Police are being instructed to make fewer arrests due to lack of prison space, according to an internal document seen by the Times. This comes a week after another emergency measure, Operation Early Dawn, was introduced due to prison overcrowding. The Ministry of Justice is blaming the prison population increase on the barristers’ strike – this is wrong.

In response to recent reports, Bar Council Chair Sam Townend KC said: “The Ministry of Justice has - again - blamed the criminal barristers’ action for causing the prison population crisis. This is wrong. 

"The true cause is a long-term hike in the demands the Government has placed on the criminal justice system such as new offences and longer sentences while at the same time starving it of the resources needed to service even existing demands. The Government is in charge, not the legal professions, and it should show that it takes criminal justice seriously by investing to meet the demands it has imposed.”