Seven years ago, when he was Mayor of London,
I took our Prime Minister down to Fight for Peace,
A boxing and martial arts academy in Newham.
I wanted to show him the power of sport and mentoring to turn young lives around.
We were both blown away.
I had been volunteering there,
Working with one teenager from a particularly tough background.
He had served time for armed robbery.
He was a risk-taker, Conference,
You could even say he was entrepreneurial
It was just channelled in the wrong direction.
I watched this young man take a second chance to turn his life around before my eyes…
With the self-belief instilled by his boxing coach,
The tutoring to equip him with GCSE level English and Maths,
And his first job as a steward at the London Olympics …
After that he never looked back.
If, like me, you believe in a second chance society …
Then we need to tap the reforming power of local groups like Fight for Peace,
To divert young people away from the gangs, the drugs, the violence…
So their lives are better and our streets are safer.
Because, our first duty is always to protect the public.
We’re investing £4 billion to deliver 18,000 extra prison places…
We need the extra cells to restore some honesty in sentencing,
And incarcerate those who threaten the public with serious harm.
Take the case of Timothy Deakin.
In 2013, he was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months, for biting another man’s ear off.
But he was released automatically half-way through his sentence.
Eight months later, he stabbed to death a 27-year old father …
Leaving behind a devastated family.
That’s just plain wrong.
So, right now, we’re passing a new law through Parliament,
For violent and sexual offenders… we’re ending the automatic half-way release from prison.
Of course, conference,
Most offenders will eventually be released from prison.
So, for those who are serious about taking that second chance to turn their lives around,
We must do more to support them.
You may remember the Clink scheme,
A restaurant set up at HMP High Down in 2009.
Training offenders in their kitchens,
To give them the skills to get a job when they are released.
The Clink now operates in 8 prisons,
And the prisoners who take part are a third less likely to re-offend …
Because if you give someone a job, if you give them something to lose …
They’re much less likely to return to crime.
So, this year, I’m trebling the Clink scheme, and extending it to another 17 prisons.
And I say to any employer with skills shortages, come and talk to us.
Because we need more employers willing,
Under the right conditions,
And with the right kind of vetting for those involved,
To work with us to train and take on ex-offenders.
To help businesses plug staff shortages,
And to help us reduce re-offending.
Next, we’re expanding the use of tech to protect victims and reform offenders.
Women who have been the victim of sexual attacks can give virtual testimony,
To avoid having to face the assailant in person.
And we’re investing in modern GPS tracking,
So we can better monitor offenders released on licence …
To make sure they turn up to work,
Keep away from their victims,
And stay on the straight and narrow.
We also know that 39% of violent crime is linked to alcohol.
Now, game-changing innovation in sobriety tags can test whether someone has been drinking every 30 minutes.
We piloted the scheme.
And, because offenders know they’ll be caught if they breach an alcohol abstinence order … 95% comply,
With 1,500 offenders taking that positive step forward …
Towards cleaning up their act,
And creating a brighter future for them, their families and their communities.
I want to expand their use,
And deliver the same technology for offenders on drugs.
Friends, there is one area where we must do a whole lot better.
Like you, I was shocked by the harrowing murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.
These cases have sparked a national outpouring of fear and anger,
Because they go to the heart of the kind of society we want to live in
Making our communities safer,
So that women can walk home at night,
Without having to look over their shoulder in fear …
As Justice Secretary, that’s my number one priority.
In July, we launched our Violence against Women and Girls Strategy …
With a dedicated policing lead reporting directly to the Home Secretary.
We’re investing £30 million to make the streets safer at night,
We’re introducing a 24/7 rape and sexual violence hotline.
We will transform the way the justice system treats violence against women
From the time it takes to examine a mobile phone in evidence
To the ordeal vulnerable victims face at trial,
And we will take the Victims Code, and turn that guidance into law
To make sure that in every case, for every victim
Their voice is heard, and they see justice done.
It’s a team effort, ladies and gentlemen, and I’m blessed with the very best …
In Kit Malthouse, Vicky Atkins, Lord Wolfson,
James Cartlidge, Tom Pursglove, Scott Mann,
Joy Morrissey, Julie Marson and Mike Wood.
All supporting the crime fighters across our justice system,protecting the public and cutting crime.
As for the Labour party, they’ve got a Shadow Home Secretary who voted against extra funding for the police.
They’ve got a Shadow Justice Secretary who opposed our stop and search reforms to clear our streets of knives.
And Labour voted en masse against tougher sentences for child murderers and rapists.
Labour would dismantle our ability to fight crime.
Only the Conservatives will stand up for the police, the victims and the British public.
And there’s one other big change the public want to see.
Too often they see dangerous criminals abusing human rights laws.
In one case, a drug dealer convicted of beating his ex-partner,
A man who hadn’t paid maintenance for his daughter,
Then successfully claimed the right to family life to avoid deportation.
Conference, it is absolutely perverse that someone guilty of domestic abuse …
Could claim the right to family life to trump the public’s interest in deporting him from this country.
We’ve got to bring this nonsense to an end.
So, today I can tell you that, under this Prime Minister and before the next election,
We will overhaul the Human Rights Act
To end this kind of abuse… and restore some common sense to our justice system.
Conference, Labour will fight us all the way.
They’re out of touch, they’ve got no plan.
But we know that it’s our mission as Conservatives:
As we build back better from this pandemic,
To bring criminals to justice,
To give hope to the victims of crime,
And to stand up for the firm but fair, common sense, British justice …
That the people of this country deserve.