Please note not all views expressed in the film and on the blog necessarily reflect the views of coalition members.
The self-fulfilling prophesy that's doubled our prison population,
demonised our young and costs us billions...
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Monday, 17 May 2010

The Fear Factory: Law and Order – When will the cracks start to show?

Press Release: 12 May 2010
The Fear Factory: Law and Order – When will the cracks start to show?

As the dust begins to settle on a strange new political landscape, the release of the initial coalition agreement between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives makes no mention of the clear differences in law and order policy between the two parties. The former were clear in their manifesto:
· a presumption against short sentences of less than six months;
· the cancellation of the prison building programme;
· a more effective justice policy.

Two out of three of these policies run totally counter to the Conservatives policy and the Fear Factory Coalition calls on the government to clearly outline their plans for law and order. As Kenneth Clarke assumes the mantel of Minister for Justice we ask that he works with the Liberal Democrats for an effective long-term criminal justice policy. We also call on the Liberal Democrats to have the courage of their convictions and to stand fast to their election promises.

In the election debate Nick Clegg echoed his response to The Fear Factory film which inspired the Coalition:
“I hope the Fear Factory exposes the tough talk fallacy that has led to the current crisis in the criminal justice system. Dragging young people through the criminal justice system for minor offences is a foolproof way of helping them to graduate to a more serious life of crime.”

Chris Huhne, then Home Affairs Spokesperson, was categorical in his agreement with The Fear Factory which he said: “Exposes our criminal justice crises with precision.” He promised that: “The Liberal Democrats will not peddle the politics of fear ... We will put criminal justice on an evidence-based footing by establishing a National Crime Reduction Agency to test properly what cuts crime.”

Dominic Grieve speaking in the film as Shadow Justice Secretary was equally clear in the lead up to the election that:
“What I do want to do is to try and do some hard thinking about what works. To put in place systems which I hope will reduce crime in both short, medium and long term and implement them along the lines of what we've been discussing and I want to do that whilst at the time saying to the public that there are no quick fixes and any politician that goes out there and promises a quick fix is in fact deceiving people.”

Despite the embarrassing wrangling over the crime stats which led to a warning from Sir Michael Scholar, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, that the Conservatives were ‘likely to mislead the public’, for once this was an election where there wasn’t too much ‘out toughing’ on crime.

With the media already putting pressure on the coalition government to make crime an issue it remains unclear as to whether ‘the fear factory’ will continue to rumble on unabated or finally be deemed ineffective, but whatever the outcome the growing Fear Factory Coalition - currently 55 members strong - will continue to campaign for an effective long-term criminal justice policy.


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