DODGY driving instructors won’t be banned from having relationships with teenagers under tough new laws.
Ministers blocked proposals to the motoring teachers to be included alongside sports coaches, and religious teachers in a list of professions that are deemed “positions of trust” – which bans them from having flings with teens aged 16 and 17.
But driving instructors have been left off the list as Whitehall insiders felt it “ran the risk of criminalising legitimate relationships and undermining consent law.” Campaigners had hoped to see instructors added to the list, but Whitehall sources said it risked “increasing age of consent to 18 by the back door.” New tough laws will be unveiled to Parliament today in the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
It will hand judges and cops sweeping new powers to be tougher on criminals and it will keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.
New court orders will boost efforts to crack down on knife crime, as well as make it easier to stop and search those suspected of carrying a blade.
Sentences for child killers will also be tougher, with judges allowed to issue Whole Life Orders, with judges also allowed to impose this punishment on younger killers too.
It comes after the brother of the Manchester Arena bomber Hashem Abedi escaped a whole life sentence for the atrocity because he was aged 20 at the time of the attack.
Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland QC said: “This Government has pledged to crack down on crime and build safer communities.
“We are giving the police and courts the powers they need to keep our streets safe, while providing greater opportunities for offenders to turn their lives around and better contribute to society.” Home Secretary Priti Patel added: “On becoming Home Secretary, I vowed to back the police to cut crime and make our streets safer.
“This Bill delivers on that promise – equipping the police with the tools they need to stop violent criminals in their tracks, putting the thugs who assault officers behind bars for longer and strengthening the support officers and their families receive.”
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “We are delighted that after relentless campaigning, the Government has finally listened to our calls and agreed to close this legal loophole.
“This landmark step sends a clear message that children and young people can return to the extracurricular activities they love without being at risk of grooming by the very adults they should look to for support and guidance.”
Chair of the Bar Council, Derek Sweeting QC said: “The public are entitled to expect that tackling serious crime will be a priority, but politicians have to join up the dots. A crackdown on crime will mean more work for hard pressed courts and those who work in them. Decades of underfunding and mounting backlogs will not be turned around by increases in police numbers and tougher sentences.
“Restoring confidence in the criminal justice system will require sustained investment. We hope the measures announced in the Bill will not just be cosmetic but will be matched by a real commitment to getting the justice system on its feet again and truly protecting the victims of crime.”
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