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Has the Labour Government Since 1997 Been "Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime?"

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Introduction

Has the Labour Government Since 1997 Been "Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime?" The Labour government was swept to power in 1997 on a wave of policy slogans that captured the imagination of the British electorate. Amongst their most impressive policies was the promise to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime." This was an interesting slogan for the time, taking the right-wing, traditionally Conservative policy of punishment for the perpetrators of crime ("tough on crime"), and combining it with the more left wing view that crime could be stopped by educating and reconditioning the potential (and actual) criminals ("tough on the causes of crime"). This combination of policies gave the party a wide appeal and aided their campaign greatly, but to what extent has this mixture of viewpoints actually been successful in the 7 years since of Labour's office? This essay will look at the Labour government's implementation of such an ambitious policy, and whether they have stayed true to their word or in fact veered more towards the left or right wing perspective on crime. ...read more.

Middle

They are also investing in rehabilitation for drug addicts and organising the intensive supervision of young offenders. From the official point of view, Labour appear to be sticking to their manifesto pledge, but the question is, in practical terms, how much impact have their policies really had? The Labour government has spent a lot of time reforming the Youth justice system, most notably with the 1999 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act. This act has introduced tough measures, including child curfews enforceable by tagging. Welfare groups such as the National Children's Bureau and the Howard League for Penal Reform have claimed that this may have the undesired effect of alienating young people from figures of authority however. Along with these tough measures though, Labour have also introduced policies to tackle the causes of youth crime by introducing parenting orders and, with the establishment of a social exclusion unit in the Home Office, bring together social services and the police to improve urban areas and the opportunities for people within them, and therefore lessen the risk of crime. ...read more.

Conclusion

Under the Labour government, there has been a drop in crime rates, however, there has been a rise in violent crime, showing that it is generally only smaller crimes are being prevented by Labour's policies. The time under a Labour administration so far has also seen a general rise in the prison population and tougher penalties for some crimes, showing a more right wing leaning in their policy. Overall, the Labour government since 1997 have tried hard to implement both policies that are tough on crime AND its causes. This would appear to have had some success by the drop in crime rates. However, by trying to adopt both the right wing and the left wing stance on crime, it could be argued that the government has been trying to stretch itself too far and therefore its policies have had very little actual impact and have at times been contradictory. In conclusion, the government have been tough on crime and the causes of crime to an extent, but this has been marred by the difficulties of implementing such an overarching policy, as well as the problem that every government faces in that it can never completely eradicate crime. Carrie Raynham Government and Politics A2 - Marilyn 08/05/2007 ...read more.

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