Community sentences to be toughened up

Chris Grayling Chris Grayling said people who commit crimes will be punished properly

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Almost all community sentences will involve an element of punishment, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced.

The government is planning to amend the Crime and Courts Bill to ensure that community sentences are "not a soft option any more".

Satellite tracking of offenders will be brought in and a £5,000 cap on magistrate fines will be removed.

This will make community sentences "more effective", the government said.

Mr Grayling said: "We're today putting punishment back into community sentencing.

"This is about sending a clear message to offenders and the public that you if commit a crime, you can expect to be punished properly.

"Community sentences are not a soft option any more."

'Latest technology'

Currently, only two-thirds of community orders contain a punitive requirement.

But this is expected to rise "significantly" to cover almost all adult community sentences, the Ministry of Justice said.

The new measures will mean more offenders could be forced to clean up graffiti, clear litter and help to rejuvenate their communities, the department added.

"We will use the latest GPS technology to track offenders' movements, and are giving the courts increased powers to set fines that hit offenders in their pockets and are lifting the cap on compensation orders to provide proper compensation to victims," Mr Grayling said.

It follows a speech by David Cameron on Monday in which he said the new GPS tracking system would "pinpoint exactly where offenders are, making it literally impossible to hide under the radar".

"Having a monthly meeting with a probation officer is hardly a punishment," he said.

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