“I want offenders to feel terror” – new Home Secretary declares

Priti Patel has said she wants criminals to “feel terror” at the thought of offending, as she distanced herself from her comments in support of the death penalty.

In her first interview as Home Secretary, she pledged to get a grip on violent crime after Boris Johnson committed to recruiting 20,000 more police officers.

“I’ve always felt the Conservative Party is the party of the police and police officers,” she told the Daily Mail.

“Quite frankly, with more police officers out there and greater police presence, I want (criminals) to literally feel terror at the thought of committing offences.”

Ms Patel previously said in 2006 she was in favour of the “ultimate punishment” for the worst of crimes, and supported the death penalty during a Question Time debate on the subject in 2011.

Asked about the death penalty, she told the Mail: “I have never said I’m an active supporter of it and (what I said) is constantly taken out of context.”

Her comments on the BBC show were: “I do actually think when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in this country and where we have seen murderers, rapists and people who have committed the most abhorrent crimes in society, go into prison and then are released from prison to go out into the community to then re-offend and do the types of crime they have committed again and again.

“I think that’s appalling. And actually on that basis alone I would actually support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent.”

Ms Patel was one of the greatest beneficiaries of Mr Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle after he became Prime Minister.

She was elevated from the backbenches having been sacked as Secretary of State for International Development by Theresa May in 2017 for holding secret meetings with members of the Israeli government.

Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook, the definitive 1,600-page annual guide to the prison system of England and Wales, writes:

First of all offenders are the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, not the Home Secretary; this isn’t her brief.

Secondly the very reason why so many young people carry knives and guns is precisely because they already feel terror – terror at the thought that if they do not have one their life is on the line – and the staggering number of deaths on our streets proves they are right.

Thirdly, she needs to understand that policing is not simply a numerical issue – you can have 200,000 extra police on the streets and still not make a difference – indeed if you deploy them in a way that does not have the consent of the communities they police, then the danger is you will make things worse not better.

Finally, it is clear that Ms Patel has little understanding of the real issues surrounding crime. Offenders are far more terrified of gangs on the streets who can kill them, than they ever are of the police who, at worst, can only arrest them; it is deeply concerning that, as Home Secretary, she obviously just doesn’t get it.

 ‘TAILORED PLAN’ FOR TERROR SUSPECTS

Police and MI5 will put “tailored plans” in place to manage the risks posed by terror suspects when existing supervision measures expire later this month, the Home Office has insisted
The orders have a two-year time limit and the Daily Telegraph reported that restrictions are due to be lifted on seven suspects, who would be granted lifetime anonymity to protect their human rights.
Terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims), which include restrictions on overnight residence, travel and finance, are imposed by the Home Secretary, who is given access to secret evidence that cannot be placed before juries.
Unlike the control order regime they replaced they have a maximum time limit of two years. Control orders could be extended year on year without limit, while Tpims can be extended only after a year for another 12 months before they expire.
By January 26 the controls on seven of the eight people subject to Tpims will have expired because of the time limit, which can be extended only if new evidence of terror activity is found, the newspaper reported.
Last year David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said the Tpims on six suspects would expire this month.
The Home Office said as of November 30 last year eight Tpim notices were in force but they would not provide a “running commentary” on the issue or comment on individual cases, and the next official statistics on the regime would be published in March.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “The police and Security Service believe Tpims have been effective in reducing the national security risk posed by a number of individuals. However, they are just one weapon in the considerable armoury at their disposal and are imposed as part of a package of measures designed to disrupt a person’s activities.
“It is not possible to discuss individual cases, but the police and Security Service have been working for some time to put tailored plans in place to manage the risk posed by these individuals once their Tpim restrictions are removed. These plans, which are similar to those put in place for the release of prisoners who have served their sentences, are kept under constant review.”
But shadow crime and security minister Diana Johnson told the newspaper: “The Government needs to explain what the plan is to deal with the extremist terror suspects whose Tpims run out at the end of January because of Theresa May’s decision to downgrade terror laws.
“These are suspects that only this year the Home Secretary was arguing were too dangerous to be left uncontrolled and that was agreed to by judges.
“We need an urgent independent threat assessment of whether Tpims on any of the January suspects needs to be extended. If Theresa May won’t do this, the Prime Minister needs to instead.”
Keith Vaz, Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, added: “It would be odd to have a situation where anonymity remains in place even though these orders have expired.”It would be sensible to have a review of this situation.”
Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti said: “The nonsense of these ‘anti-terror asbos’ is once more exposed. Innocent people can be punished for long periods without charge or trial, whilst dangerous ones live in the community and not behind bars.
“This sloppy law, in which all the main parties have been complicit, serves neither justice nor security and should now be scrapped once and for all.”