August 11, 2019 / 9:52 PM / a month ago

UK PM Johnson orders sentencing review for dangerous offenders

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched an urgent review of sentencing of criminals on Sunday, aiming to keep law and order high on the political agenda after he promised 10,000 extra prison places and 20,000 more police officers.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech outside Downing Street in London, Britain July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Picture

The focus on crime and other domestic issues before Britain is due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 has fueled speculation that Johnson is planning to call an election.

The prime minister’s office said on Sunday the review would focus on whether violent and sexual offenders were serving sentences that reflected the severity of their crimes.

Johnson, who replaced Theresa May last month, said that to ensure confidence in the system, the punishment must truly fit the crime.

“We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released,” he said in a statement.

“This ends now. We want them caught, locked up, punished and properly rehabilitated.”

Johnson will host senior police officers and leaders from the probation and police services on Monday to discuss his plan.

Earlier on Sunday he announced another 10,000 prison places, at a cost of 2.5 billion pounds ($3 billion), and said police would be given more powers to stop and search the public.

Johnson has repeatedly said Britain will leave the European Union by the end of October with or without a new divorce deal.

But he has a wafer thin majority in parliament - his predecessor May failed three times to win the backing of lawmakers for her agreed deal - and that and a flurry of spending pledges have sparked talk of an election later this year.

($1 = 0.8310 pounds)

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Keith Weir

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