Rishi Sunak vows to increase prison capacity in crime crackdown bid

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak has said that his government will lock more people up in prison as it seeks to crack down on crime.

“Well I want to reduce crime, right. And that means I want to make sure we can catch criminals,” he told reporters, arguing the “logical consequence” of that would be a spike in the numbers in jail.

That is “why we’re building 10,000 more prison places over the next few years… to make sure we have prison capacity for that,” he added.

The prime minister said he came to the issue of crime “as a parent” whose oldest daughter had recently reached the age where she could start walking to school alone.

“I want to make sure my kids and everyone else’s can walk around safely,” he said.

He said that his family had moved out of Downing Street, when he was chancellor, so that she could start walking to primary school when she turned 11.

“That brings it home to you as a parent over the summer. The awful things that we read about with the young girl Olivia, which we’ll all remember.”

Olivia Pratt-Korbel, 9, was fatally shot in the chest at her home in Dovecot, Liverpool, on August 22. Credit: PA

Mr Sunak argued that some crime numbers - on robbery and burglary - were coming down, and said he believed in his party’s manifesto commitment to putting 20,000 more police officers on the streets.

Mr Sunak said 15,000 had already been deployed.

“That is obviously an important way to combat crime - and we also want to make sure that police officers have the powers to do their job. And that’s something I’m spending a bit of time on.”

He pointed to the public order bill, which gives police more powers to stop people protesting. “I’m very supportive of [that],” he added.

The PM said he viewed cutting crime as part of levelling up.

“It’s often people who are in parts of the country that may feel that they’ve been looked over in the past, or that are from more disadvantaged backgrounds that crime impacts the most. I want to deliver for those people.”

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