While the Government legislates to give the police more powers to harm dissenting and minority groups, the root causes of crime – poverty, inequality and social exclusion – are left unaddressed. Cuts to legal aid mean those without the means to pay legal fees are denied access to justice. And our outdated drug laws needlessly criminalise people and marginalise communities, with black people arrested, charged and imprisoned for drug offences in disproportionate numbers.
The Tories are responding to our current crises by creating a harsher, more authoritarian society – and Labour is doing nothing to oppose them.
To reverse this dangerous trend, we need to radically reform our police and justice system and ensure genuine equality before the law. This means reigning in police powers, moving to a justice system that prioritises rehabilitation over retribution, and properly funding legal aid. Civil liberties such as the right to protest and reveal injustices without fear of reprisal must be protected. By implementing policies that promote economic security and equality, we can strengthen the social fabric and reduce crime.
Legalise cannabis and decriminalise possession of other drugs.
Abolish private prisons.
Increase funding for rehabilitation programmes, reserving custodial sentences for only the most serious crimes.
Organise reconciliation and restorative justice programmes at a community level.
Decentralise police services and overhaul police powers, ending stop and search and other socially harmful practices.
Ensure incidents involving mental health crises are attended by qualified mental health professionals and treated as a health issue rather than a criminal matter.
Expand access to justice by restoring the scope and funding of civil legal aid to pre-2013 levels.
Repeal the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act and protect the right to protest.
Scrap legislative threats to human rights such as the Covert Human Intelligence Sources ('Spy Cops') Act and the Overseas Operations Act.
Introduce stronger protections for whistle-blowers across society.
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