Ipswich: Shadow police minister rejects capital punishment call

SHADOW policing minister David Hanson rejected calls for a return of capital punishment during a visit to Ipswich.

And he said it would be wrong to rush to arm the police in the wake of Tuesday’s double shooting in Manchester.

But the issue of capital punishment leapt back up the political agenda after Bury St Edmunds-based Lord Tebbit called for the death penalty to be available in certain circumstances.

Conservative candidate for the job of police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said he felt there should be further debate on the issue.

He did not rule out the idea of bringing back the death penalty in some circumstances: “I do feel it is something that should be back on the agenda.

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“I think it is something that should be considered by the judiciary in certain circumstances.”

Mr Passmore said he would not want to link it to Tuesday’s tragedy – and accepted it would be best to consider this at a less emotive time.

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He will be challenged by Labour’s Jane Basham in November’s election. She agreed with Mr Hanson, whom she was accompanying in a visit to the Ipswich Rape Crisis Centre.

Mr Hanson said: “I have always voted against capital punishment because I do not think there are any circumstances under which the state should take a life.

“I understand why the families of victims of tragedies like we saw yesterday feel this way, but I do not support these calls.”

He pointed out that police remained reluctant to be routinely armed because it would change their relationship with the general public.

“Every police force has armed response teams, and certainly in London it is becoming much more common to see armed officers in places like the Palace of Westminster, at airports, and at railway stations.

“But most officers do not want to be routinely armed – and we have to guard against making any rush decisions after a tragic incident like this.”

Before taking part in last night’s debate on the future of policing, Mr Hanson visited the Ipswich Rape Crisis Centre to see how it works with women who have been victims of abuse.

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