A true victims' champion.
Payne's appointment if anything seems to be a government attempt to deflect flak. Having already buttered her up by giving her an MBE in the New Year's honours, she's doubtless to be more inclined to defend the government than say, a Helen Newlove. She's already stated that she thought she was treated excellently by the system, while Newlove complained bitterly about her experience. Whenever a tabloid now complains about how shoddy the criminal justice system is, they can point to Payne and say look, we are doing something, honest!
While Blair's mission to "rebalance the justice system in favour of the victim" has been quietly abandoned under Brown, again thankfully, Payne's appointment is still the hint that the government is beholden to the view that the criminals have it all their own way and that prison is now comparable to a stay in a more regimental, same-sex Butlins. Louise Casey's report last year, the introduction of the "community payback" jackets, and Payne's own view that it's the criminals who have all the organisations supporting them, similar to comments by Jack Straw late last year about the "criminal justice lobby", are all part of the government's attempts to try to fight this increasingly popular opinion while still giving succour to it. Along with the deliberate suffocation of individual liberties, the casual attitude towards things such as the principle of being innocent until proven guilty, as well as the increasing implication that rights are things which only criminals and terrorists have, this all invariably leads to the same ultimate conclusions: that prison works, that it's better to be safe than be sorry and that suggesting the opposite is approaching seditious. The CJS can and should be improved, and victims' rights as well as those of the accused have to be respected, but nothing whatsoever is to be gained by pretending that until convicted one has more than the other.