1. ITV Report

No more 'hug a hoodie' as David Cameron toughens crime policy

David Cameron in Manchester in 2007 as Ryan Florence, 17, makes a gun gesture behind him Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

David Cameron will today announce a "rehabilitation revolution" under which virtually all prisoners will receive help turning their lives around and breaking the cycle of reoffending.

As part of what the Prime Minister will call a "tough but intelligent" approach to criminal justice, there will be a major extension of payment-by-results for companies, charities and voluntary groups who help offenders escape a life of crime.

Currently only those who are jailed for more than a year are given rehabilitation.

Mr Cameron will say he wants to see all but a small number of high-risk prisoners receive support by the end of 2015.

While placing a greater emphasis on rehabilitation, the Prime Minister will seek to reassure supporters of tougher sentencing - including many on the right of his party - that he is not turning "soft or liberal" on law and order.

Cameron 'will get tough on crime' Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

In a major speech, designed to recapture the political agenda after weeks of difficulties for the Government, he will stress that he never in fact uttered the phrase "hug a hoodie" despite it becoming a defining motif of his leadership.

Serious crimes must be met with long prison sentences, he will say, adding: "Retribution is not a dirty word. It is important to society that revulsion against crime is properly recognised."

But he will argue that "just being tough isn't a successful strategy in itself", and prisoners who cannot read, are addicted to drugs or have never worked a day in their life, need help so that they can lead productive lives.

Recognising this isn't soft or liberal, it's common sense.

We'll never create a safer society unless we give people, especially young people, opportunities and chances away from crime.

Prevention is the cheapest and most effective way to deal with crime - everything else is simply picking up the pieces of failure that has gone before.

– David Cameron
Offenders will be given a chance to reform under the new proposals

He will say that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, appointed to replace Ken Clarke in last month's reshuffle, is leading a mission to see more offenders properly punished but fewer returning to prison.

To achieve that, we're saying to charities, companies and voluntary organisations - come and help us rehabilitate our prisoners.

Give offenders new skills. Educate them. If they've been in a gang, send a reformed gang member to meet them at the prison gates and take them under their wing. If they're on drugs, try the latest techniques to get them clean.

Do whatever it takes to get these people back living decent, productive lives. We will pay you for that, but - and it's is a major 'but' - once again the payments will depend on results.

We're going to pay people by the lives they turn around.

– David Cameron

Mr Cameron will say that by the end of 2015 he wants payment by results extended across rehabilitation so that it becomes "the norm rather than the exception".

Mr Cameron will say he wants to get away from the "sterile" debate that has become polarised between alternatives like "lock 'em up or let 'em out" and "blame the criminal or blame society".

We're so busy going backwards and forwards we never move the debate on," he will say.

What I have been trying to do - in opposition and now in government - is break out of this sterile debate and show a new way forward: tough but intelligent.

It's not a case of 'prison works' or 'prison doesn't work' - we need to make prison work.

And once people are on the outside, let's stick with them, let's give them proper support, because it's not outer space we are releasing these people into, it's our streets, our towns, among our families and our children.

– David Cameron
Home Secretary Theresa May Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday announced a crackdown on gun-runners with a new criminal offence of possessing firearms with intent to supply.

The offence will carry a life sentence, up from 10 years for blackmarket smugglers at present.

She is concerned about criminals who provide gangs with weapons to hire. As a result, relatively few weapons are being used in numerous different incidents.

Mrs May said the middle men were as responsible for gun crime as those that actually used the weapons, and so should face the consequences. The move will require legislation.

If you look at organised crime, gangs, one of the issues is we know there are middle men who have firearms that they then rent out to criminals who then use them.

There isn't at the moment an offence for somebody to possess a firearm with the intent to supply it to somebody else. I think that it is right that we introduce that offence, because those people who are supplying the firearms are as guilty as the people using them when it comes to the impact.

– Theresa May
Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive

Labour accused the Prime Minister of "empty rhetoric" designed to keep Tory MPs on-side.

There is nothing intelligent or tough about cutting frontline police officers, reducing the power of judges to give tough sentences or cutting support for innocent victims of crime.

This is nothing more than a smokescreen to try and cover up Andrew Mitchell losing his job on Friday and 29 wasted months of dithering on law and order. This out of touch Government must think the public are stupid - it's these kind of actions that makes the public so cynical about politicians.

Rehashed announcements, rushed legislation and ill-thought out and evidence-free policies risk undermining public confidence in our criminal justice system.

– Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan

Mr Cameron's speech follows a difficult period for the coalition Government, which has been largely engulfed in recent weeks by the row over Andrew Mitchell's foul-mouthed confrontation with Downing Street police officers.

He finally quit on Friday night, which was damaging for the Prime Minister after weeks of trying to shore up his chief whip.

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