Policy Exchange has published a new report focused on Prolific and Priority Offenders entitled ‘Swift and Certain. A New Paradigm For Criminal Justice’.
The report makes recommendations for allowing the criminal justice system to be swift, certain and proportionate.
- Conditional Behaviour Orders – the proposal of a new Conditional Behaviour Order (CBO) as a new requirement for Community Orders, with punitive responses to non-compliance. The Conditional Behaviour Order would specify particular behavioural requirements including drug testing, alcohol monitoring or GPS tagging and would specify corresponding sanctions for non-compliance.
- Breaches of Community Orders – the report recommends that breaches of Community Orders are dealt with in a way that is much more focused on prolific and priority offenders, requiring proceedings to be brought within 24 hours to specialist courts and recommending curfew orders or custody as sanctions.
- Suspended Sentence Orders – the report recommends that Suspended Sentence Orders are dealt with by considering the future behaviour of the offender and with an increased monitoring, with any breaches resulting in proceedings within 24 hours.
- Police Courts – the report recommends the introduction of new police courts, whereby magistrates sit in or near police stations to deal with low-level guilty pleas where appropriate, allowing cases to be heard on the spot without being sent to court.
- Fast track of prolific and priority offenders – the report suggests that prolific or priority offenders should be dealt with by specific magistrates or District Judges and should be sentenced within 24 hours of being charged when they will plead guilty.
These recommendations raise many concerns relating to the need for a person accused of an offence to obtain accurate, independent legal advice.
We are certain that sentencing people who may believe they should plead guilty in such a short timescale will see many people convicted of crimes they should never have pleaded guilty to.
We speak to many people who are charged with offences and are, a few days later, still processing what has happened and only just feeling able to reach out for legal advice.
If you are being charged with a criminal offence, contact our team now for a free initial consultation on 01623 397200.