On Sunday 25 July 2021, an article written by Prime Minister Johnson was published in the Express newspaper, concerning policing, crime and justice priorities. In it, he speaks to the need for tougher sentencing, more prison places, increased tagging, and provocatively describes the “fury” and “rage” of victims of crime.

The UK Government has since published its ‘Beating Crime Plan‘ policy paper.

There is no question, the trauma and pain criminal activity inflicts on our communities is distressing and can be life altering. But the Prime Minister’s words are the antithesis of an objective, sympathetic response. Neither his comments, nor the ‘Beating Crime Plan’ address the causes of crime, prevention, or how to ‘fix’ the problem. More punishment is empirically retrograde. It does not work. It’s a reaction.

Instead, the Prime Minister should consider a progressive, compassionate and reasoned approach, for victims and offenders. We need to understand why people turn to crime, offer them support and meaningful alternatives. Criminals are often seen as the ‘other’ but these are people from our communities, our families. If we keep sending folk to prison, they won’t disappear, they will return to us. It is our collective failure that people become so desperate. It is our shared responsibility to improve the system for everyone.

The SCSN will be writing to both the Prime Minister and the Scottish First Minister to express our concerns around these proposals.