Thursday, 13 May 2010

The new coalition and crime

The Liberal-Conservative Coalition Agreement has been published and it is fairly sparse on crime related points. The items which are probably of most interest to criminologists come under the Civil Liberties section:
- The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database.
- Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission.
- The extension of the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency.
- Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.
- The protection of historic freedoms through the defence of trial by jury.
- The restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
- The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.
- Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation.
- Further regulation of CCTV .
- Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason.
I like the juxtaposition of "A new mechanism to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary new criminal offences" (the civil liberties section) with "Measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence" (from the environment section).

The Lib-Cons (or Conocrats?) also want to preserve "the integrity of our criminal justice system", whatever that means.

The two parties differ considerably on crime policy so it will be interesting to see who 'wins'. In their manifestoes, the LDs wanted to introduce an assumption against 6 month prison sentences yet the Tories wanted to see an increase in the prison estate- that fight in itself will be an interesting one!

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