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Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 12:29 GMT


UK Politics

Tories promise hardline crime package

William Hague promised to take the fight against crime to the government

The Conservatives have unveiled a new hardline law and order package and promised to launch an attack on Labour following the Queen's Speech for its failure to tackle crime.

Policy proposals in the Tory package include an extension of the "three strikes and you're out" policy for people who commit anti-social offences such as vandalism and theft, the re-introduction of a full working day in prisons and a 10-fold increase in the number of places for young offenders in secure training centres.

Shadow home secretary Ann Widdecombe revealed that the Tories were also "actively considering" backing a mandatory life sentence for those twice convicted of selling hard drugs to children.

"I'm fairly confident we shall be announcing that in the very near future," she said.

'Thinner blue line'

Launching the document, Tory leader William Hague said violent crime and anti-social behaviour had gone up under Labour, while police numbers have been cut by more than 1,000.

"Today we say enough is enough. No more hollow promises, fiddled figures and empty rhetoric," he said. "Labour have done nothing to make the lives of thousands of people in this country any better - under Labour the thin blue line is getting thinner."

He added: "If the Queen's Speech is going to be anything like advertised, then their failure to deal with crime will be a major part of our attack."

The Queen's Speech on Wednesday will outline the government's legislative programme for the year ahead.

The Tory package also calls for a new criminal offence of violence against a public servant, all crime victims to be allocated a named police officer who can keep them up to date with their case, and "honesty in sentencing" with no automatic release from jail on licence for offenders.

Miss Widdecombe said: "We will also be looking at the way in which this country is policed, looking at ways at which the police can be allowed to get on with their number one task of fighting crime and the problems which police and residents face in tackling crime in rural areas.

"These proposals are common sense. They will aid the fight against crime and make sure that we live in a more secure society."



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