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Goff Lets 'Non-Violent' Crims Off

The Government is only doing half the job with its tougher sentencing reforms announced today, says National's Justice spokesperson Wayne Mapp.

"It is clear the Government is planning to allow early release for drug traffickers, career burglars and drivers who kill. Mr Goff has made it plain that he wants offenders in these categories to be released earlier than is currently the case. 92% of the public that supported the Withers' referendum will be disgusted. This is not what they voted for.

"Tougher laws will only work if there are the police resources to catch the criminals. At the same time the Government is strengthening our sentencing law, it is cutting back on police numbers.

"Mr Goff has picked up both my Private Member's Bill, to abolish the two thirds automatic parole release for violent offenders, and has effectively implemented Brian Neeson's three degrees of murder bill through a revised sentencing regime.

"There are still serious problems around preventive detention. Currently preventive detention is only available for judges when sentencing for rape and a very small class of extreme repeat offences. Major reform is needed and must go beyond simply changing age of eligibility. The key issue is to get rid of the requirement for repeat offences when the offender poses a risk to the community," Dr Mapp said.

Dr Mapp is drafting a Private Member's Bill which will make preventive detention an option whenever an offender commits a serious violent crime (including using firearms and aggravated robbery) and who could pose a risk to the community on release.

"At a time when the Government is promising to be tougher on violent offenders they are making it harder for police to catch them. Police numbers have dropped from 7,129 in November last year to 7,008 in February this year. More seriously, training for 240 recruits has been cancelled. That means police numbers will drop to less than 6,700 by the middle of this year.

"The Government has listened with one ear but turned deaf in the other. The public will be appalled that drug traffickers and career burglars will be getting off lightly as a trade-off for toughening up on the most violent offenders," Dr Mapp said.

Ends


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