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Russell Webster

Russell Webster

Criminal Justice & substance misuse expert and author of this blog.

What are the Conservatives pledges on crime?

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The Conservative manifesto commitments on crime.

This is the third in a 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 Conservative party manifesto, entitled Get Brexit Done, Unleash Britain’s Potential.

Format

The plan has a section called Make our Country Safer.

I have reproduced in full the manifesto text with the exception of political commentary.

Our Plan to cut crime

  • We will back our police by equipping officers with the powers and tools they need to keep themselves and all of us safe, including tasers and body cameras. We will put the Police Covenant into law to ensure they have the support they need.
  • Police will be empowered by a new court order to target known knife carriers, making it easier for officers to stop and search those convicted of knife crime. Anyone charged with knife possession will appear before magistrates within days not weeks. Those who use a knife as a weapon should go to prison.
  • We will introduce tougher sentencing for the worst offenders and end automatic halfway release from prison for serious crimes. For child murderers, there will be life imprisonment without parole. 
  • We will use our new freedoms after Brexit to prevent more foreign national offenders entering our country. We will cut the number of foreign nationals in our prisons, and increase penalties to stop them returning.
  • We will back all those who put their lives on the line to keep us safe – police and prison officers and emergency service workers. We will pass the Police Protection Bill and consult on doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting workers in emergency services such as police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
  • We will strengthen the accountability of elected Police and Crime Commissioners and expand their role. People must have an accountable local leader delivering on their crime and justice priorities, who they can vote out.
  • We will expand electronic tagging for criminals serving time outside jail, including the use of sobriety tags for those whose offending is fuelled by alcohol.
  • We will toughen community sentences, for example by tightening curfews and making those convicted do more hours of community payback to clean up our parks and streets.
  • We will embrace new technologies and crack down on online crimes. We will create a new national cyber crime force and empower the police to safely use new technologies like biometrics and artificial intelligence, along with the use of DNA, within a strict legal framework. We will also create a world-class National Crime Laboratory.
  • We will counter the growing threat of serious and organised crime. We will strengthen the National Crime Agency so it can tackle the threats we face, from fraud, county lines gangs and child sexual abuse to illicit finance, modern slavery and people trafficking.
  • We will add 10,000 more prison places, with £2.75 billion already committed to refurbishing and creating modern prisons.
  • We will maintain the ban on prisoners voting from jail.
  • We will conduct a root-and-branch review of the parole system to improve accountability and public safety, giving  victims the right to attend hearings for the first time, and we will establish a Royal Commission on the criminal justice process.
  • We will tackle unauthorised traveller camps. We will give the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised encampments, in order to protect our communities. We will make intentional trespass a criminal offence, and we will also give councils greater powers within the planning system.

 

There is also a short section on ending the cycle of reoffending.

Youth offending

Young people are less likely to get into trouble in a well-disciplined  school, which is why we will back teachers to enforce discipline. We are investing £500 million in youth services for young people. If they endanger others, we will
put them in new alternative provision schools. If they are offenders, we are trialling Secure Schools. New laws will
require schools, police, councils and health authorities to work together through Violence Reduction Units to prevent
serious crime.

Addiction

Drug addiction fuels crime, violence and family breakdown – and new dangerous substances are driving an increase in deaths from drug abuse. We will tackle drug-related crime, and at the same time take a new approach to treatment so we can reduce drug deaths and break the cycle of crime linked to addiction.

Rehabilitation

We will create a prisoner education service focused on work-based training and skills. We will improve employment opportunities for ex-offenders, including a job coach in each prison. This approach is proven to reduce reoffending. We are improving prison security to protect staff, stop drug smuggling and reduce violence.

Supporting all victims of crime

  • Delivering justice does not just mean treating defendants fairly, but doing right by victims. So we will pass and implement a Victims’ Law that guarantees victims’ rights and the level of support they can expect. 
  • We will support all victims of domestic abuse and pass the Domestic Abuse Bill. We will increase support for refuges and community support for victims of rape and sexual abuse. We will pilot integrated domestic abuse courts that address criminal and family matters in parallel.
  • We will continue to fight crime against women and girls, including rape, Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage. Our support for the main carer receiving Universal Credit will help give greater independence to individuals, most often women, trapped with coercive partners.
  • We will protect people from physical attack or harassment whether for their sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability, and expand funding for and protect places of worship. We will vigorously combat harassment and violence against all religious groups, and against LGBT people. 
  • We will legislate to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online – protecting children from online abuse and harms, protecting the most vulnerable from accessing harmful content, and ensuring there is no safe space for terrorists to hide online – but at the same time defending freedom of expression and in particular recognising and defending the invaluable role of a free press. Also, given how the online world is moving, the Gambling Act is  increasingly becoming an analogue law in a digital age. We will review it, with a particular focus on tackling issues around loot boxes and credit card misuse.

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