Crime sentences are ‘far too low’ says Kent police commissioner

Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott and Chief Constable of Kent Alan Pughsley

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Tougher sentences should be introduced for criminals across the county, says Kent’s police and crime commissioner.

Calls were made to increase the length of convictions for lawbreakers during a virtual meeting of the Kent and Medway police and crime panel yesterday (December 8).

PCC Matthew Scott said: “I think the sentences judges give out are far too low in many circumstances.

“That impacts on victim confidence and it does not give prisons the opportunity to work with those offenders long enough to help rehabilitate.”

Tonbridge and Malling Cllr Mark Rhodes (Con), who is a member of the panel, has lobbied for a national review of crime sentencing after claiming that some residents believe punishments are “far too light”.

The panel was told that Parliament legislation states that prison sentences for Covid spitting attacks can last up to 24 months.

In the meeting, Mr Scott said criminals who cough and spit on emergency service staff were “scumbags” whose actions could be life-threatening for the police and NHS staff.

New measures came into force this week which saw the maximum penalty for animal cruelty, such as animal fighting, increase to up to five years in prison. The previous toughest sentence was 12 months in jail.

Cllr Rhodes, Tonbridge council’s cabinet member for community services, has called for a government review. He added: “Life sentences should mean life.  Shoplifting punishments appear derisory.

“In fact the whole spectrum of sentencing in my view needs reviewing, taking into account the public’s desire to see the punishment fit the crime.”

He urged Mr Scott to take the issue up with England’s 40 other police and crime commissioners. This comes three months after Mr Scott said he would be seeking greater powers from Whitehall in the criminal justice arena,

Concluding, Mr Scott said: “I would very much support crime sentencing to be reviewed so life does mean life and people are going to prison for a decent amount of time that reflects the seriousness of the crime that they do commit.

“At the same time they must get the education to turn their lives around in prison because otherwise it will be four years in, no rehabilitation in place, then they will commit more crime.”


    • Barry you are failing to see the subtlety of the cunning plan

      On the face of it Kent Police appear treacherous, inept and corrupt.

      But all the unsolved crimes are in a cold case queue When available sentences are more to Matthew’s liking then plan B a torrent of cold case review prosecutions!

  1. Short prison sentences are the biggest cause of crime. The criminals look at it as an occupational hazard. Judges should be held to account for failing to act responsible in public office and sacked. Judges seem to think there are a special breed they need to be brought to task for their incompetence.

    • True… I’m one of the Public Screamers!
      There far too many idiots and chance takers out there who get caught, and after a lot of Police time, these get let off very lightly…
      Sinful waste of time and oxygen.
      There is also a big demand for Lunatic asylums to be put in to operation.

  2. Same old red top appealing & vote winning nonsense-tough on crime. Yet locking people up all day & then releasing them has been shown not to be effective, unless you turn their thought processes around.

    Unsurprisingly locking people up in crowded prisons, rife with drug abuse, where they run the gamut of violence & sexual assaults, some of which they still have to slop out & most have been declared by the inspector of prisons as hopelessly outdated & not fit for purpose don’t tend to become law abiding citizens-if you treat people like animals then shockingly they tend to behave as such.

    Even if you think this approach that has failed decade after decade is the way things should be the other problem is capacity-in recent times the government policy has been to shy away from custodial sentences for many crimes due to the lack of jail space-simply you cannot arrest & convict your way out of a problem, just as we have seen with the drugs issue.

  3. Councillor Rhodes believes life should mean life. Well seeing as ‘life’ as in locking somebody up forever is actually a whole life tariff which is very rare in this country & reserved for the very worst offenders-Bray & Hindley, Rose West, our very own Peter Tobin etc.

    If we go by what this person wants then the jails would simply be overrun & nobody convicted of it would ever be given a second chance-including a juvenile who may have made one stupid error as a 16 year old or been with the wrong people at the wrong time-not involved in a murder for instance, but convicted under the highly flawed & criticised joint enterprise law. Still bet it goes down well with the disgusted of Tonbridge when they hear about it over their cornflakes & pledge their vote to Tory Boy.

  4. The reason I never drove when I was drunk or committed any crime, was because I was told as a child what was right and what is wrong and what is not theirs is not mine. Plus I would never give the police the pleasure of catching me.

  5. The Tory Party regularly claim to support longer sentences and get the credit for being “tough on crime” and then get the votes as well.
    In fact, once in power, the “longer sentences ” brigade of the Tory Party come up head-on against the “we have to cut public spending brigade ” of the same Party.
    Out of this clash emerged Community Service Orders, introduced by the Heath Tory government in 1974 as a “direct alternative” to custody.
    Successive Tory governments talk tough, but then blanche at the cost of all the new prisons they would have to build.
    I recall the tattered old Oxford Prison being kept open past its sell-by date, then closed and emptied, then re opened, and , now, I think, finally closed.

    The only real prison-sentence-lengthening scheme that has actually been introduced by a recent government was brought in by Tony Blair, the leader of the “soft on crime” Labour Party!
    They introduced Imprisonment for Public Protection. This stated that if someone came before a judge for sentence for a violent crime, and already had three similar convictions before, they would automatically be sent down for LIFE unless they could establish a good case that they could be released after a period of years set by the Judge.
    There you are! Real toughening up of sentences with the criminal having to work hard if he ever wanted to see the outside ever again.

    The Tories abolished it once they got back into power!! Hundreds were released without having to prove that they were no longer a risk.
    Why? The cost of keeping them in for years and years with no way for them to prove their good intentions. The “cut public spending” wing of the Tories had triumphed again.
    Next time the Tories want your vote for “longer sentences”, remember, they don’t mean it. They just want your vote.

  6. I stopped watching police reality programmes on the TV long ago, because after apprehending criminals after a long investigation, costing millions, or after a long vehicle chase, the offenders are often let off with a smack on the wrist!

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