Boris Johnson has been criticized by a prominent businessman for plans to humiliate offenders by making them work in fluorescent jacket chain gangs.
The Prime Minister has unveiled plans to put more people doing community service in high-visibility vests while they clean up trash and graffiti.
When launching his new crackdown on crime, Johnson said he wanted a more visible way to show offenders working on the streets.
If you are guilty of anti-social behavior and condemned to unpaid work, like a lot of people are, I see no reason why you shouldn’t be in one of these jacket chain gangs. fluorescent visibly paying your debt to society, he said.
So you will see more.
But James Timpson, who runs the shoe repair and key cutting chain Timpsons, which is one of the largest employers of ex-offenders in the country, denounced the PM plan on Twitter.
Instead of forcing offenders to wear high-visibility vests in chain gangs, how about helping them find real work instead? he wrote.
In my stores we employ a lot of ex-offenders and they wear a shirt and tie. Same people, different approach, much better result.
Timpsons’ brother Edward is a Tory MP and the cabinet has been cited often by the government for its social enterprise work.
Activists and some Labor MPs have also criticized the plan, which Johnson first launched when he ran for mayor in London in 2008, but was not implemented.
Civil rights group Liberty said the proposal would not make communities safer, but was designed to create more stigma and division and was a short-term blow that would cause long-term generational harm.
The Home Office itself had not used the term chain gangs in its advertisement.
He preferred to say that he would make unpaid work more visible by forcing offenders to clean streets, alleys, estates and open spaces, and ensuring that justice is served.
The Johnsons Beating Crime plan, which also included proposals to expand controversial arrest and search powers, follows Labors’ own campaigns to highlight growing levels of anti-social behavior across the UK.
At the launch, the PM appeared to admit the problem was getting worse, but partly blamed the Covid lockdowns.
Speaking at Surrey Police Headquarters, he said: I think the lockdown has resulted in antisocial behavior and we have to deal with it. This is why we support the police as we are.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost UK and has been updated.
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