North East UK news Tougher sentences for thugs attacking emergency workers have public backing MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Ministry of Justice reveals 'large majority' backed tougher punishments, as we called for in Justice for Heroes campaign
Breaking News ! Proposals to increase the maximum sentence for thugs who assault emergency workers received overwhelming support in a public consultation, the Ministry of Justice has revealed. The Government's new sentencing white paper states: "The large majority of those who responded were in favour of doubling the maximum penalty from 12 months to 2 years to ensure that emergency workers have sufficient protection from the law to enable them to carry out their duties and the maximum penalty reflects the severity of the offence." It was published as Justice Secretary Robert Buckland formally presented the plans to Parliament. The proposed change to the law is a huge victory for ChronicleLive's Justice for Heroes campaign. Our campaign, backed by trade unions, MPs and emergency services, called for a Government review over the lack of prison sentences handed out to those who attack our frontline heroes. North East Ambulance Service reported 171 incidents of assaults on its staff to the police over the past three years, but just 40 resulted in criminal convictions and none of the convicted offenders were sentenced to spend time in prison. Firefighters, police and hospital workers have also faced attacks. Read More Related Articles Firefighters are refusing to enter parts of Sunderland without a police escort after repeated attacks Read More Related Articles Sentences for thugs who attack emergency staff to be doubled in victory step for Justice for Heroes campaign But while the proposed change has been warmly welcomed, MPs and others have highlighted the need to ensure the courts actually use the powers they have to imprison culprits. The proposed change was announced earlier this week. The publication of the White Paper, called A Smarter Approach to Sentencing, and the Commons statement by Mr Buckland, is the first stage towards putting the proposals into law. There are a number of other proposed changes in the White Paper. Mr Buckland said: "For too long our justice system has been beset by complex and confusing laws which the public often feel fail in their most essential aims - to keep them safe and properly punish offenders. "That ends today. This White Paper is the first step in a fundamental shift in our approach to sentencing, towards one that is fairer, smarter and ultimately better protects the public. "Our measures will ensure the most serious violent and sexual offenders get the prison time they deserve, while new community interventions and changes to rules around criminal records will help boost rehabilitation and cut reoffending - which means creating fewer victims." Other proposals include making a "whole life order", in which an offender spends the whole of rest of their life in prison, the default position when an offender commits the premeditated murder of a child.
. At the moment, they cannot be used for younger offenders. The current rules meant that Hashem Abedi, the brother of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi, could not receive a whole life order when he was convicted of offences including 22 counts of murder for his part in the crime. Although he was 23 when sentenced, he was under 21 when the crime was committed. New powers will also halt the automatic release of offenders who are deemed pose a terrorist threat or are a danger to the public. New laws will end the halfway release of offenders sentenced to between four and seven years in prison for serious crimes such as rape, manslaughter and GBH with intent. Instead they will have to spend two-thirds of their time behind bars. The starting point for determining sentences for 15-17 year olds who commit murder will be increased from a minimum of 12 years.
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The automatic release point those who receive a standard sentence of seven years or more will be increased to tow-thirds of their sentence, rather than half, for the most serious violent offences relating to homicide and for all serious sexual offences. Other plans include GPS tagging for burglars to keep tabs on their whereabouts, and a major review of the criminal justice system to obtain a clearer picture of how it supports offenders with neuro-divergent conditions such as autism, ADHD and dyslexia. The White Paper also confirms plans to support ex-offenders striving to turn their lives around through work by reducing the time in which they are required to disclose certain convictions for non-sensitive roles.
Custodial sentences of up to a year will become ‘spent’ after a further 12 months without reoffending, while convictions between one and four years will no longer be disclosed after four crime-free years. Previously, such offences would continue to be shared with employers for up to four and seven years respectively. However, any individual that reoffends during their rehabilitation period will have to disclose both their original and subsequent offences to employers for the duration of whichever rehabilitation period is longer. Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy urged the Government not to apply tougher sentences “gratuitously” but said the party welcomed the reforms to “protect the British public”.
Source = MetiNews.Com