Juvenile offenders face tougher court sentences: Criminal Justice Bill outlines measures to crack down on crime

A THREE-pronged increase in the severity of sentences for juvenile offenders and abolition of the right to silence are the most significant sections of the 117-clause Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill, which was published yesterday.

Courts will be able to impose sentences of up to 14 years on juveniles aged 10 to 13 convicted of serious offences, make secure training orders of up to two years for persistent offenders and have the option of two-year sentences for those aged 15 to 17 who are sent to young offender institutions.

The lowering of the serious offending tariff from 13 to 10 is a new measure. Currently, juveniles in that group cannot be sent to custody for serious offences such as rape or robbery. Instead a judge has to impose a local authority care order. The authority then decides how the juvenile is treated.

The measures, together with several aimed at reducing offending while on bail, are seen by the Government as a response to widespread concern over juvenile offending. Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, said: 'Many communities suffer terribly from the activities of a handful of young hooligans who offend time and time again. They are a menace to their communities.'

But critics said last night that they would do nothing to prevent crime. Tony Blair, Labour's home affairs spokesman, said the Govermnent should improve crime prevention and introduce programmes to divert young people from crime. 'These measures will not make the streets safer,' he said, adding that Labour would examine the legislation constructively.

Prison reformers estimated the measures would double the number of young people in custody. Harry Fletcher, of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: 'The Bill is a collection of tried and failed counterproductive ideas. All the available evidence shows that punitive custody is a costly failure.'

The Bill, which was announced in the Queen's Speech also contains other measures signalled by the Government over the past year.

Abolishing the right to silence has been greeted with dismay by most lawyers and civil liberties groups, who say that it is a reversal of the fundamental principles of justice and would lead to more miscarriages. Although a majority of the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice rejected abolition, Mr Howard said he had found the minority arguments 'absolutely compelling'. The right to silence had become a 'charter for criminals'.

New proposals to put DNA testing and create a databank of DNA profiles also concerns civil liberties groups, but the Government is confident the argument that the testing is simply a 21st-century fingerprint will win converts.

The new measures give police improved powers to take non-intimate samples from suspects and reclassify saliva and mouth swabs as non-intimate; it will also be made easier to obtain hair root samples. New powers aimed at street-level drugs dealers will allow police to open and search the mouths of suspects.

On terrorism, the Bill aims to clarify the law to enable police to conduct road blocks to stop and search terrorist vehicles. Two new offences have also been created: possession of articles intended for terrorist purposes and collecting information for terrorist purposes.

Police are given new public order powers to deal with New Age travellers and ravers. The Public Order Act is amended to allow police to reduce the number of permitted vehicles from 12 to six and give them powers to remove vehicles from private land. They will also be able to direct people to leave land if 10 or more have gathered and they suspect a rave is planned and be able to seize vehicles and amplification equipment.

Also included in the Bill are measures to clarify the trade union status of the Prison Officers' Association following recent court rulings and increase the involvement of the private sector in running prisons and prisoner escorts.

It also revives the use of electronic tagging, despite the failures of earlier experiments.

MAIN POINTS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC ORDER BILL

New sentences of up to 14 years for juveniles aged 10 to 13 years convicted of serious offences;

New secure training orders of six months to two years for persistent offenders aged 12 to 14;

Maximum sentences for 15- to 17-year-olds doubled to two years;

Ending of the right to silence;

Measures to tackle offending on bail;

New powers for DNA testing;

New police powers to mount roadblocks against terrorists; two new terrorism offences;

New measures to deal with mass trespass and raves;

Extended powers to deal with obscenity and pornography;

Provision for pilot schemes for electronic tagging of offenders.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin married in Venice yesterday
peopleAmal and George Clooney 'planning third celebration in England'
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley at the premiere of Laggie at Toronto Film Festival 2014
theatreActress 'to make Broadway debut'
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Focused Business Analyst - Finance and Procurement System Implementation

£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Note Taker - Scribe

£10 per hour: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienced note taker...

DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

£4800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: A full time...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker