This is the second in a short series looking at what the main parties are pledging to do on crime in their general election manifestos. These will be completely factual accounts with any commentary reserved to a separate blog post.
Today’s post deals with the Labour party manifesto, entitled It’s time for real change.
The plan has one section on police and security and another on justice within a chapter called Rebuild our Public Services.
Police and Security
I have reproduced in full the manifesto text on police with the exception of political commentary.
A Labour government will invest in policing to prevent crime and make our communities safer, and we will enforce the laws protecting police and other emergency workers from violent assault.
We will rebuild the whole police workforce, recruiting more police officers, police community support officers and police staff. We will re-establish neighbourhood policing and recruit 2,000 more frontline officers than have been planned for by the Conservatives.
We will work with police forces to invest in a modern workforce. To deliver these priorities, Labour will work with
police and crime commissioners to reform police funding and share new resources fairly, and to ensure that local needs are met.
We will retain local democratic accountability for police forces and reform the police funding formula to ensure sufficient, sustainable resources are fairly allocated. We will agree resources with the police authorities to combat crime and restore community policing by consent.
Effective police work requires the police to serve their communities and work collaboratively with youth workers,
mental health services, schools, drug rehabilitation programmes and other public agencies. A police force working
within our communities, with the capacity to gather local intelligence, is also the frontline of our domestic
security – the first eyes and ears of effective counter-terrorism.
We will work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities. Proportionate stop-and-search based
on intelligence is a needed tool of effective policing, but the use of expanded powers means black and Asian men are still more likely to be stopped and searched, poisoning relations between the police and the local communities they serve.
We will ensure better police training on domestic abuse and offences arising from coercive control, as well as historical abuses and other crimes neglected by the reduced forces operating under Tory austerity. A Labour government will establish a Royal Commission to develop a public health approach to substance misuse, focusing on harm reduction rather than criminalisation.
We will introduce minimum legal standards of service for all victims of crime.
Again, I have removed the political rhetoric but include the pledges in full below:
We will champion a joined-up approach, fostering close working relationships between criminal justice agencies with education authorities, health services and others by establishing violence-reduction units and ensuring vulnerable people get the support they need by boosting public health, mental health and early years services. Prison is not the best place to address the drug addictions, mental illnesses and debts that lead many people into crime.
Cutting thousands of prison officers has driven record levels of prison violence. A Labour government will restore total prison officer numbers to 2010 levels, and phase out dangerous lone working.
We will bring PFI prisons back in-house and there will be no new private prisons. We will tackle the prison maintenance backlog and develop a long-term estate strategy.
The Ministry of Justice’s own evidence shows tens of thousands of crimes could be prevented if robust community sentences replace short prison sentences. We will set new standards for community sentences and introduce a presumption against prison sentences of six months or less for non-violent and non-sexual offences.
We will invest in proven alternatives to custody, including women’s centres, expand problem-solving courts and plug the funding gap in the female offender strategy. We will further consider the evidence for effective alternatives and rehabilitation of prolific offenders.
A Labour government will reunify probation and guarantee a publicly run, locally accountable probation service.
Under Labour, probation staff and professional standards will once again be properly valued.
Legal aid cuts mean essential legal help is too often denied. To help people enforce their rights, we will restore all
early legal aid advice, including for housing, social security, family and immigration cases. We will recruit hundreds of new community lawyers, promote public legal education and build an expanded network of law centres.
We will ensure legal aid for inquests into deaths in state custody and the preparation of judicial review cases. We will consult on the civil legal aid means-test levels and act on the criminal legal aid review.
We will defend workers’ ability to recover legal representation costs from negligent employers. We will keep the right for workers to be represented and recover their costs in cases of employer negligence leading to injury at work. We will review the eligibility criteria for the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
A Labour government will halt court closures and cuts to staff, and undertake a review of the courts reform programme. We will facilitate a more representative judiciary while upholding its independence, and review funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.
We will tackle the disproportionate levels of BAME children in custody, review the youth custody estate, strengthen youth courts and build on the Lammy Review.
Violence against women and girls is unacceptable as is many women’s experience of criminal justice agencies. We will set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual abuse and violence, and appoint a Commissioner for Violence against Women and Girls.
We will establish an independent review into shamefully low rape prosecution rates. We will establish a National Refuge Fund, ensure financial stability for rape crisis centres and reintroduce a Domestic Abuse Bill. We will improve the safety of the family court system for domestic violence victims and prohibit their cross-examination by their abuser.
We will introduce protections for victims of so-called revenge porn. Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure.
We will uphold women’s reproductive rights and decriminalise abortions.
The manifesto also includes a commitment to establishing public inquiries into historical injustices, requiring judicial warrants for undercover operations, introducing a Public Accountability Bill and ensuring compensation for victims of contaminated blood products.