UK

War Memorial Vandals Could Face 10 Years Jail Time

The new sentences will take into account the impact on the community and the financial costs.

Vandals who damage war memorials and graves in England and Wales could face up to 10 years in jail.

The new sentences will take into account the impact on the community, as well as the financial cost of the crime.

A commemorative bench dedicated to veteran was vandalised earlier in the year (Picture: Lincolnshire Police).
A commemorative bench dedicated to veteran was vandalised earlier in the year (Picture: Lincolnshire Police).

Memorials including the Bomber Command monument in London are among several vandalised this year.

There are over 100,000 war memorials in the UK, but they receive no special legal protection.

In the past, those who have attacked them have escaped with community sentences or minor fines.

But that is about to change.

War graves were smashed by vandals this year in Bradford (Picture: Hist Regeneration Group).
War graves were smashed by vandals this year in Bradford (Picture: Hist Regeneration Group).

From the first of October, judges will have more powers to jail offenders in England and Wales.

A new range of punishments will include life sentences for arson – and between 8 to 10 years behind bars for criminal damage.

The tougher sentences take into account not just the spiralling cost of repairs, but the psychological impact on the military and civilian community.

This article was updated on 4 July 2019. Originally, it was reported that vandals to war memorials could spend up to 12 years in jail, which instead is the maximum charge for carefully planned and sophisticated arson. The charge for criminal damage has been amended to 10 years.

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