Hayes in the House: 'Courts are too lenient' - by MP Sir John Hayes
‘I want criminals to feel terror at the thought of committing offences’.
The words of our new Home Secretary, Priti Patel, could not be more welcome. For far too long, far too many of a malign, malicious minority have believed that they could cause misery with impunity.
Last month it was revealed that fewer than 9% of crimes result in suspects being charged, as our hard-pressed police struggle to cope with ever greater demands.
When officers do manage to solve a case, resulting in a consequent trial, they must feel demoralising disappointment that punishments so rarely fit crimes.
Typically, custodial sentences are drastically cut, with even the most ruthless criminals being released early. Whilst heinous felons are allowed to walk free after serving derisorily short sentences - many killers are released after a dozen or so years - bleeding heart liberals plead for even greater leniency.
How they misunderstand the criminal mind! For deviant individuals who have chosen crime as a career, weighing up the balance between risk and reward - cost and benefit is the measure of their trade.
Meanwhile, perverse parole boards stubbornly relegate the interests of victims before releasing the heartless and ruthless back into the communities they have previously terrorised.
The most recent figures show that the 246, publicly unaccountable, Parole Board members granted release in around half of cases they heard, recommending prisoners be moved to ‘open prisons’ in a further 17%. All this despite the appalling revelation that criminals on parole have been charged with 367 murders.
Many will doubtless recall hearing some years ago of the torture and killing of an angelic looking child who became known as ‘baby P’. Far fewer will know that his mother Tracey Connelly, who with her accomplice, inflicted 50 horrific injuries upon her baby son Peter, was released on parole just five years after being convicted of causing his death - only to be recalled to prison 18 months later for selling indecent photos of herself online.
Throughout my time in Parliament, I have challenged the crass misassumption that crime is an illness to be treated. To see those who choose to profit from the misfortune of others in the same way as we regard the sick and infirm is to demean the latter and to elevate the former to a place they do not deserve.
Yet the assumption that each and every wickedness is a misfortune of less significance than the circumstances of its perpetrator means relegating such acts and the victims of them. In this way justice is neither done, nor seen to be.
That punishment is the defining purpose of criminal justice is taken as read by most of the law-abiding majority, but unpalatable to the snowflake elite who run too much of Britain. The new home Secretary’s critics, like Lib Dem, Ed Davey - who claimed she fails to understand ‘what’s leading some young people into crime in the first placer’ - either don’t know or don’t care that when order, underpinned by the rule of law, is eroded, it’s the vulnerable who suffer most.
In our capital city, record levels of chillingly violent crime rob families of loved ones. In 2018, knives were used to extinguish the lives of 68 people, with the innocent victims disproportionately drawn from the poorest families in the poorest neighbourhoods.
The police are missioned to stand in our defence on the front line of such horror. That is what brave PC Stuart Outten was doing last week when he was seriously injured in a savage attack by a machete wielding demon. We owe it to Stuart and others like him to crack down on crime and bear down on criminals, so I trust that the Prime Minister’s 20,000 newly recruited police officers will be encouraged to stop and search as many suspects as they think fit,
Our response to lawlessness should be to restore retributive justice. For public faith in the rule of law to be maintained the expectation that offenders should be punished in just proportion to the wrong they have done must be realised. To close the gap between what courts do and what the people want, minimum sentences for all violent crimes ought to be increased.
The liberal left is wrong to caricature those concerned with justice as vengeful. Quite the contrary, the delivery of ‘just deserts’ is a manifestation of social solidarity, as the communities unite to right a wrong done to one of their own and by so doing affirm virtue.
The Home Secretary understands what most of my constituents here in South Lincolnshire tell me they have always known - we must be fierce in defence of the gentle.