- The Wessex Regionalist approach to criminal justice puts victims first. There will be a review of victimless crimes to ensure that a substantial social purpose is served by criminalising such acts and detecting, prosecuting and punishing their perpetrators.
- For the less serious of the crimes that remain, we support ‘restorative justice’, the principle of offenders making practical or financial reparation to victims and the community. The criminal justice system should help offenders repair the harm they have caused and find a route back to society.
- Not only will this approach reduce crime; it will release resources to be used more sensibly. By reinvigorating local communities, reducing inequality and establishing a shared sense of purpose, Wessex Regionalist policies across the board will also reduce crime.
- Prison remains a necessary response to the most serious of crimes, when the community needs protection from the offender. It ought not to be used unthinkingly. Labour and Conservative politicians compete to play the ‘prison card’. The more people they lock up the more secure we are supposed to feel. The prison population has increased from 44,000 to 66,000 in the last five years and is still rising – as is the level of crime. Forcing people to languish in over-crowded prisons, where they become students of crime, costs ten times as much as rehabilitation in the community. Prisons’ immunity from Health and Safety legislation, the Factories Act 1990 and the unfitness provisions of the Housing Act 1985 should be ended, and their Crown immunity lifted.
- Not all victims are human. Hunting with hounds and badger culling should be banned immediately, and legislative protection from unnecessary suffering extended to all wildlife. We must be actively searching for ways to eliminate all forms of animal testing and vivisection. Alternative methods of testing must be found. Animal testing for non-medical commodities, such as cosmetics or as part of military programmes, should be banned immediately. Non-animal methods should be developed for medical research within five years.
- Wessex Regionalists accept that the economic well-being of Wessex is dependent upon a thriving and stable farming industry. However, this must be consistent with the good treatment of all stock. Meat animals must be allowed to live as naturally as possible until humanely slaughtered. We believe our proposals for the extensification of agriculture will yield great benefits in terms of animal welfare, promoting less intensive and more free range farming.
- Precaution is better than cure. Environmental protection legislation needs strengthening not only to protect the environment for its own sake but to safeguard humans from the hazards of poorly-understood processes and products.
A regionalist government in Wessex will:
- abolish the majority of victimless crimes
- make reparation the cornerstone of summary justice
- regard prison as a last resort and reform conditions in Wessex prisons
- strengthen animal welfare laws
- legislate to make producers liable for environmental damage
- withdraw permitted development rights for mobile phone masts.
Meanwhile, the Wessex Regionalists will:
- seek to rebuild communities and address the causes of crime.