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Police given new powers to “cut crime” and make communities “safer”

Police will be given stronger powers to cut crime and make communities safer under new legislation announced this week.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, unveiled in Parliament on Tuesday, seeks to overhaul sentencing laws and give authorities the “powers and tools” they need to protect the public.

Here’s everything you need to know about the proposed new rules:

Criminal record

The time period ex-offenders have to declare non-violent, sexual or terrorist convictions to employers will be reduced.

Rehabilitation

The new laws will place “greater emphasis” on rehabilitation to help offenders “turn their lives around” and prevent further crimes.

Sexual offences

New laws will prevent adults in ‘positions of trust’ from engaging in sexual relationships with young people under the age of 18, effectively bringing sports coaches and religious leaders in line with other occupations, such as teachers and doctors.

Unauthorised encampments and protests

The new laws will enable police to “better tackle unauthorised encampments” and manage protests “where they threaten public order or stop people from getting on with their daily lives”.

Assault on front line workers

The maximum penalty for those who assault police or other emergency workers, such as prison officers, fire personnel or frontline health workers will be doubled from 12 months to two years.

Tougher sentencing

The Bill may introduce Whole Life Orders (WLOs) for child killers and 18-to-20-year-olds in “exceptional cases”, and end the automatic halfway release for serious violent and sexual offenders. It will also change the threshold for passing a sentence below the minimum term for repeat offenders.

Knife crime

In an effort to crack down on knife crime, new court orders will make it easier for police to exercise stop and search powers.

Vandalism

The Bill will introduce “tougher penalties” for those who vandalise memorials.

Driving offences

Life sentences may also be handed down to reckless drivers who kill at the wheel.

Have you been accused of committing a crime? We help clients through all stages of the criminal justice process, from arrest to prosecution and appeal. For support, get in touch with our expert team today.

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