Death penalty call after murder

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THE murder of two police officers in Manchester this week has led Lord Tebbit to call for a the death penalty.

The Conservative peer, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, is against arming police but said the deterrent of ‘the shadow of the gallows’, should be re-examined either for ‘limited categories of murder, such as that of a police officer, or more generally’.

Lord Tebbit, writing in his Daily Telegraph blog, said: “The arguments against capital punishment for murder have always been thin.”

He said the case put forward by groups including Amnesty International that the state should never take a life, made a nonsense of having armed police units.

He also said figures since the death penalty was abolished in England in 1969 show about three convicted murderers a year go on to kill again.

Both Tim Passmore, the Conservative candidate in the Suffolk Police Crime Commissioner elections, and Labour candidate Jane Basham are also against arming all police.

Ms Basham said it would destroy the present system of ‘policing by consent’ while Mr Passmore backed the police themselves, after a survey found 82 per cent of them were against the move.

But they differed over he death penalty.

“As a sanction for something that is clear cut, it is certainly something we should consider,” said Mr Passmore.

But Ms Basham said there was no evidence it served as a deterrent.

“I think we moved away from that a long time ago for moral and social reasons,” she said.

Neil Durkin, from Amnesty International, said evidence in the United States showed the death penalty did not work.

“In the US, if you are a person of means who can afford a good solicitor then there is a good chance that you won’t receive the death penalty compared to somebody who is poorer

“And in Texas, where they have the death penalty, the homicide rate is quite a lot higher than New England where they dont have the death penalty,” he said.

“The majority of murders happen in the heat of the moment when people aren’t thinking about the consequences.”