Author Archives: Josh Babarinde

Terrorising the traumatised: the Tories have a weak and wicked approach to crime

Twice in as many weeks, this government has committed to making would-be offenders “literally feel terror” in an effort to look tough on violent crime. The country eagerly awaits the Home Secretary’s Tory power pose to accompany this policy.

The truth is, the Tories have gone soft on crime. A tough policy is one that works – but their approach of inciting fear among those at-risk of offending simply isn’t an effective means of reducing crime. Reams of academic evidence and my work as a frontline practitioner make that very clear.

Project Terror starts with turbocharging police stop and search powers to scare people at risk of violent offending out of carrying weapons. Aside from being unfair and unjust, this is an ineffective policy. Priti Patel’s own Home Office team “found no statistically significant crime-reduction effect… from the increase in weapons searches.”

Next on the list is building 10,000 new prison cells to banish criminals to. Again, the government’s own figures tell us that more of the same will not work: nearly two in three ex-offenders re-offend within one year of release from our prisons.

Project Terror is doomed because it’s based on the flawed assumption that the ‘choice’ to offend is always as shallow as Boris’s choice between foie gras and a pig’s head on the Bullingdon Club menu.

Too many young ex-offenders we work with at Cracked It had perceived no choice but to offend before they started working with us. Faced with an education system that fails to equip them with the skills they need to access employment, and a benefits system that locks their families in poverty, they felt backed into crime’s corner to generate an income. Young ex-offenders tell us about how they would deal drugs, sleeping with a knife for safety, to make money that they’d secretly slip into mum’s handbag to help pay the bills.

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