Just Like Colombus ‘discovered’ America UK’s Labour Leaders have ‘discovered’ 3,600 New Ways of Making You a Criminal
Punishment: Labour has found 3,600 new ways of making you a criminal
Ever tried selling a grey squirrel, impersonating a traffic warden, importing Polish potatoes or disturbing a pack of eggs without permission? If you do, you will be breaking the law.
These are among the 3,605 new criminal offences created by the Labour Government since it won power in 1997 – almost one for every day it has been in office.Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne has described the plethora of new laws as ‘legislative diarrhoea’.
The new offences are made up of 1,238 which were brought in as primary legislation – meaning they were debated in Parliament – and 2,367 by secondary legislation, such as orders in council and statutory instruments.
Under Tony Blair, Labour introduced 160 new offences in its first year, but in 2003, 493 offences were created. Offences brought in during the past five years include:
- Sell types of flora and fauna not native to the UK, such as the grey squirrel, ruddy duck or Japanese knotweed
- Disturb a pack of eggs when instructed not to by an authorised officer
- Offer for sale a game bird killed on a Sunday or Christmas Day
It has slowed slightly in the past two years with 288 new offences in 2007 and 148 so far this year.
Mr Huhne said: ‘In what conceivable way can the introduction of a new criminal offence every day help tackle crime when most crimes that people care about have been illegal for years.
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‘This legislative diarrhoea is not about making us safer, because it does not help enforce the laws that we have one jot. It is about the Government’s posturing on punishments.’The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has proved the most prolific law creators, introducing some 852 new offences.Meanwhile the Home Office has been responsible for 455 new offences.Mr Huhne said minor criminals should be kept out of jail to allow the Home Office to redirect funding from prisons to the police.It is the fear of being caught – and not the severity of punishment after conviction – which deters people from committing crime, he said outlining the Lib Dem’s vision for policing and criminal justice.Mr Huhne – whose party is already committed to funding 10,000 more police by scrapping ID cards – said:
‘We rely on prison far too much.’
Breaking the law: Don’t even think selling a grey squirrel
First, reoffending is appallingly high, as prisons are colleges of crime. Secondly, the chances of being caught are still far too low, as only one in 100 crimes leads to a conviction.’We do not need to increase the severity of punishments, but we do need to increase the chances of being caught. Catching criminals works better than posturing about penalties.’
Some more offences introduced in the past five years:
To wilfully pretend to be a barrister (A provision of the Legal Services Act 2007 aimed at modernising the legal profession and increasing competition between barristers). (Part of a detailed set of regulations last year controlling the production and marketing of eggs).
Obstruct workers carrying out repairs to the Dockland Light Railway (The offence is created under legislation designed to boost capacity on the DLR in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics in London).