Law and order
in Understanding British and European political issues

This chapter examines the political issue of law and order in Britain. It provides detailed descriptions of the various attempts which have been made to reduce crime since 1979 and legislation passed to deal with law and order issues. The Liberals (later Liberal Democrats) shared a social view of crime with the Labour party, but also emphasised the threat to human rights of the Conservatives' increasingly severe policies. As Labour's policies on law and order began to unfold in its early years of office, it became clear that there was a great deal of continuity between the Conservative policies of Michael Howard and those of Jack Straw. The Conservative Howard's 1995 plea to 'take the handcuffs off the police' was being answered by a Labour administration. The chapter also provides an analysis of theories concerning the causes of crime. It discusses special measures taken to combat youth crime since 1979.

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