Rishi has strongly promised to ensure vilest criminals can never leave prison

Britains vilest killers will die behind bars under a “life means life” crackdown ordered by Rishi Sunak yesterday. He vowed to change the law so that the most heinous criminals are never released from prison.

The Prime Minister announced the move – part of a law and order clampdown – in a revealing interview with the Sunday Express.

Father-of-two Mr Sunak said he is a man on a mission to make the streets safer, especially for women and children. He declared: “I’m a dad with two young girls so these issues touch me personally.

“I believe that for the most despicable criminals, who are plainly just evil, life needs to mean life. It’s as simple as that.” 

Sentencing rules will be unveiled in the King’s Speech this autumn, leaving enough time for them to become law before the next General Election.

Mr Sunak’s announcement, and his plan to press on with legislation, signals he wants to leave voters in no doubt he is tough on crime. His message is unequivocal: “The most awful sadistic sexual murders will now get whole-life sentences.”

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The change, making judges hand down a whole-life term for all sexually-motivated murders, will delight Tory MPs who have demanded policies that will be welcomed by voters.

Murderers who would have been locked up for the rest of their life under the plans include the killer of law graduate Zara Aleena, who was attacked as she walked home in east London last year.

Jordan McSweeney was sentenced to a minimum of 38 years for her “brutal sexually motivated murder”. The murderer of London teacher Sabina Nessa, killed on her way to meet a friend, would also face a whole life term.

Koci Selamaj was jailed in 2022 for at least 36 years. Setting out his determination to stop the most sadistic killers from setting foot outside prison again, Mr Sunak said: “Those types of perpetrators really need to pay the price for their crimes and we need to keep the public safe.

“That’s why they should not be allowed to walk the streets freely. “If you’ve got girls who are about to grow up and start walking around by themselves, of course it matters to you as a parent.”

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The PM said he is proud the Safer Streets Fund has helped roll out better lighting and CCTV. He hopes this will mean women who are “walking home from the bus station late at night” or “finishing a late shift” will feel safer and be safer.

Mr Sunak also wants to liberate wider society from the dread of crime. He acknowledges that the problem of anti-social behaviour is “something that everybody raises with me, regardless of where I am in the country”.

The PM added: “I want communities where people feel safe. Everyone wants to grow up in a place they are proud to call home.

“That’s my vision of what a better Britain looks like and part of that pride comes from knowing that your community where you and your family spend your time is safe.”

The Prime Minister wants to bring in the necessary changes to the law, to require whole-life sentences for sexually motivated murders, between the King’s Speech in November and the General Election, which is expected next year.

Law and order is likely to be a key theme in the campaign, and Labour has attacked the Conservatives for their “shameful” low prosecution rates over rape offences.

The Government insists that progress is being made, stating in its latest “rape review” that the total of adult prosecutions has climbed from 879 in 2019 to 1,710 last year.

It says it has stopped “halfway release” for serious violent and sexual offenders, who will now serve “at least two thirds of their sentence behind bars”.

Downing Street also claims that violent crime is down by 46 percent since 2010. Mr Sunak said that the Tories’ record “demonstrates we are the party that shares your values and will deliver for you and make sure your communities are safe”.

Exclusive polling by Omnisis for the Sunday Express shows that the public want to see more police officers on the beat.

When asked what would make them feel safer from crime, more visible policing was the most popular choice (45 percent), ahead of effective CCTV systems (36 percent), well-lit streets and parks (35 percent), community policing (34 percent), an effective judicial system (33 percent) and crime prevention programmes (22 percent).

Mr Sunak spoke with pride about the Government hitting its manifesto pledge to deliver 20,000 police officers and he defended stop and search tactics, saying “almost 100,000” knives have been taken off the streets.

He also insisted that he takes seriously the threat from online crime. In the year to March, up to 1.2 million “fraud and computer misuse offences” were recorded – a rise of 15 per cent.

The Premier continued: “People can have confidence that we’re clamping down on all these unscrupulous companies and operators that are scamming them while they are on their phone or online.

I think every family will have an example of someone in their family – we certainly do in our family – who’s been taken advantage of. It’s not just older people.

“You think it’s older people, your grandparents, your aunt and uncle, but it’s not. It impacts everybody and that’s why we’re taking measures to root this stuff out, clamp down on SIM farms and all the rest of it.”

Mr Sunak’s plans to require judges to hand down mandatory whole-life orders to sexually motivated killers will trigger controversy in legal circles.

The move will place a “legal expectation” on judges to hand down orders “except in extremely limited circumstances”.

It is hoped this will give judges the confidence to lock criminals away for life without the risk of a subsequent challenge in the Courts of Appeal.

The PM argues this is about “honesty in sentencing” and says there “should be a guarantee that life will mean life”. Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said: “A whole-life order will now be the expectation for murderers where the killing involves sexual or sadistic conduct.

“This important law change will ensure that the worst of the worst can now expect to spend the rest of their lives in prison.”

There is the potential for a dispute with the Council of Europe human rights group over the plan to change the law.

In 2016 its Committee for the Prevention of Torture fired a warning shot on the issue, stating it had “serious reservations regarding the fact that a person sentenced to life imprisonment is considered once and for all to be dangerous and is deprived of any hope of conditional release”.

It added: “The Committee maintains that to incarcerate a person for life without any real prospect of release is, in its view, inhuman.”

In May the Council’s department for the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights warned that life sentences must come with “both a prospect of release for the prisoner and a possibility of review”.

The prospect of confrontation with European institutions over the rights of prisoners is unlikely to worry Conservative MPs who want the Government to take a tougher line on crime ahead of the next election.

When adults were asked by pollsters Ipsos
to name the most important issues facing the country, seven per cent mentioned crime, law and order or anti-social behaviour.

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