Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, commenting on today’s announcement of changes to sentencing policy for serious and violent criminals and for knife crime, said:
“With the Tory-led Government's ‘two strikes’ policy, it's only when you've committed a second serious and violent offence that you get a life sentence, which still means that a criminal will be released from prison at some point. But innocent victims of the second offence will rightly question why more wasn’t done to stop violent offenders after their first crime. One violent crime is too many – but this Government is allowing criminals to commit two serious offences before giving them the sentence they deserve. Allowing criminals a ‘free hit’ exposes the public to an unnecessary risk to their safety.
“It's simply misleading for the Government to present ‘two strikes’ as being about less crime and safer communities – it risks twice as many crimes, twice as many victims and twice as much misery than if the criminal had been given the proper sentence after the first offence. And Labour has a ‘one strike policy of indeterminate sentences that would have kept the most serious and violent offenders behind bars after their first offence and only releasing them when no longer a risk to public safety. But this Government abolished indeterminate sentences, seriously weakening protection against re-offending by some of the most serious and violent offenders.
“The Conservatives promised at the last election that anyone caught in possession of a knife would be jailed. Today's announcement is a broken promise as it only applies to threatening someone with a knife and leaves judges to decide whether to give a prison sentence. By over promising to the voters and under delivering when in government, the Tory-led Government are eroding public confidence in our justice system.
“Chris Grayling likes to portray himself as a ‘tougher’ Justice Secretary compared to his ‘weak’ predecessor Ken Clarke. However, all of today’s announcements were policies of Ken Clarke, with which Chris Grayling now seems quite happy to be associated.”