Top cop slams Hague over burglars

27 April 2000

Top cop slams Hague over burglars

By FWi staff

A SENIOR police chief has criticised William Hagues call for home-owners to be allowed greater rights to attack burglars.

Crispian Strachan, chief constable of Northumbria, said the Conservative leaders plan could incite crime rather than reduce it, reports The Independent.

Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs accused Mr Hague of “political opportunism” in the wake of the Tony Martin case.

Mr Martin, a farmer from Norfolk, was jailed for life last week after being found guilty of murdering a 16-year-old burglar during a break-in on his farm.

On its front page, the Daily Mail says the Tony Martin case “has exposed the tip of a growing iceberg of resentment” in the countryside.

The papers lead story says Mr Hague is standing firm despite criticism of his comments from political opponents, the police and the judiciary.

The Express says that Mr Hague “faced a deluge of criticism” after demanding a radical overhaul of self-defence laws against burglars.

The Guardian says the Tory leaders statement has backfired because he voted against a change in the law which could have seen Mr Martin go free.

A former Conservative minister confirmed that the Tories shelved plans to change the law when it was in power during the mid 1990s.

The Telegraph reports that some crimes in rural areas are increasing faster than they are in towns and cities.

“Behind the rosy image of country life portrayed by Tony Blair earlier this year lurked a fear of rising crime,” it says.

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