The Sentencing Council has published proposed new guidelines covering arson and criminal damage offences. The guidelines, which are now subject to a consultation, will help ensure consistent and proportionate sentencing for these offences.
The guidelines cover:
They also cover racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage offences.
The guidelines are being introduced due to existing sentencing guidance for these offences being very limited. There is some guidance in the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines (MCSG) for arson, criminal damage and racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage offences. However, there are no guidelines for the Crown Court and none for criminal damage/arson with intent to endanger life or reckless as to whether life endangered, or for threats to destroy or damage property.
The consultation on the guidelines is seeking views on various areas of the draft guideline, including culpability and harm factors and the proposed sentence levels. It will run from 29 March until 28 June and can be accessed on the Council’s website www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk. Following the consultation, a definitive guideline will be drawn up.