Should there be harsher punishments for criminals?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
October 01, 2019, 3:12 PM GMT+0

The majority also think crime is on the rise nationally and nearly half say crime is up in their local area

YouGov data reveals that law and order is a uniting cross-party issue for Britons, with Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat voters all agreeing that crime is up and punishments are too weak.

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The Conservative party announcement this week that they will stop the routine early release of prisoners serving time for the most serious violent and sexual crimes will go down well within the party. Conservative voters are the most likely to think that courts let criminals off easy, with 87% saying punishments are not harsh enough.

But it will also chime with Labour and Liberal Democrat voters, among whom 58% and 62% respectively say sentences should be harsher.

Cracking down on crime will also appeal to voters in the areas of UK outside of the capital, with seven out of ten Britons (72%) outside London thinking harsher punishments are in order compared to 60% of Londoners who want harsher punishments for law breakers.

However, despite the Home Secretary Priti Patel’s previous support for the death penalty, Britons are somewhat more divided over bringing back capital punishment for murder. While a third (34%) say all types of murder should be met with the ultimate penalty, 45% are opposed.

Yet when it comes to extreme cases, such as acts murder undertaken as part of terrorism, nearly six in ten Britons (58%) back the death penalty for such a crime with a third (32%) opposed.

There is further division between the parties as well. Those who backed the Conservatives in the 2017 election are most likely to back the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder, with just shy of three quarters (73%) calling for the most extreme punishment for cases of murder as part of a terrorist act, compared to under half (48%) of labour voters.

Despite disagreeing over capital punishment, voters are also aligned in a belief that crime is on the rise, with 73% of Britons saying they think it has gone up nationally in the last few years.

Eight in ten Conservative voters (80%) say crime has risen nationally, compared to 72% and 73% of Labour the Liberal Democrat voters respectively who say the same. Only 4% of Britons overall say they think crime has decreased.

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Despite most Britons saying crime is on the rise nationally the majority of Britons across the political parties also say the police are doing a good job fighting it.

More than three quarters of both Conservative voters (78%) and Labour voters (77%) say they think the police are doing at least a fairly good job, with 80% of Liberal Democrat voters also in agreement.

Image: Getty

See full results for crime opinions here

See full results for capital punishment opinions here