The Conservatives mustn’t be afraid of being tough on crime



Something caught my eye not long ago. It was a National Crime Agency news headline: “Man sentenced over some of the worst child abuse content NCA investigators have ever seen”

The article began. A part-time DJ who fantasised about raping and murdering a child has been sentenced for making and showing some of the worst child sexual abuse images NCA investigators have ever seen. It then described how Haitch Macklin, the man convicted, had also sold access to his abuse catalogue to other people “via an encrypted messaging app from his home in Higher Broughton, Salford, Greater Manchester”. The abuse collection included sexual torture videos of babies and toddlers and Mr Macklin had also discussed his desire to acquire ‘snuff’ films showing real-life murders.

The report continued, “He also told another offender that he wanted to murder someone and film it.” This is beyond depraved. 

The article went on: “NCA operations manager Hazel Stewart said: ‘A team of officers viewed, assessed and graded the material Macklin sold access to, and all noted that this is some of the most horrific and disturbing content they’ve ever seen in many years investigating child sexual abuse.’”

“Macklin posed a very real and dangerous threat to children.”

This animal was sentenced to a measly 20 months in prison. 20 months! Is that all?? 

The criminal justice system is in crisis. Criminals know it, the public knows it and those in Whitehall know it too.

First of all, the criminal has got to be caught. I have friends and relatives who are officers at various levels in various departments and I know from a policing perspective that officers put in a monumental effort to build intel and a case to then be able to go out and arrest criminals.

Even when criminals are caught, and the case of wannabe baby rapist/murder Haitch Macklin is a good example, the sentence handed down to some of these individuals is often derisory and most certainly inconsistent with what most of the general public would expect them to receive for the caliber of crime committed. I am unrepentant in my view that the punishment must fit the crime.

As far as policing goes, I understand the reasons that went into government decisions regarding policing numbers and I’m fully onboard with the 2019 pledge to increase police numbers by 20,000, but we as Conservatives can and must now do something to improve the whole situation – and that includes focusing on much stronger sentences, repeat offenders, lower level crimes, and antisocial behaviour that can act as an oppressive force in communities.

We also need to review into probation services and the role it plays as a link in the justice chain. Staff in the probation service rarely get a mention except when the likes of John Worboys come into the media spotlight, but people who operate at a grassroots level in the service are also extremely hard-working. They have a key role in preventing re-offending and identifying bigger issues that may arise from some individuals. 

We have become a nation that tolerates low level crime and antisocial behaviour purely because we have to. Some parents don’t parent, values in children are not instilled, and the rest is history. We are forced to sit on the side-lines while, thanks to the bleeding-heart liberals of this world, abusers’ rights are prioritised over the abused.

Social media posts go viral when a police officer gets heavy handed, but we rarely see anything in the media about the hundreds of incidents a day in which police officers are attacked, abused, punched, or spat at. What we do see is people like former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott declaring that there is “no evidence that spit hoods are necessary or useful.”

Like so many others I have personal stories to tell about crime and antisocial behaviour, and how it affects my day-to-day life. The first inkling the there might be an issue to contend with in my local area came not long after we moved into our home. My husband was in the local pub and someone tried to glass him. It turned out we are living in the vicinity of the friendly local drug dealer and it was a case of mistaken identity – he was the the intended target. Spool ahead 20 years, and people have tried to beat his door down with baseball bats and golf clubs and set the house on fire. There is a police raid every now and then. You know the sort of thing.

A few weeks ago after a significant amount of time, effort, and cost by the police, this, err, “character” was let off again with a suspended sentence and community service. What’s even more incredible is some of the Judge’s remarks at the trial:

“It is more than one would ordinarily expect for your own use.” “You have been here before facing precisely the same charges.” “You have previous convictions which include the production of cannabis.” “You had this material for your own use, although I have to say there was a lot of it.”  “You were making it in fairly large quantities.”

The Judge was clearly determined to ignore that dealing was going on in order to give this man as small a sentence as possible. With previous convictions including intent to supply it could be reasonable to assume that maybe it was not all for his own use. I mean, you don’t have to be Poirot to work out what was happening.

This is a perfect example of there being absolutely no deterrent for some criminals, and it’s what must change.

The solution is not to ‘lock em up & throw away the key’, although sometimes this is tempting. But we must do justice to the victims of crimes, whether affected directly or indirectly – and deliver justice for damaged communities.

When the home secretary stood up and said she wanted criminals to “literally feel terror”, I could not have agreed more. Let us not forget that this is the polar opposite position of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, when, as Head of the CPS, he decided not to prosecute the aforementioned rapist John Worboys. Labour was, and is, soft on crime.

One of the sadnesses about not being elected in 2019 is that I cannot represent these views directly in Parliament. We need to remember that we, the Conservatives, are the party of law and order. We must be brave enough to deal with these issues head on, and put people who want to kill babies or perpetrate other horrendous acts, right where they belong. In jail – for a long time.

Clare Golby was the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Coventry North West in the 2019 General Election. Follow her on twitter: @MrsGolby