Unduly Lenient Sentencing (ULS) Scheme

This week the Government announced that a further 14 crimes are to be added to the Unduly Lenient Sentencing (ULS) scheme.

The ULS scheme allows anyone, including the victim of a crime or a member of the public, to appeal to the Attorney General for a sentence to be reviewed and possibly increased if it is deemed to be too lenient.

Since I became an MP in 2010, I have campaigned to get the scope of the ULS scheme extended and I welcome this news.

The scheme already includes crimes like murder and terrorist offences, and over the years it has been extended. This latest announcement goes even further to include many more offences including stalking, harassment, controlling and coercive behaviour and child sexual abuse.

Adding more offences to the ULS scheme addresses the imbalance that exists when defendants can appeal against sentences they deem too tough, but victims cannot appeal against sentences deemed too lenient.

Widening the scope means that if a defendant receives a sentence that is unduly lenient, any member of the public can appeal by contacting the Attorney General.

Last year, the scheme saw 99 criminals have their sentences increased following a review, however there have been numerous occasions where people have tried to appeal against a lenient sentence and been told they cannot because the offence did not fall under the remit of the scheme.

On 30 occasions in the first 6 months of this year attempts were made to review sentences that were outside of the scheme but will now be included because of this announcement.

People need to know that when judges get the sentence wrong and they are unduly lenient, it is no longer the end of the matter and sentences can be reviewed and increased. We need to ensure it is the criminals who are under pressure and not the victims.