Conservative Manifesto 2010 Change Society Fight Back Against Crime
We will fight back against the crime and anti-social behaviour that blights our communities. We will take steps to reduce the causes of crime, like poverty and broken families. We will put the criminal justice system on the side of responsible citizens, take tougher measures against knife criminals and crack down on the binge-drinking that leads to violence. We will cut paperwork to get police out on the street and give people democratic control over local policing. We will introduce honesty in sentencing and pay voluntary and private providers to reduce re-offending.
recorded violent crime against the person has risen sharply under Labour, yet police officers spend more time on paperwork than they do out on patrol. Labour’s obsession with bureaucratic targets and box-ticking is hindering the fight against crime. their string of broken promises has undermined people’s trust. We can’t go on with the police filling in forms instead of fighting crime.
a Conservative government will help to mend our broken society – by cracking down on drink-and drug-fuelled violence, tackling re-offending, and intervening early to stop young people getting onto the conveyor belt to crime – in order to reduce the causes of crime and anti-social behaviour.
We will rebuild confidence in the criminal justice system so that people know it is on the side of victims and working for law-abiding people, not criminals. and we will reform the police, giving them back their professional discretion – getting them out of police stations and onto the street, fighting and preventing crime – in return for making them truly accountable to the people they serve.
targeted measures to reduce the causes of crime
Under Labour’s lax licensing regime, drink-fuelled violence and disorder are a blight on many communities. We will overhaul the Licensing act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems. in addition, we will:
• allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found persistently selling alcohol to children;
• double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000;
• raise taxes on those drinks linked to antisocial drinking, while abolishing Labour’s new ‘cider tax’ on ordinary drinkers;
• ban off-licences and supermarkets from selling alcohol below cost price; and,
• permit local councils to charge more for latenight licences to pay for additional policing. We recognise the need for criminal sanctions like ASBOs and fixed penalty notices, but they are blunt instruments that often fail their purpose of deterring people from committing more crime. We will introduce a series of early intervention measures, including grounding orders, to allow the police to use instant sanctions to deal with anti-social behaviour without criminalising young people unnecessarily.
Put the criminal justice system on the side of the public
Today, almost four out of every five people found guilty of a knife crime escape jail. We have to send a serious, unambiguous message that carrying a knife is totally unacceptable, so we will make it clear that anyone convicted of a knife crime can expect to face a prison sentence. We will introduce mobile knife scanners on streets and public transport, and extend the length of custodial sentences that can be awarded in a magistrates’ Court from six to twelve months.
our criminal justice system often lets down the victims of crime, so we will ensure that victims and their families are better informed about the progress of criminal proceedings and release of offenders. So that the public can be confident their views are accounted for in deciding sentences, we will examine the case for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of sentencing guidelines. We will carry out a fundamental review of legal aid to make it work more efficiently, and examine ways of bringing in alternative sources of funding.
We will change the law so that anyone acting reasonably to stop a crime or apprehend a criminal is not arrested or prosecuted, and we will give householders greater legal protection if they have to defend themselves against intruders in their homes.
We will implement the Prisoners’ earnings act 1996 to allow deductions from the earnings of prisoners in properly paid work to be paid into the victims’ fund. We will use this fund to deliver up to fifteen new rape crisis centres and give existing rape crisis centres stable, long-term funding. To help stop sexual violence before it occurs, we will ensure that the school curriculum includes teaching young people about sexual consent.
reform the police the police should be focusing on police work, not paperwork. a Conservative government will reduce the amount of paperwork that the police have to deal with, starting by scrapping the stop form entirely and reducing the burden of stop and search procedures. any search will still be recorded but by an officer radioing in, rather than filling in paperwork. To allow the police to focus on fighting crime, we will:
• amend the health and safety laws that stand in the way of common sense policing;
• give police the power to identify offenders in order to protect the public and prevent crime;
• return charging discretion to the police for minor offences; and,
• process criminals more quickly by videolinking custody cells and courts. Policing relies on consent. People want to know that the police are listening to them, and the police want to be able to focus on community priorities, not ticking boxes. We will replace the existing, invisible and unaccountable police authorities and make the police accountable to a directly-elected individual who will set policing priorities for local communities. they will be responsible for setting the budget and the strategy for local police forces, with the police retaining their operational independence.
giving people democratic control over policing priorities is a huge step forward in the empowerment of local communities, and we will go further by giving people the information they need to challenge their neighbourhood police teams to cut crime.
We will oblige the police to publish detailed local crime data statistics every month, in an open and standardised format.
Extremists, serious criminals and others find our borders far too easy to penetrate. that is why we will create a dedicated border Police force, as part of a refocused Serious organised Crime agency, to enhance national security, improve immigration controls, and crack down on the trafficking of people, weapons and drugs. We will work with police forces to strengthen arrangements to deal with serious crime and other cross-boundary policing challenges, and extend collaboration between forces to deliver better value for money.
Prisons with a purpose
in the last three years, 80,000 criminals have been released early from prison because the government failed to build enough places. We are determined that early release will not be introduced again, so we will redevelop the prison estate and increase capacity as necessary to stop it. Under Labour, the number of foreign criminals in our prisons has more than doubled. We will extend early deportation of foreign national prisoners to reduce further the pressure on our prison population.
many people feel that sentencing in britain is dishonest and misleading. So we will introduce a system where the courts can specify minimum and maximum sentences for certain offenders. these prisoners will only be able to leave jail after their minimum sentence is served by having earned their release, not simply by right.
at the moment, many prisoners leave jail and lapse back into a life of drink, drugs and re-offending. We will never bring our crime rate down or start to reduce the costs of crime until we properly rehabilitate ex-prisoners.
So, with a Conservative government, when offenders leave prison, they will be trained and rehabilitated by private and voluntary sector providers, under supervision. We will use the same approach that lies behind our welfare reform plans – payment by results – to cut re-offending, with organisations paid using savings made in the criminal justice system from the resulting lower levels of crime.
Drug and alcohol addiction are behind many of the crimes that are committed on our streets, but the treatment that too many addicts receive just maintains their habits. We will give courts the power to use abstinence-based Drug rehabilitation orders to help offenders kick drugs once and for all. We will introduce a system of temporary bans on new ‘legal highs’ while health issues are considered by independent experts.
to reform our system of rehabilitation further, we will:
• apply our payment by results reforms to the youth justice system;
• engage with specialist organisations to provide education, mentoring and drug rehabilitation programmes to help young offenders go straight; and,
• pilot a scheme to create Prison and rehabilitation trusts so that just one organisation is responsible for helping to stop a criminal re-offending.
new York shows that it is possible to get a grip and cut crime. over the past twenty years, serious crime in new York has fallen by 80 per cent, thanks to proactive community-based policing and the intelligent use of new technologies and crime data.
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