and district residents.

But, like King Canute, he knows he can’t reverse the tide on his own.

There is a fundamental problem in parts of Bradford which amounts to a generational and cultural disregard for the law.

It isn’t just about driving – it’s a matter of an attitude towards all levels and types of authority, be they parents, community or religious leaders, teachers or police officers.

It’s an endemic disregard for the law and for the civilising rules of society that cuts across all communities, all creeds and all colours.

Sadly, the courts’ wholly reasonable and appropriate “get tough” approach can only ever be part of the answer.

But getting to the root causes of this breakdown in common decency and lack of regard for fellow humans is no easy task. Is it down to poverty? Boredom? Hatred? Lack of education? Lack of moral guidance? Lack of role models? Lack of leadership? Lack of self-respect or self-worth?

Is it spread and encouraged by social media? Social isolation? TV and video games?

Does every young man who gets into a car think he’s starring in a Fast ‘n’ Furious movie? Do they just think they’ll never be caught because of what they’ve heard about police budget cuts? Or do they just not care?

It might be a combination of some or all of the above or countless other factors but, one way or another, we must try to get to the bottom of it.

The worrying growth in the number of underage and young drivers in Bradford being banned before they’ve passed a test, revealed through a Freedom of Information request last week, is an illustration that this lawless attitude is leaching through to the next generation. Which suggests the situation will only get worse.

We need to find ways to educate our young people more effectively in the importance of rules and boundaries in making society work and the vital need to respect others in creating safety and security for all.

There are no easy answers but we must put more effort into looking for them now before the tide becomes a tsunami.

* Our shops must sign up to protecting centre's image

The Broadway has done much to raise the tone of retail in Bradford city centre but its effect needs to radiate out if we are to feel the full benefit.

Shop quality is often used as a stick to beat the city with so, while we need a retail mix to suit all, we can at least improve its appearance.

That means garish signage, like that above Honest Freddies, in Kirkgate, the subject of a retrospective planning application, needs to be dealt with as part of a consistent policy. It has to go.

* The more the merrier in battle to boost town centre’s appeal

OK, SO it’s not the prettiest structure for this prominent town centre site, but news that work on building the long-awaited Lidl store is to start within the next two months must be good for Bingley.

In any event, it will be better than the wasteland that has endured since the ugly giant ziggurat of the former B&B headquarters was razed to the ground (and far, far better than the equally brutalist High Point, which squats atop Bradford like a giant concrete pillbox and which is the subject of a Bradford Civic Society debate this week).

Some have questioned whether Bingley needs another supermarket, with Aldi, the Co-Op and a mini-Sainsbury’s in situ, but the point is that the more choice locals have, the more they will shop in the town and the longer other traders will thrive. Bring it on.