Child murder and knife crime to the fore of the election battle
We are in the midst of a general election, so it is perhaps not surprising that hot ‘law and order’ topics, such as knife crime, are featuring in the news as the main political parties fight for the popular vote.
It is worthwhile taking a brief look at some of the recent announcements, and seeing what is not receiving attention.
The Conservatives propose changes where a person aged at least 21 years murders a child under 16 years. In such circumstances, they say that the starting point should be a ‘whole life order’. This would mean that they would never be eligible for parole. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 already contains measures in this regard, but this is, on the face of it, a tightening up of those provisions. On our assessment, if enacted, this provision is unlikely to impact on more than one or two cases each year.
Knife crime remains high on the political agenda, and we have written about this topic in the recent past. The Conservatives propose changes to stop and search powers, and swift processing of those arrested before the courts. Any changes to stop and search provisions are likely to prove controversial. There are also concerns about whether the current resourcing of the criminal justice system is sufficient to cope with any radical new initiatives.
The conservatives have already announced the recruitment of 20,000 extra police officers. It is a fair assumption that if this target is reached more people will be arrested and brought before the courts. Again, some resource implications remain unaddressed.
The Liberal Democrats have pledged a further £300m for local policing.
The Conservatives have announced further changes to practice and procedure, to make the process more ‘victim-centric’ and transparent.
The Conservatives propose raising the ‘victim surcharge’ by 25%.
Is this a ‘Law and Order’ election?
The Conservatives have returned to a traditional ‘law and order’ theme, tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime. As well as punishment, there are promises of better prison rehabilitation schemes and more robust non-custodial options.
Other parties do not lead on this issue in quite the same way, but all promise better resourced public services, which inevitably includes policing.
What is missing?
It will come as no surprise to anyone that legal aid has barely been mentioned in the manifestos of any of the parties. There seems to be no appetite to address the drastic cuts of the last decades.
Keeping a watching brief
Whatever laws the next government brings forward, we remain committed to ensuring that the proper rights and protections afforded to all those we represent are safeguarded. We continue to be vigilant and ensure that any legislative developments that are brought forward do not infringe your fundamental rights and freedoms.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, please get in touch. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us help.