Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill introduced in Parliament
Today the Government is due to introduce the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to Parliament.
Commenting on the sentencing aspects of the Bill, the APCC’s Criminal Justice Lead David Lloyd said: “The public needs to have confidence in the criminal justice system, or else they will lose faith in reporting crime. By ensuring those who commit the most serious violent crimes spend the bulk of their sentences in prison, we send a clear message that we are on the side of victims.
“But we must look to reduce re-offending through more effective community sentences, for lower level offenders where they are appropriate.”
Deputy Lead Sue Mountstevens added: “PCCs are investing in local community programmes which help offenders, such as those with substance misuse issues, turn their lives around. We know these types of interventions work.
“We also welcome the increase in sentences for those who assault emergency workers from a minimum of 12 months to two years. We have seen an unacceptable rise in the number of police officers and emergency workers facing serious injury and trauma as a result of being assaulted on duty. We need to do everything in our power to protect and support our emergency workers. They do jobs that present difficult challenges to their health and wellbeing, and should not also have to worry about being attacked while doing their duty.”
The Bill also proposes giving police officers more powers to tackle knife crime and unauthorised encampments.
Hardyal Dhindsa and John Campion, APCC Leads for Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, said: “We are supportive of any measures which protect the public and emergency workers. It is important, however, that measures are effective at preventing crime and do not have unintended consequences for minority communities.
“For example, we welcome the opportunity Serious Violence Reduction Orders could provide to support policing in reducing serious violence but PCCs continue to highlight that these powers must not increase existing disproportionality faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in some areas - particularly Black people - with regard to the use of stop and search. These orders will have the greatest chance of success if they are provided alongside appropriate support to help offenders rehabilitate.
“There is also strong consensus amongst PCCs that action should be taken not only to address the issue of unauthorised encampments but also the issues that lead to unauthorised encampments in the first place. Local authorities, working with partners and communities, need to make sure sufficient legal sites are available in their areas.”