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Double child killer Colin Pitchfork must stay in jail and Levi Bellfield shouldn't get prison wedding, says Keir Starmer

3 April 2023, 09:50 | Updated: 3 April 2023, 10:34

Sir Keir Starmer took a tough stance on high profile offenders
Sir Keir Starmer took a tough stance on high profile offenders. Picture: Alamy/Rex/Shutterstock/Met Police

By Asher McShane

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that notorious criminals like Charles Bronson and Colin Pitchfork should remain behind bars.

As he seeks to boost Labour’s credentials on law and order with pledges of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour, more police and tough action on drug dealers, he backed recent high-profile parole decisions for some of the UK's most dangerous offenders.

Sir Keir said double child killer Colin Pitchfork should say behind bars when his private parole hearing takes place later this month.

“I don’t think he should be recommended for release,” Sir Keir said.

He also said the decision to keep ‘Britain’s most violent criminal’ Charles Bronson behind bars was “the right decision.”

When asked on Call Keir on LBC whether serial killer Levi Bellfield should be allowed to get married behind bars, Sir Keir added: “I prosecuted Levi Bellfield so I have absolutely no sympathy with him whatsoever.”

The Labour Party has pledged a crackdown on anti-social behaviour with 13,000 new police officers, tougher action on drug dealers and fly-tipping in city centres.

Sir Keir and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper try to establish Labour as the party of law and order.

In new research carried out by the party, Labour said a tool to help victims of persistent anti-social behaviour is underused across the country, accusing the Government of failing communities.

According to Labour analysis, the "community trigger", which was rebranded as the “Anti-social behaviour Case Review” in last week’s Government anti-social behaviour action plan, is currently being used less than one a day nationwide.

According to the UK Government website, the tool "gives victims of persistent antisocial behaviour reported to any of the main responsible agencies (such as the council, police, housing provider) the right to request a multi-agency case review where a local threshold is met".

But the Government's own figures revealed that in 2022, “94 percent of people surveyed had never heard of the tool”, with further polling suggesting just 2 percent of people understand their anti-social behaviour rights.

The opposition party also pointed out that sentences for breaching Criminal Behaviour Orders have dropped by over 30% since 2018, with just five sentences issued a day.

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Labour has said it will launch an action plan of its own to tackle anti-social behaviour including:

  • A Neighbourhood Policing Guarantee with 13,000 additional neighbourhood police and PCSOs, increased town centre patrols and a guaranteed named officer and PCSO for every community.
  • Introducing new Respect Orders: a new criminal offence, issued if an adult’s anti-social behaviour injunction is breached, giving the police stronger powers, ending the farce of confusing powers and systems which are barely used.
  • Tough action against town centre drug dealing with tough powers for police to shut down crack houses and local neighbourhood drug teams to patrol town centres and lead data-driven hotspot policing targeted at common drug dealing sites.
  • Clean up squads for fly-tippers: with tough penalties for fly-tippers and establish clean up squads whereby offenders will clear up litter, fly-tipping and vandalism they have dumped.
  • Expanding the use of parental sanctions for parents whose children repeatedly engage in anti-social behaviour, delivered through the courts, and overseen by Community Payback Boards and Local Authorities.

Labour Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Anti-social behaviour ruins lives without consequence. After 13 years of Conservative government, more offenders are getting away with it, and more communities are being completely let down.

Sir Keir Starmer on high-profile criminals

“Labour is the party of law and order. The next Labour government will give tough new powers to police through Respect Orders to crack down on the repeat offenders causing misery in towns across the country.

“The Conservatives just don’t understand that nothing will change on anti-social behaviour if we don’t have local police in place. So we will also put 13,000 neighbourhood police and PCSOs back into our towns.

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“Labour’s mission will be to make Britain’s streets safe. Tackling anti-social behaviour is a key part of that mission, and we have the plan to deliver it.”

It comes a week after Rishi Sunak promised a clampdown on crime and vandalism that would see victims and residents having a say in what punishments are handed out, such as vandals being put to work in jumpsuits or hi-viz jackets while they publicly clean up their crimes.

Labour's law and order pledge comes a week after Rishi Sunak (pictured) announced a clampdown on crime and vandalism
Labour's law and order pledge comes a week after Rishi Sunak (pictured) announced a clampdown on crime and vandalism. Picture: Getty

A spokesperson for the Government said at the time: "We're determined to put an end to the corrosive effects of antisocial behaviour, which in too many places has worn down people's sense of safety, security and pride of place.

"That's why – as well as tackling these unacceptable crimes – we're also putting funding into revitalising neighbourhoods so people can feel proud of where they call home."

The announcement came after Labour pledged last year to create "community and victim payback boards" to strengthen community and victim involvement in sentencing, stop more serious offending, and bring down antisocial behaviour.

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