UK: Boris Johnson vows to 'come down hard on crime'

UK PM backs 'stop-and-search' power says will create 10,000 more spaces in prisons

Boris Johnson visits the Fusion Energy Research Centre at the Fulham Science Centre in OxfordshireMore

"Up to £2.5 billion will be spent on creating modern, efficient prisons, the prime minister announced today ..."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising more prisons and stronger police powers in an effort to fight violent crime.

He said there is an impression of a growing "culture of insolence" with "thugs" that believe they can act with impunity, and wants to tackle the rising knife crime.

BORIS JOHNSON plans to overhaul United Kingdom sentencing laws to give courts new powers to jail criminals for longer.

Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said the United Kingdom already had the largest prison population of any country in Western Europe and that a different approach was needed.

Johnson said writing in the Mail on Sunday, "We have the impression of a growing culture of insolence on the part of the thugs; and in the face of that sense of impunity, entirely misplaced. We hear again and again from police that [they] need to be empowered".

"That is why I am announcing today that in all 43 police authorities in England and Wales, we are making clear that the police can and should make use of their stop-and-search powers", he added, with 8,000 additional police officers being able to deploy stop and search powers without a senior officer needing to give the go-ahead.

Currently, offenders sentenced to 12 months or more serve the first half of their time in prison and the second "on licence" in the community, where they may be subject to recall.

"This can not go on".

The UK has seen a rise in knife crime this year, and Johnson has called for tougher sentencing for those carrying knives as well as for "serious sexual and violent offenders".

However, Wera Hobhouse, the Lib Dem justice spokeswoman said the United Kingdom has the largest prison population of any country in Western Europe.

Chief executive Frances Crook said there was no evidence to suggest longer sentences would reduce crime.

But shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the measures "fall woefully short of what is needed to make our prisons safe". All it does is overcrowd our prisons and waste millions of pounds. "Instead of just talking tough, it's time ministers look at the evidence".

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