Johnston Press Launches Investigations Unit

Johnston Press has launched a new investigations unit with a hard-hitting report revealing the truth behind Britain’s deadly road crimes and what the publisher describes as the scandal of lenient sentencing in the UK.

Led by multi-award-winning Lancashire Evening Post investigative reporter Aasma Day, the unit has unveiled the findings of its Drive for Justice investigation, exposing 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 and despite a trail of shattered lives and family tragedies across the UK, culpable drivers have often walked away from court with light sentences, or none at all.

The unit, which comprises a team of journalists from across Johnston Press, have compiled case studies from across the UK – none of which have resulted in maximum sentence penalties. As well as carrying out investigations, and telling powerful human interest stories, the unit has a campaigning and lobbying role, and an online petition calling for tighter sentences and other legal changes further demonstrating the need to drive awareness around the issue will be lanched.

Aasma Day, investigative reporter and lifestyle editor at the Lancashire Evening Post, said: “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.”

Jeremy Clifford, Johnston Press editor-in-chief, 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. “

The investigation launches today with a striking front page and inside content for Johnston Press’ largest daily titles; the Lancashire Evening Post, The Yorkshire Evening Post, the Portsmouth News, the Edinburgh Evening News, the Scotsman, the Sheffield Star, the News Letter and the Yorkshire Post, as well as Johnston Press’ national newspaper i. The hashtag #driveforjusticecampaign is being used across social media.

The hard-hitting report follows Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, and coincides with this week’s National Road Safety Week, running until 27 November.