The government has proposed a range of new laws which, it says, are designed to cut “crime and build safer communities”. The Bill has far-reaching consequences and will impact everyone from dangerous drivers to murder defendants if passed into law.

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The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill was recently introduced to Parliament. The Bill includes a wide range of measures that are intended to give the police “the powers and tools they need to protect themselves and the public”. If passed into law, the new legislation would affect all areas of criminal law, from knife crime to sexual offences. It would also dramatically increase sentences – and in turn, the prison population.

Some of the measures include:

  • Making it easier for the police to stop and search those expected of carrying a blade
  • Making it easier for the police to tackle unauthorised encampments and protests
  • Adding sports coaches and religious leaders to ‘positions of trust’, meaning they cannot have sexual relationships with young people under 18
  • Increasing the maximum sentence for assaults on police officers and emergency workers from 12 months to two years
  • Whole life orders for those convicted of murdering a child
  • Whole life orders for offenders aged between 18 and 20 in exceptional circumstances, such as terrorism causing mass loss of life
  • New laws relating to children who commit murder
  • Reducing the exceptional reasons for not imposing a minimum term
  • Life sentences for drivers who cause death
  • Abolishing the automatic release at the halfway point of a sentence for serious violent and sexual offenders
  • Stricter community sentences
  • Increasing the length of time someone can be on curfew to two years, and greater use of location monitoring and daily curfews for youths
  • Increasing the penalty for vandalising a memorial from three months to 10 years

Evidently, the government wishes to impose a harsher regime in terms of sentencing. This will place greater strain on the system, which is why the government also announced it would increase funding to reduce court delays. Further police officers will be recruited and extra prison places funded.

What happens next?

At this stage, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is still making its way through Parliament. It is not yet law and must be reviewed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It remains to be seen whether the proposals will come into effect and to what extent. In its current form, the Bill would have a significant bearing on police interactions and sentencing terms.

We will monitor developments as this legislation makes its way through Parliament. Did your case involve covert human intelligence sources ? If so did they follow the correct procedures.

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