“The punishment must truly fit the crime”—the government’s tightening rhetoric on law and order
In anticipation of a possible autumn general election, Boris Johnson has disclosed a tougher stance to tackle criminal activity in the UK. Following an announcement last week to increase the police force by adding an additional 20,000 police officers, the prime minister revealed plans to increase funding for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), extend jail terms and create more prison places.
The move to toughen the government’s stance on criminal prosecution comes amid the threat of increasing crime levels in the UK’s small towns and villages, often referred to as county lines. To reduce the risk of illegal activity, the announcement includes an increase in police stop-and-search powers under section 60 powers. Police will be encouraged to carry out random searches on individuals.
However, this decision has been met with criticism from government officials such as Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman, as well as Sir David Latham, former judge and chairman of the Parole Board of England and Wales. According to a Home Office Study, the use of random stop and search had no significant effects on crime at a borough level. In 2017-18, black people were 9.5 times more likely to be searched by the police than white people. In order to avoid similar statistics, police will be required to wear body cameras.
Some within the legal sector were quick to condemn the announcement of increased police officers, fearing that the current state of the criminal justice system would not be able to cope with the likely increase in arrests and prosecutions. The announcement of an extra £85 million for the CPS has been met with further criticism by lawyers claiming this new injection of money does not make up for 10 years of “relentless cuts”.
Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar Council said “ The Bar Council welcomes any increased funding for the criminal justice system which for too long has suffered cuts”. However he also stressed the need to ensure the legal system is provided with sufficient resources to remain competent in dealing with a potential increase in arrests and ensuing convictions. “Given the vital public service that members of the criminal Bar play in keeping criminal justice running, it is essential that the Prime Minister and the Treasury hear directly from representatives of the Bar as the new Government looks to repair the broken system”.
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour… If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
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Lawmakers expressed their concern and outrage over the circumstances of his death. Having previously attempted to commit suicide two weeks earlier, Epstein was placed on high alert for further suicide attempts.
Lawyers representing the alleged victims of Epstein have spoken on behalf of their clients. An unnamed accuser statement reads: “I will never have a sense of closure now.” Although the criminal case ended with Epstein’s death, the lawsuit will continue against his estate.
Epstein’s social circle included famous individuals including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. Some of the financier’s elite social contacts have been implicated in the allegations, in turn leading to a wave of conspiracy theories relating to his death.
National Rifle Association’s reluctance to budge
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