Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Criminals on Probation Murder 200 since 1998

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Criminals on Probation Murder 200 since 1998

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS CECIL

MORE than 200 offenders on probation have committed murders under Labour.

The figures will fuel concerns that dangerous inmates are being released too early.

The number of murders committed by criminals while under community supervision has fluctuated between 40 and 26 a year.

Since 1998, 1,190 serious crimes such as killings, rapes and armed robberies have been committed by offenders on probation. These offences include 211 murders.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said: "It is shocking that so many people let out on probation have gone on to commit murders. Along with a number of high-profile cases recently, it demonstrates the Government's failure to protect the public through its prisons policy."

Charles Clarke yesterday unveiled measures to tighten up the monitoring of offenders on probation.

The Home Secretary is particularly concerned about the failings in the probation service in London which were highlighted by the murder of City banker John Monckton.

Mr Monckton, 49, was stabbed to death during a burglary at his home in Chelsea in November 2004.

Damien Hanson, who was jailed for 36 years for Mr Monckton's murder, had been on early release for attempted murder at the time of the attack. His accomplice Elliot White, who was given an 18-year sentence for charges including manslaughter, was on bail for drug charges.

Four probation officers were suspended over blunders in the monitoring of Hanson and White.

The highest number of such murders, 40, was in 1998, falling to 29 in 1999, 24 in 2000, and 26 in 2001, before rising again to 37 in 2002, then falling to 29 in 2003 and 26 in the 2004/05 financial year. Figures were not collected before 1998.

Mr Clarke is proposing to improve probation supervision with restrictive orders similar to those used to monitor sex offenders. Dangerous offenders could be banned from certain public areas or face limits on how much alcohol they can drink. …

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