Too often it can feel like the law isn’t on the side of victims.
I have held a number of meetings with constituents about antisocial behaviour, crime and the justice system in recent months.
I know the insecurity that people are feeling in their communities.
And I know how the destruction of neighbourhood policing in the last decade has made it feel like there aren’t enough bobbies on the beat.
These are issues that we need to face up to with an approach that is tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime.
But we need to restore faith in the criminal justice system, as well as neighbourhood policing.
I have worked with Johnny Wood for a number of years to fight for justice for his sister Jackie, who was killed by four men who were joyriding a stolen HGV in Brierley. They had 100 convictions between them.
His story epitomises many of the issues we face.
Not only was sentencing too weak for the perpetrators of a horrific crime, but Johnny and his family felt completely let down by every part of the system.
That is why we need a victim’s law – to strengthen rights and support for victims.
I am pleased that the Government has run a ‘victim’s law’ consultation – and I sincerely hope that swift action will follow. But it has taken six Justice Secretaries over six years to deliver on their promise – and that is despite Labour putting forward our own victims’ bill to parliament for the government to adopt, which they rejected.
Keir Starmer put ‘security’ as the first term in his contract with the British people for one simple reason. Because it matters.
Everyone has a right to feel safe in their own community, and we are intent on delivering that.
- A new victims law, now, and more support for victims;
- New Police Hubs, visible in every community, with more bobbies on the beat
- Tackling the unprecedented courts’ backlog;
- And a new victims commissioner, to hold justice agencies to account and empower victims to take action when agencies ignore their rights
Delivering security should be the first duty of Government. I hope the Government will act swiftly. But if they don’t we have a plan to deliver, once we get this Government out of the way.