Crime & Justice

Supreme Court Reform

In the wake of our August paper, Reforming the Supreme Court, Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project is pleased to publish a new symposium on Supreme Court reform, in which distinguished legal commentators engage with the question of how and by whom appellate authority should be exercised.

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Online Harms Bill reflects Policy Exchange proposals

A new Online Harms Bill, unveiled this week, includes measures that will force social media companies to delete harmful content or face fines of up to 10 per cent of their turnover and adopt a new code of conduct to protect children on the internet. The legislation builds on recommendations made in Policy Exchange’s 2017 report, The New Netwar, which called for ministers to “put in place a system of financial penalties, administered by the independent regulator, to force company compliance” and urged the adoption of a “more stringent codes of conduct”.

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Daylight Robbery

Research by Policy Exchange finds that fraud and error during the COVID-19 crisis will cost the UK Government in the region of £4.6 billion. The lower bound for the cost of fraud in this crisis is £1.3 billion and the upper bound is £7.9 billion, in light of total projected expenditure of £154.3 billion by the Government (excluding additional expenditure announced in the 8th July 2020 Economic Update). The true value may be closer to the upper bound, due to the higher than usual levels of fraud that normally accompany disaster management.

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Exiting Lockdown

The UK Government should extend its Five Pillar Testing Strategy to a Six Pillar Testing and Tracing Strategy by introducing digital contact tracing as a Sixth Pillar. A Testing and Tracing Strategy should bring together expertise from the Department of Health, NHSX, NHS Digital, Police, Military and the Intelligence Agencies, to create a new independent national 24/7 Testing and Tracing Command Centre.

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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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Labour is unlikely to scrap PCCs, so here’s how it can reform them

Labour is unlikely to scrap PCCs, so here’s how it can reform them

Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice Max Chambers examines Labour’s likely forthcoming policy announcements in the area of policing and argues that the party needs to address its position on PCCs. Max argues that the smart money is on PCCs remaining in place – should Labour seek to scrap PCCs, they would need to make it their first priority in office and pass emergency legislation in Parliament.

Should thieves and fraudsters be spared prison terms?

Should thieves and fraudsters be spared prison terms?

Following the Howard League for Penal Reform’s recommendation that thieves and fraudsters should not serve prison terms, Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime and Justice, Max Chambers, argues that property crimes are already treated very leniently by the criminal justice system. Instead of banning prison sentences to reduce the prison population, the focus should be on preventing crime and reducing reoffending.

Could the riots happen again?

Could the riots happen again?

Two years on from the 2011 riots, Max Chambers, Policy Exchange’s Head of Crime & Justice, examines the cognitive dimension of the rioter’s behaviour and how this might link with the proliferation of social media. Max argues that the conditions that sparked the riots are still present and that in the short-term we may unfortunately become more familiar with these types of disturbances.

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