Crime & Justice

Policing a pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic represents the biggest challenge to UK police since the Second World War, according to Richard Walton, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former Head of Counter-Terrorism Command at the Metropolitan Police. The paper – Policing a pandemic, part of a new series from Policy Exchange examining the policy impact of the coronavirus pandemic – recognises that, in the words of the Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty, the response of the British public to disasters and emergencies tends to be “extraordinary outbreaks of altruism”. It also notes that some aspects of criminal behaviour are very likely to decrease during periods of social distancing, for example alcohol-related disorderly behaviour, including violence that can occur in and around bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants, reducing police demand for emergency response calls. But the paper warns of a minority who will exploit the pandemic for criminal purposes and sets out new challenges that are likely to be faced by the police.

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The Law of the Constitution before the Court

The Supreme Court’s prorogation judgment, Miller/Cherry, was contrary to the settled law of the constitution. This paper, which complements and completes an earlier critique, refutes attempts to deny the judgment’s revolutionary character, attempts that cannot be squared with key facts about prorogation in the run-up to the Bill of Rights 1689, with Erskine May’s Law and Practice of Parliamentary, and with the primary 20th century textbook on the law of the constitution. The paper details the factual misjudgements and injustices at the heart of the Supreme Court’s judgment, and confirms the wisdom of the law of non-justiciability that the judgment casts aside.

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Justice that protects

Prisons exist to keep the public safe yet in recent years the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service has shown that they are not capable of properly managing the most dangerous offenders. This paper, by Richard Walton – a former Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command – argues that it is time for the Home Secretary, and the Home Office, to supervise prisons as they did until 2007. The Ministry of Justice as it is currently configured should be abolished, with a new Lord Chancellor’s Department replacing it to work solely on courts and justice policy, at the same time enshrining in law and practice the independence of the judiciary.

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Protest, Parliament and the rule of law

With the rhetoric inside the House of Commons ratcheted up to fever pitch this week, it is hardly surprising that protest outside Parliament became equally as chaotic and disruptive.

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Prisoner reading

One small step for prison reform

Prisons must be safe before rehabilitation can take place – Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Strategy looks at the Justice Secretary’s latest place for prison reform.

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Lady Justice

European Court of Human Rights is undermining democracy

In a major new study for Policy Exchange, Sir Noel Malcolm, leading historian of ideas and Senior Adviser on Human Rights to Policy Exchange, argues that democracy is being eroded by an ever-expanding system of human rights law and condemns the encroachment of the...
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Latest Crime & Justice Publications

Policing a pandemic

Policing a pandemic

and

The Coronavirus pandemic represents the biggest challenge to UK police since the Second World War, according to Richard Walton, Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former Head of Counter-Terrorism Command at the Metropolitan Police. The paper – Policing a pandemic, part of a new series from Policy Exchange examining the policy impact of the coronavirus pandemic – recognises that, in the words of the Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty, the response of the British public to disasters and emergencies tends to be “extraordinary outbreaks of altruism”. It also notes that some aspects of criminal behaviour are very likely to decrease during periods of social distancing, for example alcohol-related disorderly behaviour, including violence that can occur in and around bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants, reducing police demand for emergency response calls. But the paper warns of a minority who will exploit the pandemic for criminal purposes and sets out new challenges that are likely to be faced by the police.

The Law of the Constitution before the Court

The Law of the Constitution before the Court

The Supreme Court’s prorogation judgment, Miller/Cherry, was contrary to the settled law of the constitution. This paper, which complements and completes an earlier critique, refutes attempts to deny the judgment’s revolutionary character, attempts that cannot be squared with key facts about prorogation in the run-up to the Bill of Rights 1689, with Erskine May’s Law and Practice of Parliamentary, and with the primary 20th century textbook on the law of the constitution. The paper details the factual misjudgements and injustices at the heart of the Supreme Court’s judgment, and confirms the wisdom of the law of non-justiciability that the judgment casts aside.

Justice that protects

Justice that protects

Prisons exist to keep the public safe yet in recent years the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service has shown that they are not capable of properly managing the most dangerous offenders. This paper, by Richard Walton – a former Head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command – argues that it is time for the Home Secretary, and the Home Office, to supervise prisons as they did until 2007. The Ministry of Justice as it is currently configured should be abolished, with a new Lord Chancellor’s Department replacing it to work solely on courts and justice policy, at the same time enshrining in law and practice the independence of the judiciary.

Latest Crime & Justice Blogs

One small step for prison reform

One small step for prison reform

Prisons must be safe before rehabilitation can take place – Policy Exchange’s Director of Research and Strategy looks at the Justice Secretary’s latest place for prison reform.

Special Briefing on the Worboys Case

Special Briefing on the Worboys Case

Why are elected ministers are powerless in the face of the release of a serious offender? Policy Exchange’s Director of Research Rupert Oldham-Reid explores how politicians and the judiciary have transferred power (and hard decisions) from elected representatives to unelected officials.

Gunnar Beck: Beware of Germany’s proposal for a new EU-UK transnational court

Gunnar Beck: Beware of Germany’s proposal for a new EU-UK transnational court

Dr Gunnar Beck — a Visiting Scholar at Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project — responds to German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel’s apparent signal that the EU might be willing to ‘relax some of its more extravagant demands’ in the Brexit negotiations. Beck concludes that while Gabriel’s proposal for a transnational EU-UK court is a ‘promising starting point for the negotiations’, the UK ‘needs assurance that its future legal relationship with the EU [will be] governed by the greatest possible legal certainty and overseen by a court which ensures that words mean what they say and not simply whatever it may be that best suits the European Union’.

Latest Crime & Justice News

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot talks to BBC Radio Wiltshire about Police Commissioners

Policy Exchange’s Warwick Lightfoot talks to BBC Radio Wiltshire about Police Commissioners

Warwick Lightfoot – Policy Exchange Director of Research & Head of Economics and Social Policy – spoke to BBC Radio Wiltshire about Police and Crime Commissioners. Although first elected in 2012, the idea to create the posts was in fact proposed by Policy Exchange in our very first report, ‘Going local: Who should run Britain’s police?’, published nine years earlier in 2003.

Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project responds to Government paper on European Court of Justice post-Brexit

Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project responds to Government paper on European Court of Justice post-Brexit

Policy Exchange's Judicial Power Project responded to the paper released by the Government on leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice after Brexit. Visiting Fellow Dr Gunnar Beck writes in The Telegraph and Professor Richard Ekins, head of the Judicial Power Project, writes in The Spectator, while Senior Fellow Christopher Forsyth writes for CapX and Richard and Gunnar for ConservativeHome.

Latest Crime & Justice Events


  • Monday, 11 March, 2019
    18:00 - 19:30

The problem of jihadi brides and ISIL fighters has made discussions about reform of the law of treason a matter of high public importance. Policy Exchange is proud to have led the public conversation about this issue, beginning with publication in July 2018 of a major cross-party report on modernisation of the law.


  • Monday, 26 February, 2018
    18:00 - 19:30

The acute threat we face from terrorism will only be tackled when the whole of society understands and responds to the chronic threat from extremism, says Mark Rowley in his keynote valedictory address as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for Specialist Operations and National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing delivered at Policy Exchange.


  • Thursday, 1 February, 2018
    18:00 - 19:30

In his new study for Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, Sir Noel Malcolm considers European Human Rights law and finds it wanting. This event addresed Sir Noel’s critique of European Human Rights law – and his robust conclusion that the UK ought to withdraw from the Convention. Above all it examined his new approach to the nature of human rights and the place they ought to have in our constitution.

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