LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron set out a “tough but intelligent” new approach to crime on Monday, in a speech aimed at shoring up his struggling government after weeks of bad headlines.
His planned mix of stiff prison sentences to deter criminals and rehabilitation programmes to cut reoffending rates is an attempt to shake off accusations that he wants to “hug a hoodie” or is soft on crime.
Cameron has been dogged by the “hug a hoodie” label — a reference to the hooded tops associated with anti-social youths in Britain — since arguing in 2006 that Britain should show “more love” to troubled young people.
But on Monday the Conservative leader pledged several tougher policies including longer sentences for knife crime, increased potential for life sentences, and a new power for magistrates to issue unlimited fines.
“The primary, proper response to crime is not explanations or excuses, it is punishment — proportionate, meaningful punishment,” he said in the speech at the Centre for Social Justice, a right-leaning think-tank.
“Retribution is not a dirty word — it is important to society that the revulsion we all feel against crime is properly recognised.”
But he said more effort should be taken to educate inmates and treat prisoners’ addictions to discourage reoffending.—AFP