Boris Johnson lays down the law: Rapists and murderers ‘to serve more of their sentences behind bars’ as PM vows to make punishments for violent criminals ‘fit the crime’
- The new Prime Minister said dangerous criminals must be taken off the streets
- Follows a series of announcements over weekend to ‘come down hard on crime’
- Included a £2.5 billion programme to create 10,000 additional prison places
Published: 22:42 BST, 11 August 2019 | Updated: 03:15 BST, 12 August 2019
Violent and sexual offenders could serve more of their sentences behind bars following an urgent review of sentencing policy ordered by Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister said dangerous criminals must be taken off the streets and punishments ‘truly fit the crime’ if the public was to have confidence in the justice system.
The move follows a series of announcements over the weekend in which Mr Johnson promised to ‘come down hard’ on crime.
They included a £2.5 billion programme to create 10,000 additional prison places and the extension of enhanced stop-and-search powers to police forces across England and Wales.
It will fuel speculation that Mr Johnson is preparing the ground for an early general election amid continuing deadlock in Parliament over Brexit.
Boris Johnson (left, on August 6 with Estonian PM Juri Ratas) unveiled the change as part of a bid to make crime pay
The sentencing review has been instructed to start work immediately and to report back to No 10 in the autumn, just as the country may be going to the polls.
Its remit is to look at the rules governing how and when violent and sexual offenders are released from prison.
Currently, offenders sentenced to 12 months or more serve the first half of their time in prison and the second ‘on licence’ in the community, where they may be subject to recall.
The review will consider whether changes to legislation are needed so that more time is spent in jail.
Mr Johnson will highlight the approach at a Downing Street round table bringing together leaders from the police, probation and prison sectors on Monday.
He said: ‘Dangerous criminals must be kept off our streets, serving the sentences they deserve – victims want to see it, the public want to see it and I want to see it.
‘To ensure confidence in the system, the punishment must truly fit the crime. We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released.
‘This ends now. We want them caught, locked up, punished and properly rehabilitated.’
Criminals who’d face tougher terms now: Gang members Rochelle Dobbin (right) and Netesha Lewis, both 18, avoided jail over an attack on Egyptian student Mariam Moustafa (left)
Bradley Williams, 18, (left) raped a schoolgirl 14 times but avoided jail. Kevin Taylor, 28, (right) had videos of babies being r a p e d was spared jail because he apologised
However critics warned that there was no evidence that longer sentences would result in a reduction in crime.
Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said the UK already had the largest prison population of any country in Western Europe and that a different approach was needed.
‘For years, Labour and Tory ministers have made sentences longer and longer, without any evidence that they prevent crime,’ she said.
‘It may sound tough, but it hasn’t made our communities any safer. All it does is overcrowd our prisons and waste millions of pounds.
‘We do need a sentencing review, but its aim should be to reverse decades of pointless sentence inflation. Instead of just talking tough, it’s time ministers look at the evidence.’
Victoria Parry (left) walked free after ploughing into three cars while drunk, despite having two prior convictions for drink-driving. Christopher Rogers headbutted his ex-partner and dragged her on the ground by her hair in front of her children, but received a suspended sentence