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Modernising prisons, more police officers on the beat, policies to recruit and retain prison and probation staff are among the pledges outlined in the party manifestos ahead of the 2017 General Election. However, following the Manchester terrorist attack of May 22, the focus has also shifted towards counter terrorism. In the first part of our focus on what the parties plan for criminal justice, prisons and policing, we look at the manifestos from the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.


With £1bn earmarked to modernise the prison estate, proposals such as building new prisons will continue if the Conservatives are re-elected but there are also plans to reform the entry requirements, training and management of prison staff. There will be a new commission to counter terrorism, and the creation of a “national infrastructure police force”, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police while the Serious Fraud Office will be incorporated into the National Crime Agency. There is planned legislation to make changes in police practices if stop and search does not become more targeted, and also if progress is not made to reduce the disproportionate use of force against black, Asian and ethnic minority people in prison, young offender institutions and secure mental health units.


 Labour says it will recruit 10,000 more police officers to work on community beats - equivalent to one for every neighbourhood in the country - 1,000 more security and intelligence agency staff and 500 more border guards if Labour wins the general election.
It will ensure appropriate support is provided to the victims of crime. Labour will appoint a commissioner to set new standards for tackling domestic and sexual violence, establish a National Refuge Fund and ensure stability for rape crisis centres, and will continue to enforce effective measures to prevent all forms of abuse including female genital mutilation (FGM). It will review the judicial appointments process to ensure a judiciary that is more representative of society and re-establish early advice entitlements in the Family Courts and review the legal aid means test. Labour has pledged to publish annual reports on prisoner-staff ratios with a view to maintaining safety and ending overcrowding and will recruit 3,000 more prison officers, and then lift the public sector pay cap to increase the recruitment and retention of prison officers and probation officers. The party will insist on personal rehabilitation plans for all prisoners and review the provision of mental health services in prisons. There will be no new private prisons, and no public sector prisons will be privatised. In addition, Labour will review the role of Community Rehabilitation Companies

Liberal Democrat

 Changes to drug legislation forms a core part of the Lib Dems election proposals with a plan to bring in a legal, regulated market for cannabis, introduce limits on potency, permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to over-18s and end imprisonment for possession of illegal drugs for personal use. There will be £300m for community policing in England and Wales, a requirement for all front-line officers to wear body cameras on duty and moves to replace police and crime commissioners with police boards made up of local councillors.

Look out for part two summarising the manifestos of Plaid Cymru, The Green Party, UKIP and The SNP. 
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