The new Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill reforms sentencing to include whole-life orders for child killers; new powers to halt the automatic early release of offenders who pose a danger to the public and ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced for serious violent and sexual offences.
The Bill promises to extend the law of trespass to give greater powers to remove illegal encampments that often disrupt town and country life and to increase the maximum penalty for criminal damage of a memorial from 3 months to 10 years.
I am pleased to see that the Bill promotes policies that will better target underlying causes of crime such as mental health issues, alcohol or drug addiction.
Locally, I have been working with our outstanding Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Bedfordshire, Kathryn Holloway, as she has seen through her commitment to ensure our force focuses on our rural communities and not just Luton.
Kathryn introduced a dedicated rural crime team to tackle law breaking in the more remote areas of the county with the aid of drone technology to help patrol rural areas.
Recently, the Conservative PCC was successful in her bid to gain bespoke funding from the Home Office, winning over £2m to target the criminal masterminds behind Organised Crime Groups across the county who trade in drugs, weapons and people which was fantastic news as Bedfordshire suffers unduly from the activities of the hateful groups.
This latest funding takes the total funds in special grants won for Bedfordshire Police to £17.5m over the last three years and as she reaches the end of her term, I thank her for her efforts to bring more cash to fight serious crime.
This builds on the government’s commitment to increase police officers - Bedfordshire Police has already welcomed an additional 54 officers since last year with recruiting continuing.
By backing our police with the funding, powers and resources they need, this Conservative government is keeping the public and all our communities safe.
As the current PCC term comes to an end, we will all have a chance to build on local and national efforts and elect a new Police and Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire in elections on Thursday 6th May. I encourage you to exercise your vote.