Norman Tebbit urges death penalty for police killers debate

Lord Tebbit Lord Tebbit said arguments against capital punishment for murder "have always been thin"

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Bringing back the death penalty for those who kill police officers should be considered, Conservative peer Lord Tebbit has said.

He said he was reluctant to see the routine arming of police officers, but the "deterrent effect of the shadow of the gallows" should be reconsidered.

It follows the fatal shooting of two police officers in Greater Manchester.

Lord Tebbit has long supported a return of the death penalty in certain circumstances.

As an MP he voted a number of times to bring back capital punishment for murderers, including those who kill police officers.

'Violent criminals'

Writing on The Daily Telegraph website, he said: "The murder of two unarmed women police officers is bound to reignite the debate over whether our police officers should be armed as a matter of routine and whether there should be a return to capital punishment for limited categories of murder, such as that of a police officer, or more generally."

Yvette Cooper: "I think it would be a really sad day if we lost that tradition of unarmed British policing'

The former chairman of the Conservative Party rejected calls for the arming of police because it would "widen the gap which has grown between the police and the public in recent years".

But, he said, there had been "far too many killings" recently where it was impossible not to wonder if the threat of an "early dawn walk to the gallows" would have changed the actions of the perpetrator.

"The hard fact is, as violent criminals know perfectly well, a credible threat that a man will lose his life unless he complies with a demand usually results in obedience."

Lord Tebbit said concerns that such a penalty would lead to miscarriages of justice - with the innocent executed - would be mitigated by the care juries would take deliberating when they knew a person's life was at stake.

He said: "I have kept track year by year since the death penalty was suspended, then abolished, of the number of people who have been killed by persons previously convicted of homicide.

"It has averaged three people a year. About 150 people killed because their killers have been freed to kill again.

"Would our courts have sentenced to death three innocent people a year, year in year out? I doubt it.

"I think it is time we thought again about the deterrent effect of the shadow of the gallows."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    Whilst I can understand the arguments for and against capital punishment, I just wonder how those against hanging murderers would react if the one of these innocent Police Officers was their own wife/daughter/sister? Would you be so keen to let the murderer go to prison for rehabilitation? Doubt it very much, you'd want blood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 694.

    Yes, it should be brought back. But why just for a murder of a Police Officer? It should be for all premeditated murder. A police officer's life is worth no more or less than anybody else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 693.

    I am a prison officer, and The European Human Rights Court ties our hands when it comes to releasing dangerous criminals, even when WE KNOW they will offend again.The Private jails are an even softer option as their regime allows offending behavior inside as long as KPI's are met. The animal who murdered two Police officers will have a nice life inside as Prison Officers CANNOT PUNISH OFFENDERS

  • rate this

    Comment number 692.

    @666 Jason

    A child will always be a child to the parent’s even when there child has their own children, there is no age limit perhaps I should of been clear sorry about that!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 691.

    No way! Clearly as a deterrent it is working in those countries that still have this - no? And as for miscarriages of justice what do we say? "Sorry for killing you".

  • rate this

    Comment number 690.

    It's the wrong time to debate the Death Penalty.

    It's only been a day.

    Lets' mourn the dead first.

    How about a two minute silence at an appropriate point?

  • rate this

    Comment number 689.

    When W.P.C Fletcher,was shot in 1984,I cannot,for the life in me recall Norman Tebbit,howling for the death penalty when he was a member of the cabinet,why the sudden change of heart now,Lord Tebbit ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 688.

    Good to see the leftties are out in full force here. Presumably they are quite happy paying lots of income tax ( or are they?) to keep these people in prison until they get out and re-offend. I think the personal comment about Lord Tebbit unacceptable - he lost his wife as a result of a criminal act.

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    I think that time in prison needs to be seen as 'hard time' rather than it is at the moment which is more akin to a holiday camp. If someone thought they faced 35 years of hard labour rather than 35 years of games of snooker and video games in a clean, modern fully catered prison it may make people want to avoid going there at all costs. The death penalty is not the way forward

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    The death penalty never has and never will act a deterrent to serious crime in this country. What is needed is better justice for the victims like a life sentance meaning life or at least a very long time and cases coming to court a lot quicker than they do now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

    ...your comments sound familiar. People seem to forget or take for granted, that there are many who, for what ever reason, never get to enjoy what society deems as being a 'normal' life.

    There are many reasons why people commit crime....

    Sometimes....'good' people do bad things and even 'bad' people sometimes do good things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 684.

    No! Heinous criminal acts should be severely punished but the death penalty is an archaic and unfathomably uncivilised punishment. Some might also call it the easy way out.

    Knee jerk reactions to anything aren't properly thought out by definition and we all need to take a step back and think why the death penalty was removed in the first place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    Crime and punishment is a numbers game - just like most things are.
    More lives would be saved by having an effective deterrent DP sentence than by not having it - & of course these are 99.9 % innocent lives & not what in many cases are career criminals & dangerous repeat offenders & the pure evil.
    Not having a DP with a soft sentence & prison regime - actually encourages global crime in the UK

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    I believe that 'the state’ should never have the right to take away the life of its citizens by choice (by policy). This is distinct and separate from the individual circumstances of decisions taken by soldiers, police officers or decisions taken by generals or politicians in war. Quite simply it is never ‘right’ to kill out of choice it can only be ‘right’ as a necessary evil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.

    Bring it back ! now we have got to many sick os who get back out on to our streets after being convicted of murder,

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    The death penalty should never have gone and we need it more than ever and seeing as we have DNA profiling the likelihood of a wrong conviction has been minimalised.
    This threat to take away the lives of those that take life needs to be reconsidered and if necessary administered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    If it is proven 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have unlawfully taken a life, then your life if forfeit. Why should you spend 30 years in luxury for killing another human being?

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    Maybe a really good Social worker team could be allocated at great expense to discuss and point out its wrong to carry ( allegedly ) automatic guns & grenades.
    A good holiday ( watched over by social workers ) maybe beneficial. Of course this would be no help to the dead or bereaved.
    But it would maybe satisfy the soft on crime Lib-Wets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 677.

    Where guilt is established, any prison sentence should be life, literally. No nonsense about human rights, simply a whole life sentence with no chance of parole.

    Make prison hard and punitive; forget human rights, rehabilitation and other nonsense.

    If they rot in prison, in tough and unpleasant conditions - then good!

    Think first,last and always about the victims and the victims families.

  • Comment number 676.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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