Philip Davies MP condemns Government policy on non-custodial sentences for prolific offenders

AN MP has slammed Government policy of letting repeat and prolific offenders who should be sent to prison off with non-custodial punishments as “ludicrous” as he urged ministers to get in touch with public opinion.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said the Conservatives should be tough on crime and called on ministers to get tough on criminals as the public wanted.

Speaking in the Commons he said: “Statistics from the Ministry of Justice consistently show that the longer people spend in prison the less likely they are to re-offend, so when the Secretary of State says he wants to see the end of short term sentences does he agree with me does he agree with me that those people should be sent to prison for longer or does he agree with the party opposite (Labour) that they should not be sent to prison at all.”

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “The reality is that for petty offenders who tend to be prolific, they tend to be repeat offenders the evidence shows that non-custodial sentences are more effective at reducing reoffending than a custodial sentence and that is the approach we want to take.”

Mr Davies said the policy is not in line with public opinion.

Figures obtained by Mr Davies show more than 5,000 criminals currently behind bars would be walking the streets free to commit further crimes if short sentences of 12 months or less were dropped - if this proposal was adopted as official policy.

As of the end of March there were 5,343 prisoners serving 12 months or less for crimes including sexual grooming, possessions of a fire arm with intent, possession of weapons, burglary and rape of a child under 13.