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Crime victims will 'pick punishments', says Theresa May


Victims of crime will be given a say as to how offenders are punished, Home Secretary Theresa May said today.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham she said it was time victims were given a greater voice in the criminal justice process.

New legislation will be needed, she said, with victims of anti-social behaviour given the power to demand compensation or order yobs to carry out repairs and clean up parks.

She told Tory members the new policy would be led by Police and Crime Commissioners, who are due to be elected next month.

Mrs May said: "I can announce today an important new duty on Police and Crime Commissioners to make sure that victims have a greater say in the punishment of people responsible for anti-social behaviour.

"We will change the law so when a criminal receives an out-of-court community punishment, the victim will be given the power to choose the form it takes. They'll be given a list of options.

"They might want something restorative or punitive. They might want it to be carried out nearby or as far away as possible. But what matters is that the punishment will be chosen by the victim.

"For too long, victims of crime have had no voice but this Government is giving victims back their voice."

Mrs May also told members the new Police and Crime Commissioners would have to focus on the demands of their local communities or face being voted out of office.

And she claimed the Tory candidates would have a "laser-like focus" on cutting crime.