Police and Crime
Last year, there were an estimated 6.1 million incidents of crime experienced by adults in England and Wales. Almost every police force in the country recorded an increase in crime, with worrying rises in some of the most violent offences, including gun and knife crime and homicide.
On Theresa May’s watch, police numbers have been cut by 20,000. Cuts to the police force endanger communities and endanger police officers too. Labour’s approach to policing crime will be different.
We will support the police in the performance of their duties. We will provide officers, police community support officers and civilian staff with the equipment and people they need to provide effective policing services, including from the growing threat of cybercrime. We will work with them to ensure that our communities are safer, for all of us.
We will champion community policing policies and incentivise good policing practice, working with Police and Crime Commissioners throughout the country on strategies to prevent crime. We will also work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities, that mean you are still far more likely to be stopped and searched as a black or Asian man.
Labour will recruit 10,000 more police officers to work on community beats, equivalent to at least one more for every neighbourhood in the country.
We will ensure appropriate support is provided to victims of crime and introduce legislation for minimum standard entitlements to service from criminal justice agencies.
The level of violence against women and girls is not acceptable. Labour will emphasise the safety of women and girls by appointing a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence. We will establish a National Refuge Fund and ensure stability for rape crisis centres. We will make age-appropriate sex and relationship education a compulsory part of the curriculum so young people can learn about respectful relationships.
We will strengthen the law, banning the use of community resolutions as a response to domestic violence.
Labour will continue to enforce effective measures to prevent all forms of abuse, including female genital mutilation.
Security and counter-terrorism
Labour will maintain the cross-border security co-operation agreements with our intelligence partners in Europe and beyond. We will always provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe. We will also ensure that such powers do not weaken our individual rights or civil liberties.
When – as they sometimes will – these aims collide, the exercise of investigatory powers must always be both proportionate and necessary. We will reintroduce effective judicial oversight over how and when they are used, when the circumstances demand that our collective security outweighs an individual freedom.
Labour will review the Prevent programme with a view to assessing both its effectiveness and its potential to alienate minority communities. In doing so, we will address the government’s failure to take any effective new measures against a growing problem of extreme or violent radicalisation.
Border security is vital in preventing serious crimes including child abduction, people trafficking, smuggling of drugs and guns, terrorism and modern day slavery.
Contrary to the Conservative government’s rhetoric, they have not taken control of our borders or strengthened our national security. Instead, they have suppressed the independent inspector’s reports highlighting weaknesses in our borders and cut the Border Force by thousands of personnel. They want to turn private sector landlords, teachers, medical staff and other public sector workers into unpaid immigration officers, forcing them to provide information to the authorities.
The Conservatives promised and failed to deliver 100 per cent exit checks at the borders. Labour will recruit 500 more border guards to add to our safeguards and controls.
Fire and Rescue Services
Labour will halt cuts to the Fire Service. The Conservatives have cut 10,000 firefighter jobs and closed dozens of fire stations. As a result, response times have got slower and lives have been put at risk.
Labour will recruit 3,000 new firefighters, review staffing levels, and consult on national minimum standards for the service. We will reinstate separate governance arrangements for Fire and Police Services.
We will give the Fire and Rescue Services a statutory duty to coordinate and respond to floods.
We all need access to the justice system to protect us from those who would deny us our rights. Labour will set out to make Britain a fair society with liberties for all, governed by the rule of law, and in which the law is enforced equally.
The Conservatives threaten our Human Rights Act and may withdraw us from the European Convention on Human Rights. Labour will retain the Human Rights Act.
Justice is all too often denied. Too many ordinary people know this. There are football fans, trade unionists, environmental activists and people living with disabilities whose personal experiences provide first-hand testimony.
Labour will hold public inquiries into historic injustices. We will open inquiries into Orgreave and blacklisting. We will release all papers relating to the Shrewsbury 24 trials and the 37 Cammell Laird shipyard workers.
Justice today has become the preserve of the rich. Budget cuts mean that thousands are deprived of fair resolutions. Justice is eroded by the poor decisions of privatised assessments, by the withdrawal of legal aid, by the removal of appeal rights, by the delays arising from overcrowded courts and by the costs of fees
Eligibility for legal aid has been withdrawn across a whole range of areas. This has had disturbing consequences for the delivery of justice.
Democracy is founded upon the rule of law and judicial independence. We will also review the judicial appointments process, to ensure a judiciary that is more representative of our society.
Labour will immediately re-establish early advice entitlements in the Family Courts. The shameful consequences of withdrawal have included a requirement for victims of domestic abuse to pay doctors for certification of their injuries. Labour’s plans will remove that requirement. At the same time, we will legislate to prohibit the cross-examination of victims of domestic violence by their abuser in certain circumstances.
We will reintroduce funding for the preparation of judicial review cases. Judicial review is an important way of holding government to account. There are sufficient safeguards to discourage unmeritorious cases.
We will review the legal aid means tests, including the capital test for those on income-related benefits.
Labour will consider the reinstatement of other legal aid entitlements after receiving the final recommendations of the Access to Justice Commission led by Lord Bach.
The justice system can be bewildering and intimidating. There are many improvements that can be made both to the law and to the court processes.
Labour will introduce a no-fault divorce procedure.
A Labour government will consult on establishing an environmental tribunal with simplified procedures to hear challenges to unlawful government decisions, like those made on the air quality strategy, without engaging in prohibitively expensive processes.
Labour will not prohibit the courts from raising monies to provide services, but we will introduce a ratio to establish the maximum difference between actual costs and charges levied.
Labour will continue to extend the use of technology in our court service where it enhances access to justice, timely dispute resolution and efficient administration.
Prisons and Probation Service
Labour is tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, but we won’t make the lives of workers in the criminal justice system tougher. Prison officers, probation officers and other workers need the resources to do their jobs safely, effectively and successfully.
Our prisons are overcrowded. Staffing levels are too low. The situation is dangerous and violence against prison officers is rising. Riots and disturbances in our prisons are increasing. Prison escapes cause distress to people living near prisons
A Labour government will publish annual reports on prisoner-staff ratios, with a view to maintaining safety and ending overcrowding.
We will recruit 3,000 more prison officers and review the training and professional development available.
We will publish prison officer to prisoner ratios for all prisons. Our proposal to lift the public sector pay cap will help to increase the recruitment and retention of both prison officers and probation officers.
Re-offending rates are too high. The Conservatives talked of a rehabilitation revolution, and then just gave up. Their proposal now is to lock up more and more individuals, ignoring the evidence that our prisons are too often dumping grounds for people who need treatment more than they need punishment. Labour will insist on personal rehabilitation plans for all prisoners.
Prison should always be a last resort – the state’s most severe sanction for serious offences. It should never be a substitute for failing mental health services, or the withdrawal of funding from drug treatment centres. We will review the provision of mental health services in prisons.
Under a Labour government, there will be no new private prisons and no public sector prisons will be privatised.
Labour’s innovative models of youth justice successfully turned around the lives of many young people, steering them away from crime and towards more constructive ways. In government, we will again continue to innovate and incentivise local authorities, police forces and probation services to engage effectively with young people at risk of drifting into anti-social or criminal behaviours. We will embed restorative justice practices across all youth offending institutions.
The part-privatisation of probation services has already failed.
Labour will review the role of Community Rehabilitation Companies.
The Conservatives bulldozed changes to the probation service through despite warnings that they had not been tested and were founded on a weak evidence base.