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Tories pledge to end 'Britain's caution culture' with instant punishments for yobs

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Tories pledge to end 'Britain's caution culture' with instant punishments for yobs

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities

Tories pledge to end 'Britain's caution culture' with instant punishments for yobs Tories pledge to end 'Britain's caution culture' with instant punishments for yobs

Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling today pledged to end "Britain's caution culture" as too many serious offenders were "getting away with it".

Mr Grayling told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that police officers were "too inclined to take the easy option".

A Tory government would demand "real moves to tackle anti-social behaviour", he said.

He promised a range of "instant punishments", such as grounding offenders for up to a month or making them do community work like cleaning up parks.

But on higher level offences, Mr Grayling said: "There are too many serious offenders getting away with it.

"Our police are too inclined to take the easy option.

"Giving someone a caution or a fixed penalty notice means box ticked, case closed, another solved crime.

"But we know the system is being misused."

He pledged to get rid of the "target culture that makes it easier to issue a caution than to prosecute".

Mr Grayling also told the conference he would transform the UK's immigration system, which for 12 years had been a "complete shambles".

The Tories would be "robust" in the way they controlled immigration.

"There will be no open door to Britain," he said.

"Instead we will have a system that treats people fairly and decently; that welcomes those who should be able to come and live here.

"Like the Gurkhas who have done so much for our country."

He added: "But we'll close the gaping hole in our student visa system.

"We'll crack down on the traffickers."

The Tories would set an annual cap on the number of people who could come into Britain to live and work.

On security, Mr Grayling said Britain was "still not tough enough" on those who spread the doctrine of hate.

He promised to immediately ban Hizb ut-Tahrir and any other group that "actively incited hatred and violence".

The Government had allowed extremists to protest on Britain's streets and incite violence in "the most blatant ways".

But Unison general secretary Dave Prentis hit out at Conservative plans for immigration.

"Without the work of overseas staff, our hospitals and social care services would crumble," he said.

"Our population is ageing so we will need more migrant workers to keep services running, not less.

"If Chris Grayling got his way, a serious skills shortage could leave elderly and vulnerable people without the care they need."

The Tories also promised greater powers for police to warn communities about dangerous criminals living in their area.

They said that under Labour, criminals enjoyed an "automatic privacy", blaming the Human Rights Act and flawed Government policy for confusion over rights that had left the public "in the dark".

Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve told the conference: "How many times have we seen police or probation officers say they can't disclose the identity of a criminal because of his privacy under the Human Rights Act?

"Police in Derbyshire refused to disclose photos of fugitive murderers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency say they can't name gangsters.

"That's complete nonsense and we'll end it straightaway."

Under the Tories it would be "crystal clear that protecting the public takes precedence over the privacy of criminals".

Mr Grieve also pledged to rewrite the "one-sided" extradition laws in the wake of the Gary McKinnon case.

And he committed the Conservatives to building more prison places to address overcrowding.

"Given the state of the public finances we will look at every option:
sale of the older estate to build new prisons.

"Alternate sites that can be adapted. And the extension of existing prisons."

The plans to name criminals were dismissed by Justice Secretary Jack Straw as a "deeply confused populist announcement" which ignored that fact the police already had such powers.

"This is yet another piece of policy hastily cobbled together by the Tories," Mr Straw said.

"The outcomes of court cases are already on the public record. Courts are open so that justice can be seen to be done. Police are able to use this information to inform the public, and regularly make announcements about wanted criminals.

"This is a deeply confused populist announcement which, like so many Conservative policies this week, falls apart the moment it is subjected to scrutiny.

"Even Conservative supporters now accept that Tory policy on the Human Rights Act is flawed and impractical. I am surprised that Dominic Grieve has allowed his name to be used alongside this poorly-researched piece of work.

"It seems that he feels under such pressure from hard line right-wingers that he has abandoned his previously principled position in a vain effort to appear 'tough'. It has failed."

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "As the Conservatives well know, there is nothing in the Human Rights Act that prevents Crimewatch being aired or the identification of dangerous offenders at large.

"It is a thoroughly good idea to provide reassuring guidance for the police service but a thoroughly bad idea to perpetuate dangerous myths about the law to grab headlines at a party political conference."

Home Secretary Alan Johnson hit out at Mr Grayling's speech, saying he had "chosen to insult" police officers by suggesting they shirked difficult tasks.

"The Conservatives had the opportunity to change their party's commitment to water down the police's powers to use DNA evidence to catch the most violent offenders," Mr Johnson said.

"They didn't take it. Instead, we got more chaos and confusion.

"Grayling announced he would have new taxes on alcohol just months after the shadow cabinet voted against increased taxes on alcohol

"Already, Ken Clarke has dismissed these plans as 'a new puritan age' and called on politicians like Grayling who advocate them to have a 'slightly more robust approach to life'."

Mr Johnson added: "Our points-based system gives us an unprecedented level of control over migration.

"It is a more effective system than the arbitrary cap, allowing us to raise and lower the bar in response to changes in Britain's economy and workforce.

"By contrast it is quite possible that the Gurkhas would not have been able to come to the UK under the Tories' cap.

"We simply don't know because Chris Grayling refuses to say what the cap will be."

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said: "Dreary promises to build yet more prison places make no sense when scarce public money could be used to fund sensible Tory plans for early crime prevention, residential rehabilitation for addicts and second chance employment for former offenders, all of which would reduce prison overcrowding at a stroke".

Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman Taji Mustafa said: "Chris Grayling's barefaced lies that Hizb ut-Tahrir promotes hatred and violence are another desperate attempt to boost Conservatives' poll ratings.

"His statement has no basis in fact, was comprehensively rebutted when first uttered by David Cameron and is the latest addition to their other anti-Muslim policies.

"Despite our challenge to a public debate, Cameron has not had the courage to respond."

Mr Mustafa described Hizb ut-Tahrir as an Islamic political party with "over 50 years of non-violent political activism to end tyranny and dictatorship in the Muslim world".

 

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