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 715.

    To 695.Yunkel
    read my post 646

    699 Dot - Surely that's precisely what Tebbit was saying? Or are you advocating the DP purely as retribution?

  • rate this

    Comment number 714.

    Why is the killing of a police officer any worse than killing a child, a have a go hero, a passing witness or the premeditated killing of someone they don't like?
    Personally I don't believe the death penalty is any deterrent as the criminal generally does not expect to be caught but if it was then everyone deserves the same protection

  • rate this

    Comment number 713.

    Laughable BBC moderators, apparently anything to do with bringing back the death penalty is consdered off-topic in this thread....

  • rate this

    Comment number 712.

    There seems to be an overwhelming number of posts here that are biased towards the criminal. Why do so few contributors ever bother to mention the victims?

    Victims need our consideration, whatever the crime.

    Convicted criminals rate very much lower on the scale. At the bottom, in fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 711.

    My Grandfather used to say

    "Kill one man and they hang you.
    Kill thousands and they put up a statue to you. "

  • rate this

    Comment number 710.

    The death penalty will never come back, as a member of Europe it is not allowed, even for high treason anymore. The Tories have a short memory, Cameron and co have been cutting police numbers since they got in. Now he has the audacity to spout platitudes for two public servants who fell in the line of duty. He needs to remember the term PUBLIC SERVICE, it is a calling, and should not be abused.

  • rate this

    Comment number 709.

    If UK had a DP deterrrent some if not all of these crimes as have happened recently in East Manchester may well have not happened at all.
    That is why a deterrent is needed & to be used sparingly & with great caution - but some crimes clearly require a greater sanction as due to their calculation, pre-meditation & degree of violence.
    This is what polls have shown most in the UK want to see here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 708.

    What I wondered was; why was the sex of the police officers needed, are the deaths of females more important than males? Surely police officers killed was all that was required regarding this story.

  • rate this

    Comment number 707.

    688. Annie
    Good to see the leftties are out in full force here.
    So this is not really about the death penalty but more about perceived lefties then. Disgraceful to use the deaths of 2 policewomen for your political agenda.

  • rate this

    Comment number 706.


    To those saying the death penalty isn't a deterrent. Yes you may be right, however, that completely misses the point. Who said it was?"

    Tebbit, for a start, quoted above:-

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 705.


    so then if there is no age limit and everyone is someones child then all murder should get the death penalty?

    if you set criteria for CP there will always be cases who are just outside that criteria, would that not be an insult to the families outside the criteria? why has their child's killer been hanged and not mine?

    civilised people do not take lives. lock people up FOR LIFE

  • rate this

    Comment number 704.

    I don't believe in the DP but I would allow people sentenced to life to request it for themselves. The DP is wrong for the same reason murder is wrong, but if the criminal himself chooses to die that should be fair enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 703.

    You don't need to hang murderers, just "life means life" in a tough prison. It's still a death sentence as they'll have plenty of time to contemplate dying in prison - and thinking about their crimes. As long as they're given no privileges and are made to work for their keep.

    There IS such a thing as death being too good for some people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 702.

    683.nautonier: "Crime and punishment is a numbers game.."

    Brilliant! Screw the criminologists, sociologists, politicians, namby-pambies..just have accountants?

    And your oxymoronic finish was just superb darling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 701.

    Whilst the death penalty isn't a perfect solution, in this case i think it would be just. There is not enough deterents in place for law breakers in the UK. The prisons themselves need to be less like hotels and inmates should be made to work on community service projects. Bring back national service for our unruly youth, teach parents how to be parents and slow our consumerism desires.

  • rate this

    Comment number 700.

    We are signed up to the Human Rights thing so cannot reintroduce the death penalty. Better to bring back proper sentencing, life meaning life and sticking to it. Giving someone 15 years then letting them out after 8 is not punishment at all. A life sentence with the possibility of parole provided more than 40 years is served is a start.

  • rate this

    Comment number 699.

    To those saying the death penalty isn't a deterrent. Yes you may be right, however, that completely misses the point. Who said it was? The point is is that nothing is a deterrent nor ever will be. People will ALWAYS commit crime. Bring it back or make jail of a poverty/torture standard and make life mean life for murderers. Id also include paedophiles in that too. No amount of rehab can fix them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 698.

    If Norman Tebbits figures are correct, "We" have killed 150 innocent people since DP was abolished and allowed their killers to escape a similar fate.
    Its about time this lunacy was stopped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 697.

    I'm sure the government have no plans to reintroduce the death penalty. No doubt Tebbit was instructed by DC to make a "controversial" statement like this, to distract us plebs from the real issues - banker bonuses, economic failure, stealth privatisation of the NHS / policing, and not forgetting those damned cuts. Don't fall for Divide and Conquer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 696.

    Further to 676.all_about_news
    "Most murders are by people who know their victims, usually in a domestic context. The death penalty would make no difference there."

    Some of these are committed by victims of years of domestic abuse.

    Would the 'hang-em' brigade apply the DP to them also?


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