Tackling serious crime continued: building safer communities


Today the Conservative government introduced new legislation to Parliament which will deliver on our manifesto commitment to give the police and courts greater powers to do their jobs, whilst ensuring the most violent criminals spend longer behind bars.  

  • We need a fair justice system – one that stands for the law-abiding majority, not the criminal minority. We pledged to cut crime and build safer communities – and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill delivers on that commitment, ensuring punishments fit the severity of the crime.
  • Conservatives are introducing new protections and powers for the police while reforming sentencing. Measures include:

    • Whole Life Orders for child killers, with judges also allowed to impose this punishment on 18 to 20-year olds in exceptional cases.
    • New powers to halt the automatic early release of offenders who pose a danger to the public. The Bill also ends the halfway release of offenders sentenced for serious violent and sexual offences.
    • Introducing life sentences for killer drivers.
    • Serious Violence Reduction Orders – new stop and search powers against convicted knife offensive weapons offenders.
    • Enshrining the police covenant in law.
    • Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments.
    • Doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker from 12 months to two years.
    • Ensuring community sentences are stricter and better target underlying causes of crime such as mental health issues, alcohol or drug addiction.
    • Increasing the maximum penalty for criminal damage of a memorial from three months to 10 years. 
  • This Bill builds on our progress - having already recruited over 6,600 of our promised 20,000 more police officers - of delivering on this Conservative Government’s pledge to restore confidence in the criminal justice system, giving our full support to the police and courts to cut crime and make our streets safer.

We are reforming our justice system to make sure criminals spend longer in jail:

  • Extending Whole Life Orders for the premeditated murder of a child as well as ending the automatic early release of dangerous criminals – keeping the worst offenders behind bars and off our streets. These measures send a clear message that those who commit the most heinous crimes will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. As well as Whole Life Orders, new powers announced today will halt the automatic early release of offenders convicted of serious violent and sexual offences – ensuring they spend at least two-thirds of their sentence behind bars.
  • Introducing life sentences for killer drivers – restoring faith in our justice system that the punishment must fit the crime. Drivers who cause fatal accidents while speeding, racing, using a mobile phone or who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol will now face life sentences, ensuring they feel the full force of the law for their selfish actions that cause the deaths of loved ones on our roads.
  • Increasing the maximum penalty for criminal damage of a memorial from three months to 10 years – defending our memorials from desecration. The desecration of our war memorials is an abhorrent act and offenders will face the full force of the law for their actions.
  • Doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker from 12 months to two years. In line with our manifesto commitment, this legislation doubles the maximum sentence for those convicted of assaults on frontline staff including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
  • Extending ‘positions of trust’ laws to protect teenagers from abuse by sports coaches and religious leaders – ensuring our young people can trust adults they look to for support. This landmark step to protect our young people sends a clear message that positions of trust must not be abused by the very people that our young people look up to and seek guidance from.
  • Introducing tougher community sentences – ensuring offenders give back to society. The measures will double the amount of time offenders can be subject to curfew restrictions, rising from 12 months to two years.
  • Enabling profoundly deaf people to sit on juries – extending participation in our justice system further into our society. Under the new legislation a British Sign Language Interpreter will be allowed to be present in the jury deliberation room.

We are backing the police to cut crime:

  • Enshrining the Police Covenant into law – strengthening the support for serving and retired officers and their families. The covenant creates a statutory duty for the Government to do more to support the police, both those currently serving and retired, whilst also placing a focus on physical protection, health and wellbeing, as well as support for families.
  • Introducing Serious Violence Reduction Orders – helping officers target persistent offenders. SVRO’s are court-imposed orders which will apply to individuals previously convicted of carrying a knife or an offensive weapon. Police will be able to stop and search those who are subject to an SVRO to check if they are carrying a knife or offensive weapon again.
  • Strengthening police powers to tackle non-violent protests that cause significant disruption to the public. The measures in the Bill will allow the police to take a more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests and will increase the police’s ability to prevent protests causing serious disruption to the public.
  • Introducing Homicide Reviews where an offensive weapon was involved – identifying lessons to be learnt to reduce violent crime. We are introducing a requirement on the police, local authorities, and local health boards to review the circumstances of homicides involving the use of an offensive weapon. The purpose of the review is to identify the lessons to be learnt from the tragic death and to decide whether further action should be taken.
  • Criminalising trespass and strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments that can cause harm, disruption and distress to our local communities. Under the new legislation police will have the power to seize vehicles and arrest or fine trespassers who intend to reside on private and public land without permission, whilst also ensuring they are not able to return for at least 12 months. The new criminal offence will carry a maximum sentence of three months in prison, a fine of up to £2,500 or both.


Anonymous said…
Criminalising trespass?
Chris Whiteside said…
In certain aggravated cases. Don't think they're proposing to criminalise anyone who accidentally walks through someone else's land on their way to somewhere else.
Anonymous said…
What about deliberately walking across someone else's land?
Chris Whiteside said…
The original post explains that the activity to be criminalised is that of trespassers "who intend to reside on private and public land without permission."

So no, that would not criminalise someone who just walks through someone else's land, deliberately or not. To get a conviction the jury would have to be convinced that they had, or intended to, actually take up residence.
Anonymous said…
An opportunity missed
Chris Whiteside said…
To do what?

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