Priti Patel and Robert Buckland appear to be trying to drum up support for their Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill from Conservative Party supporters ahead of the bill’s second reading and the local elections in May.
The bill, which proposes a wide set of sentencing and courts reform measures, is due for its second reading on Monday. Yesterday, subscribers to the Conservative Party email list received a message from the home and justice secretaries seeking their views on the ‘historic reforms’.
The email, headed ‘Official Criminal Justice Survey’, states: ‘As justice and home secretaries, we share a common and crucial goal: to make this country safer. But many people feel we have a criminal justice system set up to protect the rights of criminals over those of victims. That’s why we’re delivering on our manifesto commitment and introducing the most radical overhaul of the justice system in decades.’
Despite the 'official' title, the Ministry of Justice denied involvement, referring the Gazette to the Conservative Party.
The survey itself asks only six questions, which require ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers:
- Do you support our plans to keep the most dangerous criminals in prison for longer?
- Do you support doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting emergency workers?
- Do you support enshrining better protections for our police and their families in law?
- Do you support making it easier for officers to stop and search known knife offenders?
- Do you support raising the maximum sentence for destroying war memorials to 10 years?
- Overall, do you support our criminal justice overhaul?
Patel and Buckland say in the email: ‘These changes are vast in scale and ambition, but we make absolutely no apology for that. We are determined to rebalance the justice system – so that it works in favour of the law-abiding majority and not the criminal minority. That’s how we will build a safer country and protect more people from crime.’