Crime to ‘cost criminals more’

By Cassie Chambers

Criminals will soon have to pay more for their crimes, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Justice today.

The government unveiled a policy that will force criminals to pay increased compensation to their victims, a move expected to generate upwards of £50 million a year.

"With offenders currently only contributing around a sixth of the funding that supports victims' services, the balance is clearly wrong," justice secretary Kenneth Clark said.

The new funds will primarily come from increasing the victim surcharge offenders must pay and extending the charge to apply to criminals who are given a conditional discharge.

The measure comes as part of a package designed to change the way victims are treated and compensated by the criminal justice system.

Commenting on the holistic shift in policy, the justice secretary added: "These changes provide victims of crime with better, more personalised support and force offenders to take more responsibility for their crimes."

Other measures in the package include using police and crime commissioners to deliver more localised services, moving away from a 'one size fits all' model for victim services and ending criminal injuries compensation payments to criminals with unspent serious convictions.

Clarke emphasised the importance of redirecting the system to focus more on victims, adding: "Victims too often feel themselves to be an afterthought for the criminal justice system…I believe these new measures will change that and provide the support victims actually need."