Johnson announces new prison places and extension of stop/search police powers. Why?

Is this just electioneering?

An extra 10,000 new prison places will be created and stop-and-search powers expanded, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised.

The first new prison in the £2.5bn programme will be at HMP Full Sutton in Yorkshire, where expansion plans have previously been announced.

Last month, the government also pledged to recruit 20,000 extra police officers, nearly replacing the number of officers lost since the Conservatives returned to power.

But the 20,000 new police places were quickly debunked; the additions will add nothing to police ranks once natural wastage has been taken into account.

The Ministry of Justice has already said it was on course to create 3,360 places at two new prisons by 2023 and the Prison Reform Trust said the suggestion that all 10,000 newly-announced places really were new was “misleading” given earlier announcements.

The trust said prisons needed 12,000 more places just to eliminate overcrowding and accommodate new prisoners who have already been sentenced – and the announcement would increase the use of imprisonment before the capacity to provide it had been created.

As for stop-and-search powers – these had been reined in by Theresa May’s government after it was revealed that they are sometimes misused and that they disproportionately target black people – who were 9.5 times more likely to be searched than white people.

Now, a pilot scheme making it easier for police to search people without reasonable suspicion, in places where serious violence may occur, is being extended to all 43 forces across England and Wales.

But the results of the pilot scheme are not fully known yet. It is possible that the new measure will expose innocent citizens to even more abuse.

And this is the reason some commentators believe these pledges are just electioneering ploys.

They believe it is more likely that Boris Johnson wants his government to present the appearance of being tough on crime, in order to gain an electoral advantage.

The aim may be to contrive a public relations victory – painting the Tories as the “Party of Law and Order” once again, while Labour would be cast as opponents of these measures.

But Labour has in fact been calling for action to tackle violent crime for a considerable period of time.

The all-party Parliamentary group on knife crime was founded (and is chaired) by Labour MP Sarah Jones.

When she appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday evening (August 11), it seemed clear that she did not approve of the measures announced by Mr Johnson and his Home Secretary, Priti Patel.

So perhaps this is just an election strategy. We’ll find out soon.

Source: PM to create 10,000 new prison places and extend stop-and-search – BBC News

6 thoughts on “Johnson announces new prison places and extension of stop/search police powers. Why?

  1. Debbie

    So they can afford to spend £250K per prison place (plus the ongoing costs of keeping prisoners incarcerated), but they can’t afford to build new homes or create the jobs and incomes that would help prevent the need?

  2. trev

    Boris is just pandering to the Reactionary ‘flog ’em /hang ’em ‘ brigade, unfortunately of which there are many, the Sun/Daily Mail readers and UKIP types, and the Right wingers who regularly leave their embittered views in the comments section of all the local papers. Sadly there are more of these people than you might think, and they will swallow this guff hook, line & sinker.

  3. Stu

    So the The Ministry of Justice says the figures are “misleading” – at least Johnson is consistent by comtinuing his previous bold lies.
    Shame the highly skewed MSM will not highlight this.

  4. Jeffrey Davies

    who run this prison g4s Serco with autos Maximus nurses helping ones to ask who in all the mps will benefit from this hmmm

  5. Jenny Hambidge

    Or is it something far more sinister? create new crime laws, targeting say, different sectors of the population that might be deemed to cause trouble. ( in the aftermath of Brexit?) Its been done before to create division and hatred.

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