With less than seven weeks to go until the 2015 General Election, it’s time to look at where the major parties stand on Law & Order. The parties are currently drawing up manifestos but here’s a handy guide to the policies at the moment.
Conservatives: Banning orders to outlaw groups that incite hatred or cause fear. Extremism Disruption Orders (EXDOs) to stop “disruptive” individuals from speaking in public or holding a position of authority. A new law setting out victims’ rights. New laws to make it easier for the police to collect information about internet activity by suspected criminals. A Communications Data Act, requiring companies to start storing certain types of information. Replace Human Rights Act with Bill of Rights to give UK courts and Parliament the “final say”.
Labour: Scrap Police and Crime Commissioners, which the party says would save £50m. Local residents to be given a say in deciding crime fighting priorities and have access to police planning meetings. Bring back control orders to combat extremism and revive Prevent strategy. Ban convicted child sex offenders from working with children. More money for frontline policing to prevent cuts in officer numbers. End £17m “subsidy” for cheap gun licences. New commissioner on domestic and sexual abuse and cash for a national network of refuges
Lib Dems: End prison sentences for personal drugs possession. Users would instead receive non-custodial sentences and appropriate medical treatment. Replace Police and Crime Commissioners with Police Boards made up of councillors from across the force area. Pass a Digital Bill of Rights to help protect people from unwarranted intrusion and give them more control over their own data. Make ‘stop and search’ more accountable by making the wearing of body cameras by officers compulsory in some areas and for firearms officers.
SNP: Support the European Arrest Warrant. Co-operate with other countries on organised crime and terrorism.
Plaid Cymru: Creation of a Welsh Youth Justice Board. Replace ASBOs with a system of restorative justice. Encourage a debate on future of drug enforcement laws.
UKIP: Repeal Human Rights Act and replace it with UK Bill of Rights. Withdraw from European Arrest Warrant. No votes for prisoners. Those responsible for criminal damage forced to carry out unpaid work in area where it was committed. Those jailed for offences affecting their community should be banned from returning to live in the area, as a condition of their release. “Complete overhaul” of police taking into account “best practice from other countries”.
Greens: Decriminalise cannabis and axe prison sentences for possession of other drugs. Decriminalise prostitution. Ensure terror suspects have the same legal rights as those accused of more conventional criminal activities.