Thu, 20 June 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Press releases

Boris Johnson orders all ministers to start tackling crime as he launches new Whitehall taskforce

3 min read

Boris Johnson will aim to "cut the head off the snake" and crack down on crime with a new cross-government taskforce.

The Times reports that the Prime Minister will personally head up a new Cabinet committee aimed at combating knife crime and serious violence in a bid to restore the Conservatives' reputation as the party of law and order.

The committee on criminal justice - modelled on a similar set-up used for key Brexit decisions - will be led by the Prime Minister and also include Home Secretary Priti Patel, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Chancellor Sajid Javid.

According to The Times, it will aim to make sure all Whitehall ministries play their part in tackling crime.

Mr Buckland is said to have told the Cabinet on Tuesday that "every department should be a criminal justice department", while Ms Patel vowed to "cut the head off the snake" and toughen Britain's borders in bid to to halt a flow of drugs into the country.

The move came as Mr Johnson vowed to eradicate county lines gangs, who often use children to distribute drugs sold over the phone or online to different parts of the country.

The Prime Minister told the BBC: "I want to see crime come down. I want to see the county lines drugs gangs wound up. They are reducing the quality of life for people across our country, they are killing young kids."

Mr Johnson has already vowed to set up a wide-ranging Royal Commission on the criminal justice process, with The Times reporting that its launch could come next month.

"He said that we have historically been strong on law and order but in recent years been less clear on it," a Cabinet source told the paper.

"He said that he wanted a return to clarity on it and addressing the concerns of the British public.”

The promised crackdown comes as the Government battles a surge in knife crime, which is currently at its highest level on record, with some 44,076 offences involving a knife logged last year.


The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, has meanwhile urged ministers to oversee a radical shake-up of the way police forces are funded as the Government seeks to live up to its election promise to put 20,000 more officers on the beat.

Police Federation chairman John Apter told the PA News agency that forces needed "at least" a decade of funding certainty as he called for an end to annual reviews of their resources.

Speaking ahead of the Budget, which is slated for March 11, Mr Apter said: "The Chancellor - who was the home secretary before - he knows. He’s told me he understands the pressures, the difficulties that policing has been under.

"Well, he’s now got to deliver."

And he added: “I am pinning an awful lot of hope into what this current Government are saying.

"Some people are calling me naive for doing that but we’ve got to start somewhere and I will work with this new Government, with the Prime Minister, with the Home Secretary, until they give me cause not to, and at the moment the relationship is a good one."

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: "The Government urgently needs to explain how they are going to make good on their manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional officers and what resources they are going to provide. 

"There is a danger that the pledge on police numbers goes the same way as the pledge on nurses, where new recruits are not extra police at all. This would be another Tory failure on policing, after they were responsible for this crisis by axing more than 20,000 police officers."

PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe


Political parties