According to the Labour Party website the Labour Party will try to achieve the following if they retain power at the 2010 general election on May 6th:
We are determined to continue to bear down on crime and we recognise that even though crime and anti social behaviour is down, it is still a real issue in many areas, and we also recognise that fear of crime and anti social behaviour has not fallen as much as crime and anti-social behaviour itself. That is why we’re protecting front line policing, and why we have introduced neighbourhood Policing Teams for every community in England and Wales who are committed to spending 80 per cent of their time on the beat or visibly working in their community.
Overall crime is down by more than a third since 1997 – that’s 6 million fewer crimes each year. Almost 1 million fewer homes burgled; and almost 1 and a half million fewer violent crimes. The risk of being a victim of crime today is the lowest since the British Crime Survey began in 1981. Many people said it was inevitable that crime would rise in a recession – as it did in the recessions of the 1980s and 90s – but this time it has not.
Labour is committed to protecting the key public services we know people value, including front line policing. We will protect the police by maintaining central funding so that there is no reason based on funding why police numbers should fall, and by standing firm against the politicisation of policing and political interference in operational decisions – while at the same time working with the police to ensure they are more in touch with people’s needs and concerns.
We are building on the 3,600 Neighbourhood Policing Teams now in every area of England and Wales through the Policing Pledge which sets out clear minimum standards for what people can expect from their local police. These include new guarantees on response times – including 24 hours for non-emergencies; monthly beat meetings to set local priorities; and a commitment that your local neighbourhood team will spend at least 80 per cent of its time on the beat or visibly working in their community.
Knife crime is falling, homicides are at their lowest level for a decade and there were fewer gun killings last year than at any time in the last 20 years. We will give police the tools they need to fight crime, including DNA and CCTV. Without the DNA database, thousands of crimes would go unsolved and many serious and dangerous criminals would be walking our streets. Labour will ensure that the most serious offenders are added to the database no matter where or when they were convicted whilst also achieving a proportionate balance between the rights of the individual and the wider interests of public protection. To help people feel safer in their communities we will give people more of a say over where CCTV is used – giving them a right to petition their local authority for more CCTV.
Britain isn’t broken, despite the Tories’ attempts to talk the country down. We recognise people’s concerns about crime and antisocial behaviour, and issues like binge drinking and problem families – but we are committed to working together to tackle these problems, not talking them up to run Britain down. Anti-social behaviour must be tackled, not tolerated and we firmly believe that no-one should have to suffer from the misery that this behaviour can bring. Labour will take action where alcohol-related disorder is causing problems by giving the police and local authorities new powers to deal with the specific problems in their area and insist on them using every one of the wide ranging tools and powers available to them in the fight against anti-social behaviour in all its forms. We believe in investing in policing to help keep our streets safe but also in early intervention to stop people, especially young people, heading towards a life of crime. Alongside preventative measures like Family Intervention Programmes, proven to radically reduce antisocial behaviour and other problems including drugs and alcohol, truancy, and domestic violence, and which we are expanding to reach every problem family in the country over the next 5 years – we will empower communities to address the problems that affect them, giving them more information and a greater say in decisions on crime, policing and justice and other factors that affect their quality of life.
Councils already have the power to ban on-street drinking where there is alcohol-related crime. We have just introduced a new mandatory code for alcohol retailers targeting the most irresponsible promotions like “drink all you can for a fiver” or “girls drink free”. The new Drink Banning Orders can be used to prevent a persistent offender from drinking in public, going to a particular pub, club or off licence, or to certain parts of town at night. We have introduced a ‘yellow card, red card’ scheme to shut down retailers found persistently selling to those under 18 – as well as supporting initiatives by responsible retailers like Think 21 – and we are bringing in a new right to petition the local authority to end twenty four hour licensing where such problems arise.
On drugs, our message is clear – we will not tolerate illegal drug use. Our goal is to see fewer people start using drugs, more people helped by treatment towards a drug free life, and a reduction in the damage which problem drug users cause to communities.
Labour will not tolerate a situation where some people break the rules and others pay the price. We have provided 26,000 more prison places since 1997. There are more criminals in prison now not because crime is rising – the opposite is true – but because persistent, serious and violent offenders are going to prison for longer. To ensure there are enough prison places for persistent, serious and violent offenders we will take forward our plan to provide a total of 96,000 places by 2014. But at the same time we are taking steps to address unnecessary increases in the prison population, including reducing the number of women and the mentally ill in prison, transferring more foreign prisoners to EU jails, and new approaches to cut reoffending. We have brought in tough new ‘Community Payback’: hard work for several hours a day not a few hours a month, in public wearing orange jackets, paying back through useful service to the communities they have harmed.
As well as tough measures to punish and prevent crime, there must be an effective system of justice working on behalf of the people it serves and in which they have confidence. From April we are rolling out a National Victims’ Service guaranteeing all victims of crime and anti-social behaviour more intensive support, care and attention, including seven days a week cover; and a named, dedicated worker offering one-to-one support, staying with them through the trial and beyond.
Controlled migration brings undoubted benefits to our country but we also recognise people’s legitimate concerns about the impact it can have on communities. Net inward migration to Britain as measured by the Office for National Statistics has fallen for the last three years. We are delivering the biggest changes to our immigration, citizenship and border security systems for decades – we are bringing in a new Australian-style points-based immigration system which allows us to be more selective so that only those with the skills that we need to build a stronger economy can come here, and to ensure that as growth returns, we will see rising levels of employment, skills and wages not more immigration. We have brought in 100 per cent biometric visas, are rolling out ID cards for foreign nationals with 170,000 already issued, and electronic border controls will count people in and out of the country by the end of 2010. To build on this we will introduce a points-based system for permanent residence and citizenship clearly spelling out the rights and obligations of legal migrants to Britain, as well as the requirements for earning British citizenship. These requirements will include learning English, paying tax and obeying the law– because we believe those who look to build a new life here should earn the right to do so. Our Earned Citizenship plans for newcomers, together with the points-based immigration system will reduce overall numbers of economic migrants coming to Britain and the numbers awarded permanent settlement. We recognise that the impact of migration is felt differently by different communities; and how rapid change can place pressures on local public services – the Migration Impact Fund, paid for by contributions from migrants has over the last two years has contributed £70 million to services in local areas experiencing rapid population change. We have reformed housing allocation policy, empowering local authorities to give greater priority to local people, and to those who have spent a long time on the waiting list.
Labour Party Crime, Justice and Immigration Policy :http://www.labour.org.uk/policies/crime-justice-and-immigration
I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on Labour’s Crime, Justice and Immigration policies in the comments below?
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