Criminal Law Update – Playing Politics with Crime?

News Posted: November 29, 2019


Playing Politics with Crime?

We are in the midst of a general election, so it is perhaps not surprising that ‘law and order’ are featuring in the news as the main political parties fight for the popular vote.

While as a firm, we do not offer any party-political opinion, it is worthwhile taking a brief look at some of the recent announcements.

Child murder

The Conservatives propose that where a person aged at least 21 years murders a child under 16 years, the starting point should be a ‘whole life order’, meaning 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

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, with swift processing of those arrested before the courts. Any changes to stop and search provisions are likely to prove controversial, and there are 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, so it is a fair assumption that if this target is reached, and all other things remain equal, 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.

Parole Board

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.

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?

We can advise on all aspects of criminal investigation and prosecution.

If you need specialist advice, then get in touch with Andrew Holland (01743 237731 or or Kate Cooper (01743 237734 or let us help.

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