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8 March 2013

Peter Cuthbertson is quoted twice in today's Daily Express on the slight fall in the number of people given a prison sentence for carrying a knife: “These figures are an example of how rarely prison is used even for serious offenders. They send out a message to criminals that carrying a knife will not be taken seriously by the courts.”

6 March 2013

Today's Sun reveals Leicester Police has been hanging woolen pom-poms from trees in the hope that brightening up the area will reduce fear of crime. This seems a less than direct route towards making residents feel safer. Peter Cuthbertson is quoted: “The best way to reduce fear of crime is to catch criminals.”

Today's Express reports on another case of restorative justice being used as an alternative to prison, as a serial offender who committed more than 70 thefts had his sentence halved for writing a letter to his victim. The CCP's Director said: “Stiff prison sentences have been proven to work in tackling serious offenders. The naive belief that they can be replaced by contact between criminals and their victims is a risk to public safety. It won’t take long for all criminals to work out they can beat the system with insincere letters and escape proper punishment.”

23 February 2013
Peter Cuthbertson was quoted in yesterday's Daily Mail and today's Daily Star on the latest data showing how many crimes are committed by repeat offenders, and the overuse of cautions and other alternatives to serious punishments.

Cuthbertson said:
"These figures are a mix of good and bad news. The crime rate did fall slightly from last year, just like the previous nine years. But the number of serious offenders with 15 or more previous convictions rose 59% from 65,000 in 2002 to 103,000 in 2012. There were 7,500 more violent and sexual offenders.
"This suggests we could cut crime dramatically by locking up more serious, repeat offenders. They're the ones who are responsible for a fast-growing percentage of all crimes. Unfortunately the number of prison places hasn't kept pace at all with the number of serious, repeat offenders, and last year only one in four serious offences led to a prison sentence.
"It is appalling that there were 45,000 cautions for theft or burglary. There were another 14,400 cautions for violence against the person. Most worrying is how many fully suspended sentences are being handed out for serious offences - it rose from 2,075 in 2002 to 30,651 in 2012."

22 February 2013
This week's Centre for Crime Prevention report into the failure of Community Sentences was covered by the Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sun, the Huffington Post, the BBC and ITV and a number of local newspapers.

Peter Cuthbertson

Peter Cuthbertson of the Centre for Crime Prevention appeared on ITV's Daybreak programme, debating Juliet Lyon from the Prison Reform Trust, Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire show, and nine local BBC radio programmes.

4 February 2013
In today's Daily Mirror, Peter Cuthbertson from the Centre for Crime Prevention argues against the NSPCC over smacking children. In a newspaper interview, Chris Grayling said he had smacked his children when they were younger, and defended the practice.

1 February 2013
In response to the latest data on reoffending by criminals, Peter Cuthbertson of the Centre for Crime Prevention told the Daily Express:
Tough sentences don’t just protect the public while the prisoner is inside.
These figures show that prison terms above four years also have much lower reoffending rates than community sentences. We need to increase prison terms.
Because of parole, a four year prison sentence usually means only two years served, rightly or wrongly.

31 January 2013
In response to the latest figures on arrests of under-18s, Peter Cuthbertson told
These figures reflect a fall in offending, but youth crime remains a major problem and police are right to take it seriously.
Nearly all of these 200,000 arrests were for serious crimes like violence, theft and burglary. It is vital for public safety that strong punishment follows arrest for young thugs.
30 January 2013
In response to the new guidelines for the Crown Prosecution service, Peter Cuthbertson was quoted in yesterday's Daily Telegraph:
It is very worrying that new reasons to avoid prosecutions are being proposed.
 Crime should not be shrugged off on grounds of proportionality.
This morning, Cuthbertson argued on BBC Radio Humber alongside Karl Turner MP and representatives from the CPS and local police. He said:
I think people are right to be very concerned. First of all, no offence ever feels minor to the victim and it's often so-called minor offences that do the most to ruin people's quality of life. Second, there's so much evidence that zero tolerance of less serious offences is the key to ridding an area of serious crimes. Usually by the time someone is caught they have already committed a string of offences so it's very dangerous not to take it seriously at this point.
Already the CPS takes a view that it won't proceed with cases that haven't much chance of prosecution so that's not new. I think the key line in the new guidance was that they need to consider "[t]he cost to the CPS ... where it could be regarded as excessive when weighed against any likely penalty". I think that's the point: we have extremely light penalties for so many crimes. Even those sent to prison for more serious offences only get an average of 9 months in prison. If prosecutors feel punishments are so light it's not worth taking criminals to court then it's the punishments that should be changed so that's no longer true.

28 January 2013
In today's Telegraph, Wesley Johnson reflects on the overuse of cautions. He repeats figures from the Centre for Crime Prevention's Sentencing Gap report:
It comes after a report by the Centre for Crime Prevention found earlier this month that more than 90,000 of the worst serial offenders avoided jail last year as the numbers soared by a quarter in five years.
They were handed cautions, fines and community sentences by police and the courts after going back to crime. 
Campaigners said there were now more serious, repeat offenders on the streets than there were jail places, as the figures fuelled fears that the criminal justice system is soft on repeat offenders. 
The number of repeat offenders with at least 15 previous convictions or cautions rose by a third last year to 108,119 from 81,204 in 2006/7, while the number with at least 10 previous convictions or cautions was up by a quarter from 112,956 to 140,168.
26 January 2013
In his column in today's Daily Mail, Simon Heffer attacks Labour's opposition to more prisons. He mentions the findings of last week's report from the Centre for Crime Prevention, the Sentencing Gap:
Labour has opposed plans to build more prisons. Given that more than 90,000 criminals with several serious convictions are at large because of our already too lenient penal policy, how does that square with the need to protect the public?

24 January 2013

The Centre is quoted in the Daily Mail on the use of human rights legislation to keep secret the identity of a notorious killer seeking a move to an open prison:
Transparency is essential if public confidence is to be maintained. By granting anonymity to violent offenders, the courts prevent the public scrutiny of justice that is vital to our democratic system.
17 January 2013

The Centre for Crime Prevention's debut report on how many serious, repeat offenders avoided prison last year was covered in The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, Daily Star and some local newspapers. Peter Cuthbertson wrote about the report for ConservativeHome. 

31 December 2012

Peter Cuthbertson writes for ConservativeHome and The Commentator on front line policing.