Sunday Express

Criminals given a ‘licence to kill’

- By David Williamson

CRIMINALS are being granted a licence to kill, according to an MP horrified at soaring numbers of offenders who are set free only to commit murder.

In 2015, 69 offenders on probation were charged with murder.

By last year the number charged had nearly doubled to 132.

Conservati­ve Philip Hollobone, who uncovered the figures, said he is appalled.

He said: “Something has clearly gone wrong when offenders convicted of a serious offence are then released on licence and reoffend by committing murder. They should not have been released on licence in the first place.

“The Parole Board has serious questions to answer about why these people have been set free. Effectivel­y, for these people, it’s a licence to kill.” Campaign group Restore Justice put the focus on the murder victims, saying: “The system of statutory supervisio­n of serious offenders who are released into the community on licence seems to be deeply flawed, when the number of murders committed by offenders under such supervisio­n has almost doubled.

“Murder is the most serious offence and the only category that has risen steadily among serious further offences in that period.

“Dangerous offenders should not be released early on licence and should serve in full the sentences they are handed down by the courts. Try to explain to the families of the victims why their loved one was murdered by someone who should be in prison. How is it ever safe to release lifers on licence into the community?

“Life should mean life. That is what the public expect.”

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoma­n said: “Serious further offences are rare, with fewer than 0.5 per cent of offenders on probation convicted – but each is taken extremely seriously and investigat­ed fully.

“We are now monitoring 40,000 offenders who would previously have been released with no supervisio­n at all, which is a positive change for public safety.”

The MOJ said while the number of reviews of “serious further offences” has increased, it “remains in proportion with the number of offenders on licence and must be seen in this context”.

 ??  ?? APPALLED: MP Philip Hollobone
APPALLED: MP Philip Hollobone

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