A central investigations team linking a regional publisher’s national and local titles has launched a campaign to get tougher sentences for dangerous drivers.
Johnston Press has announced the launch of its Drive for Justice campaign with a report revealing the truth behind Britain’s deadly road crimes and the scandal of lenient sentencing in the UK.
The report has been produced by the company’s new investigations team, which features journalists from across its portfolio.
The team is being led by multi-award-winning investigative reporter Aasma Day, of the Lancashire Evening Post, with the campaign featuring in national daily the i as well as several of the company’s largest regional dailies.
Others involved are Chris Burn, from Sheffield daily The Star, Cahal Milmo, from the i, Ruby Kitchen, from the Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post, Ben Fishwick, from Portsmouth daily The News, Philip Bradfield, from the Belfast News Letter, and group editorial design director Tim Robinson.
Said Aasma: “The team feels it is crucial to ensure reports like Drive for Justice are absolutely front of mind – that though our papers and websites we’re raising awareness of the issues that really matter in our communities.
“These are local stories of national interest and our ambition is to pool our resources and talents to enable us to deliver quality and exclusive content on important issues that all of our readers really care about.”
The investigation has revealed that despite hundreds of convictions for causing death by dangerous driving, no-one in the UK has ever received the maximum sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.
It reveals that drivers who kill have been sentenced to an average of just four years in prison with dozens escaping jail altogether.
Among the aims of the campaign, JP wants the government to re-work sentencing guidelines to give the worst offenders tougher sentences, have all culpable deaths treated as manslaughter and see more and longer driving bans handed out to those who kill or seriously injure others on the roads.
Similar campaigns are also currently being run by Newsquest dailies the Bradford Telegraph & Argus and The Press, York.
Jeremy Clifford, Editor-in-Chief at Johnston Press, said: “Investigative journalism – and holding those in authority to account – is at the very core of our business and of the communities we serve. We’ve seen the impact and benefits that campaigns supported by local titles can deliver and the lives that can change.
“By sharing high quality, powerful special reports, data journalism pieces and investigations across our portfolio – which now includes the i paper – we can deliver compelling investigations and demand real results that can ultimately change the law and people’s lives.”