Liberal Democrat Manifesto

The Liberal Democrats published their manifesto and manifesto costings for the 2019 General Election this afternoon. This is a summary of their proposed criminal justice policies:

Policing:

Fully fund an immediate two per cent pay-rise for police officers

Resource the National Crime Agency to combat serious and organised crime, and tackle modern slavery and human trafficking

Create a new Online Crime Agency to tackle illegal content and activity online, such as personal fraud, revenge porn and threats and incitement to violence on social media

End the disproportionate use of Stop and Search

Replace Police and Crime Commissioners with accountable Police Boards made up of local councillors

Immediately halt the use of facial recognition surveillance by the police

Serious Violence:

Adopt a public health approach to serious violence

Support community policing and youth services to work together with other services

Invest £1 billion in community policing

Provide a £500m ring-fenced youth services fund to local authorities

Embed Trauma-informed Youth Intervention Specialists in all Major Trauma Centres

Prisons and Probation:

Recruit 2,000 more prison officers

Improve the provision of training, education and work opportunities

Introduce a presumption against short prison sentences

End prison sentences for the possession of drugs for personal use

Increase the use of community sentences and restorative justice where appropriate

Improve and properly fund the supervision of offenders in the community

Increase coordination between the prison service, probation service providers,
the voluntary and private sectors and local authorities

Ensure all prison-leavers have a suitably timed release and are supported with:

  • suitable accommodation
  • a bank account
  • employment or training
Ensure all prison-leavers are registered with a local GP

Equalities and Diversity:

Reduce the overrepresentation of people from BAME backgrounds throughout the criminal justice system

Uniformly record and publish data on ethnicity across the criminal justice system

Introduce a principle of ‘explain or reform’: if the criminal justice system cannot explain disparities between ethnic groups, then it must be reformed to address them

Ensure the police, prison service and judiciary all adopt ambitious targets for improving the diversity of their workforce and require regular reports on progress to parliament.

Develop a free unconscious bias training toolkit and make the provision of unconscious bias training to all members of staff a condition of the receipt of public funds

Develop a government-wide plan to tackle BAME inequalities

Establish a national fund for projects that work in schools to raise the aspirations of ethnic minority children and young people

Women in the CJS:

Establish a Women’s Justice Board

Provide specialist training for all staff in contact with women in the criminal justice system

Violence against women and girls:

Ratify and bring into law the Istanbul Convention

Legislate for a statutory definition of domestic abuse that includes its effects on children

Expand the number of refuges and rape crisis centres to meet demand

Ensure sustainable grant-funding for specialist independent support services

Give local authorities the duty and funding to provide accommodation and support for survivors of abuse

Establish a national rape crisis helpline

Ensure access to special measures for survivors in all courts

Prevent direct cross-examination in court of survivors by their abusers

Mental Health:

Improve mental health support and treatment within the criminal justice system

Ensure continuity of mental health care and addiction treatment in prison
and the community

End the use of police cells for people facing a mental health crisis

Make mental health services 24-hour

Place mental health liaison teams in all hospitals

Introduce a target of one hour for handover of people suffering from mental health crisis from police to mental health services

Support the police to achieve adequate levels of training in mental health response

Drugs Policy:

Move drugs policy to the Department of Health and Social Care

Invest in more addiction services and support for drug users

Divert people arrested for possession of drugs for personal use into treatment and impose civil penalties rather than imprisonment

Introduce a legal, regulated market for cannabis

Homelessness:

Publish a cross-Whitehall plan to end all forms of homelessness

Introduce a ‘somewhere safe to stay’ legal duty to ensure anyone at risk of sleeping rough is provided with emergency accommodation and a needs assessment

Sufficiently finance local authorities to deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act and provide accommodation for survivors of domestic abuse

De-criminalise rough sleeping by scrapping the Vagrancy Act

Criminal Records:

Reform criminal record disclosure rules so that people do not have to declare irrelevant old and minor convictions

Remove questions about criminal convictions from initial application forms for all public-sector jobs

Hate Crime:

Make all hate crimes aggravated offences

Giving law enforcement resources and training to identify and prevent hate crimes

Wales:

Devolve powers over youth justice, probation services, prisons and policing