Wednesday 2 October 2019 4:30 am

DEBATE: Have the Conservatives re-established themselves as the party of law and order?

Jack Powell is editor of the online neoliberal publication 1828.
Liz Jarvis
Liz Jarvis is a writer and editor, and a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate.

Have the Conservatives re-established themselves as the party of law and order?

Jack Powell, editor of 1828, says YES.

The home secretary stands in front of the police federation, berating them about everything from decades-long scandals to not working with her constructively enough

Five years later, one of her successors pledges to give her full support to the police, recruit 20,000 new officers, and expand the use of stop and search powers.

Priti Patel is not alone in her tough-on-crime rhetoric. Her move to revoke the citizenship of the IS fighter “Jihadi Jack” followed Sajid Javid’s decision to do the same to Shamima Begum. And yesterday, the justice secretary also announced plans to reduce the early release of prisoners and make serious criminals serve more of their sentences.

When the home secretary declares that she wants criminals to “literally feel terror”, it’s safe to say that the party has re-established itself as tough on law and order.

It remains to be seen whether these policies will actually be effective at cutting crime – but whether almond milk-sipping metropolitans like it or not, the tough new messaging will resonate with a public terrified of knife crime or IS fighters returning to live next door.

Liz Jarvis, a writer and a Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, says NO.

How ludicrous for the Conservatives to pretend to be the party of law and order. Not only did the Supreme Court find Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament unlawful, but this is the party that cut thousands of police.

Since 2015, Britain has seen violent crime rise. My conversations with police officers have confirmed their frustration that they have been woefully under-resourced. Yes, this government has announced 20,000 new officers, but forces are still unsure how much funding they’re going to get – it’s difficult not to suspect more fantasy politics from the individuals who put a false offer about the NHS on the side of a bus.

Moreover, research shows that we need alternatives to prosecution and imprisonment to encourage young people away from crime. The evidence indicates that longer sentences don’t actually make us any safer, because they don’t deter offenders.

Finally, co-operation between security forces in Europe is vital. If we crash out of the EU, it will jeopardise the fight

Main image credit: Getty

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