The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Give me a majority and I’ll keep you safe from terror
SINCE becoming Prime Minister, I’ve said we need a big change of direction on violent crime and security. What I saw on Friday has made me angry – it’s absolutely clear that we can’t carry on with the failed approaches of the past.
That is why as soon as I became Prime Minister in July, we started recruiting 20,000 more police. This is already happening.
It is why I’ve also said we must keep violent offenders and terrorists in jail longer and end the automatic early release system.
We took some steps to do this before the Election. However, due to the broken hung Parliament that was preoccupied with blocking Brexit, we could not do more.
We simply cannot risk being in the same situation for the next five years where Parliament cannot do what’s needed. We need a government that can act.
The terrorist on London Bridge was sentenced 11 years ago under laws passed in 2008 which established automatic early release. This system has got to end – I repeat, this has got to end, as I’ve been saying for four months.
If you are convicted of a serious terrorist offence, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 14 years – and some should never be released. Further, for all terrorism and extremist offences, the sentence announced by the judge must be the time actually served – these criminals must serve every day of their sentence, with no exceptions.
These simple changes, in line with what I’ve been saying since becoming Prime Minister, would have prevented this attack. I believe they will help stop further attacks and these changes will be made urgently in the New Year if I am Prime Minister and have a majority in Parliament.
If we’re going to keep dangerous people in jail longer, we need more prison places. This is why I announced in August that we would urgently create more prison places and this is already under way.
In our manifesto a week ago, I set out how we must reform human rights laws to shift the balance in favour of our security and intelligence services. Many human rights lawyers attacked this move. They are wrong and the public does not agree with them.
Our laws are constrained, for example, by the ‘right to private life’ which limits surveillance of terrorists, and recent court cases have placed unacceptable limits on our intelligence services. From surveillance and operations to sentencing and licensing conditions, we must shift the balance of the whole legal system in a much tougher direction against serious criminals and terrorists.
It concerns me that Jeremy Corbyn is setting out plans to weaken our system and make it more difficult for our security services to stop people who want to do us harm. He wants to give more power to human rights lawyers, which would make us less safe.
Finally, there has been some criticism of the police shooting the attacker. I totally reject this.
The police had very good reasons to think the attacker presented a real and deadly threat. They had to make split-second decisions. I know the overwhelming majority of the country will join me in giving them our absolute support.
As Prime Minister, I will always back our security services, our police and our troops. I will give them the funding they need and I will boost their numbers. I will support them when they make difficult decisions in dangerous situations.
I will ensure that they do not come under constant attack from the human rights lobby who would weaken our anti-terror laws.
But these changes can only be achieved with a Conservative majority government.
Jeremy Corbyn has a totally different view of security and a totally different set of policies. I do not believe he can provide the leadership on security this country needs.