Opinion: Home Secretary Sajid Javid should make criminals pay ‘much more’ – and spend the money on public services

Original article written by Stephen Fear for the Bristol Post Newspaper on 1st August 2018 (also featured on BristolPost.co.uk on 30th July 2018).

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Stephen Fear, founder of Bristol-based property investment company Fear Group, writes an open letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, urging him to make criminals pay more money for their crimes – as well as spending time in prison.

Dear Mr Javid,

Last week I had cause to visit one of Bristol’s biggest police stations as I was the victim of a crime.

While I was being interviewed by three hugely professional female police officers, I noticed that although the station was a large, modern building it was almost empty.

A number of desks were unmanned and the place felt deserted. I asked one of the officers where everyone was and, although she was too discrete to answer, her face said it all.

The answer was obvious. Police forces across England and Wales have been decimated by cuts.

The country faced economic turmoil following the 2008 global financial crash and subsequent governments, including the one which you serve, have battled with the fact that the financial stability of the country needed rebuilding.

I am amazed at how resilient our economy is and how well we have returned from the brink of financial Armageddon.

Personally, I don’t think it has been fully appreciated in some quarters.

However, it is essential that more money is released into the public sector, including the police force, which does an amazing job of keeping us safe in the wake of terrorism and rising knife and gun crime.

Clearly, finding the money for more police officers is still difficult but the government must find it somehow before crime gets completely out of hand.

Many people feel it is already out of control, with ambulance staff and fire officers as well as teachers and police officers regularly threatened.

Violence against a police officer should result in a prison sentence regardless of the circumstances.

When I was a boy if a police officer caught you scrumping apples and called you over, you immediately went and said sorry. You didn’t return with a knife or a mouthful of spit or verbal bile. It’s time it stopped.

If we didn’t have any crime we wouldn’t need a police force or criminal courts, but unfortunately that isn’t the nature of our society.

We need the honest and diligent police offers, who currently do their best to serve the public so well under dire circumstances.

We urgently need more of them and they need better pay and support.

One way of helping pay for more officers might be to make those who commit crime pay much more toward policing their illegal activities.

Perhaps an immediate doubling of all fines would be a start?

If drivers found drunk or under the influence of drugs didn’t drive when in those states, there would be no need for police officers to find and arrest them or for the courts to sit and listen to evidence.

When found guilty, surely it is fair to charge them for the time they have caused to be spent?

An extension of confiscation orders would help too.

Shoplifters, burglars and fraudsters, many whom regularly prey on the elderly, should all pay the price, not just in prison time but financially too.

Make those who commit crime pay for crime.

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