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Assess the extent to which there has been a consensus between the major parties over

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Aman Thakar Assess the extent to which there has been a consensus between the major parties over Law and Order since 1990 Since 1990 there have been 3 stages of Law and Order policy. Care of the community until 1993 and then back to basics law enforcement lasting until Labour came into power. During the early 90's there was a lack of stability within Law and Order policy and until Labour's government in 1997 there was little consensus between the main parties. Through the third stage of Law and Order since the 1990's, tough on crime, tough on the cause of crime, stability has been brought to this issue with an ever-growing realisation by the main parties that a tough Law and Order agenda is a real vote winner. To a large extent there is now a consensus between the main parties over law and order. Since Blair coming into power and the emergence of new labour with there attitude of "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime", there has been an era of consensus, particularly between the Labour party and the Conservatives. In the aftermath of the appointment of Michael Howard Back to basics law enforcement was drafted in with a great demand from the public for a tougher stance over the issue of Law and Order due to the continual rise in crime rates under the softer approach advocated by care of the community. ...read more.


In regard to prisons Labour have also been brought around to supporting privatised prisons through the Private Finance Initiative. Greater testing and controls were also introduced for criminals with schemes such as the sex offender's list being started. In line with tightening rules over bail electronic tagging was introduced in an attempt to keep tabs on criminals tightening probation controls. But this was not an overly active area as it was during Conservative rule with Labour hoping that more effective policing would deal with this. The rights possessed by criminals also continued to diminish under Labour. Under the Tories the right to silence had already been removed. This trend continued in the Mode of Trial Bill, it removed the right to trial by jury for many medium level offences since they were less likely to convict then the Magistrate. Along with this Double Jeopardy was also introduced allowing a defendant to be tried for the same offence twice as long as new evidence was found removing one of the ancient rights within UK law. Finally DNA records were allowed to be kept on file on anyone who had been a criminal suspect, Michael Howard's call to "take the handcuffs of the police was being answered". The infringement on human rights can also be seen, as being carried through from Howard's term in the Terrorism Acts passed, particularly with the ever-increasing lengths of custody without charge now reaching 28 days. ...read more.


They agree with Labours more police scheme but wish to radically extend it by adding 10,000 polices officers. Their prison policy is also different believing prisoners should be subject to a tough working day with a focus on education and training in order to rehabilitate, the idea to include this over deciding release dates is also a wide step away from Labour or Conservative policies. The focus on community service as punishment for crime is also a far cry to the tough line policies of the Conservative and Labour governments. They are in line with a policy to increase police powers though with a proposed border force to combat terrorism. Overall between the Conservatives and Labour there is a consensus over Law and Order, the main difference is over emphasis. Whereas the Conservatives focus on tackling the issue, Labour also look more closely at the causes of crime. Both parties have realised a tough Law and Order agenda is necessary in order to win votes though as seen in the 1997 elections where Labours manifesto put forward measures at least as harsh as those proposed by Howard. The main alternative to this hard line policy comes in the Liberal Democrats with there focus on more police on the beat watching society making sure people are safe and there focus on rehabilitation. This ideal of rehabilitation is fairly weak within Labour and Conservative policies and it is within the third party that the real break in the consensus comes. ...read more.

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