Justice

Crime increased by 10% last year – the greatest increase in 10 years

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   New figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics reveal that crime in England and Wales increased by 10% in the year to March 2017 – the greatest annual rise in crimes for a decade. Police officers recorded almost 5 million offences, with violent crime and theft up 18% and 7% respectively. Since 2014, the ‘size of year-on-year increases has grown each year’, according to the ONS, ‘with police recorded crime increasing by 3% in the year ending March 2015, by 8% in the year ending March 2016, and by 10% in the latest year.’ The stats revealed a 39% spike in public order offences, which cover a range of crimes including ‘causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress’. This followed a 28% rise last year. Sexual offences increased 14% to the highest level recorded since 2002, alongside a 16% increase in …

Proof magazine launch: ‘The LASPO review that the government shamefully failed to do’

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   Access to justice campaigners yesterday called on the government to start an immediate review of the 2013 legal aid cuts at a meeting of the House of Commons. Speaking at the launch of the third issue of Proof magazine, Matt Foot, co-founder of the Justice Alliance, said that for four years the group had been calling on the government to conduct a proper review. ‘They won’t do it so we’ve done it for them. Proof magazine is the review that the Government has shamefully failed to do,’ he told the audience. A panel of speakers at yesterday’s launch, chaired by Ruth Hayes from Unite the Union and director of Islington Law Centre, joined calls for the promised LASPO review. ‘Legal aid should be viewed as one of the four pillars of the welfare state,’ said shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon MP. …

Freedom – or Freefall?

This piece was originally published as a blog post by René Cassin.   Imagine that everything is taken away from you. Forget your job. Forget your income, too. You have no home and no family you know how to contact. Imagine that you have 45 days to rebuild. And the clock is ticking. For former slaves, this isn’t merely a thought experiment. Last year, over 3,800 people went through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for victims of modern slavery. The government offered each of them just over six weeks of support in a safe house before cutting them loose. This is the cruel reality of the UK’s current modern slavery strategy. During those 45 days of what the government calls ‘reflection and recovery’, a victim’s first task is to prove that they are indeed a victim of slavery or human trafficking. If they can’t or don’t, the clock ticks faster: they have …