Boris Johnson vows to stop soft punishments for rapists and murderers as he orders sentencing review for dangerous offenders

BORIS Johnson has launched a review of sentences given to the most serious offenders as part of a wider promised crackdown on crime.

The prime minister, who has pledged to make law and order a priority, said the review would look at whether the sentences being served by violent and sexual offenders reflected the severity of their crimes.

Boris Johnson has launched a review of the sentences given to violent and sexual offenders

He also plans to disqualify the most serious offenders from rules that see prisoners automatically freed on licence once they have served half their sentence.

Mr Johnson said: “Dangerous criminals must be kept off our streets, serving the sentences they deserve – victims want to see it, the public want to see it and I want to see it.

“To ensure confidence in the system, the punishment must truly fit the crime.

“We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released.

“This ends now. We want them caught, locked up, punished and properly rehabilitated.”


Under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, anyone who receives a non-life sentence and is not deemed to be dangerous at the time of their release can leave prison when just half their term has been served.

The prime minister has asked a review team to report back with recommendations on sentencing in the autumn.

The move comes six years after the then justice secretary Chris Grayling scrapped automatic release for people convicted of terrorism or child rape.

The focus on domestic issues ahead of Brexit has fuelled speculation Mr Johnson intends to call a general election once Britain has left the EU.

Pledges on crime made previously by the prime minister include 10,000 extra prison places, at a cost of £2.5bn, and 20,000 more police officers, at a cost of £1.1bn.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has also announced an expansion of stop-and-search powers for all 43 police forces across England and Wales as part of a drive to tackle knife crime.


Speaking at an event at the Edinburgh Fringe on Friday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticised the prime minister’s plans, and said that austerity by successive Tory governments had helped fuel a rise in violent crime in Britain.

“We’ve got fewer police officers now than any time since 2003, while the population has risen by two million,” he said.

“Are the police worried about the lack of numbers? The answer is yes.

“Our police work so hard. They are under-resourced and over-stretched.

“We need more officers and so I’m using City Hall money – council tax and business rates – to recruit more, but we need central government to give us more support to reverse the cuts made.

“In the eight years before I became mayor, Boris Johnson never raised council tax to pay for police.

“In my first three years I’ve raised council tax the maximum I’m allowed to do by law to divert it to the police.

“Our police is funded by roughly 80 percent by central government and 20 percent by other sources.

“It’s now gone down to 70 percent from central because I’ve raised other sources, but I can’t fill the massive hole left by £1billion of cuts.”

Khan added that he had written to Johnson since the new prime minister’s arrival in Number Ten but had had no reply.

New measures will see stop-and-search powers expanded for forces across England and Wales
PA:Press Association
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday that Tory cuts had made it harder to tackle violent crime
PA:Press Association

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