Police Bill Report Stage Day 4

I am very concerned about the Government undermining the doctrine that police on these islands gain their authority from the consent of the governed. Overuse of stop and search powers has deeply undermined community consent in many areas of the country and there are racial and socioeconomic disparities in who gets targeted by the police. These government severe violence reduction orders will create a new suspicionless stop and search power, and once a person is issued with one of these orders they could face unlimited interference from police officers. There should not be a power for the police to search without reasonable suspicion. Continue reading “Police Bill Report Stage Day 4”

Police Bill Report Stage Days 2&3

The last week before the Festive break had two days of Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The Lords have tabled hundreds of amendments to the original bill and Jenny spoke to amendments on the confiscation of mobile devices, child abuse sentences, road death sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, IPP sentences and Friday releases. The Report Stage of this bill will continue in the New Year. Continue reading “Police Bill Report Stage Days 2&3”

Final days of Police Bill Committee Stage

If you make protests impossible to perform legally, criminalise non-violent direct action, abolish or restrict the ability of citizens to challenge the Government in court through judicial reviews, turn people against lawyers, gerrymander the election boundaries and dish out cash in the way that looks best for Conservative MPs, that is deep, dark politics. Many of us here are not particularly political and perhaps do not see the dangers inherent in what the Government are doing. It all seems like a calculated ploy to turn all the cards in favour of an unaccountable Government that cannot be challenged in the courts, at the ballot box or on the streets. 

Continue reading “Final days of Police Bill Committee Stage”

Police Bill Day 9 of 7

We are world leading in the awful way in which we treat children. At 10, we have the lowest age in Europe for criminal responsibility – far below the suggestion from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child of a minimum appropriate age of 14. That is the average across European countries, but even China and Russia – where the UK rightly often has cause to point out human rights abuses – have higher ages of criminal responsibility than we do. Continue reading “Police Bill Day 9 of 7”

Police Bill day 8 of Committee Stage in Lords

We have abysmal conditions in many jails and they are not the place for a pregnant woman. The Howard League for Penal Reform has highlighted the fact that pregnant women in prison are routinely denied access to suitable maternity care and that babies have died as a result. Women in prison should receive at a minimum the same standard of maternity services as women outside. When we punish these women in prison, we also punish their babies, and that cannot be right. Getting this right will change the lives of prisoners and families, and have an impact for generations. Continue reading “Police Bill day 8 of Committee Stage in Lords”

Police Bill day 7 of Committee Stage in Lords

Mandatory prison sentences could lead to a repeat of what happens in the USA with their obscene rates of incarceration: nearly 1% of the American population is in prison or jail, and this is very racially unbalanced. It is easy for the Government to increase prison sentences and set mandatory minimum sentences; it is much more difficult, but more important, to deliver real rehabilitation and diversion so that people do not reoffend and we do not take up huge amounts of taxpayers’ money keeping them in prison. Continue reading “Police Bill day 7 of Committee Stage in Lords”

The Environment Act 2021

Following the debate in the Lords yesterday the Environment Bill received Royal Assent and passed into law as the The Environment Act 2021.

I am so sad and disappointed that we have got to this place: we are under pressure, because of the primacy of the other place, to pass a Bill that is not as good as the one we amended. It seems that the Government do not understand what they have done in stripping out some of the safeguards we have put in.

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Police Bill Day 6 of Committee Stage in the Lords – Road danger

At some point in history, it became acceptable for people to be killed by cars—pedestrians and cyclists. Other drivers just became collateral damage for our car-obsessed culture. There seems to be a horrific gap between the penalties for killing someone with your car and killing someone in any other way.

Road safety campaigners ask that we do not use the word “accident”, because that presupposes that it was accidental. It prejudges the situation, and that is clearly not right when something might come to court. They ask instead that we use the words “incident”, “collision” or even “crash”, but not “accident”. There is also an argument for saying that we should not use the words “road safety”, because that is the solution to the problem; the problem itself is “road danger”. We have to get our head around these differences, because it changes the way we perceive such situations.

Continue reading “Police Bill Day 6 of Committee Stage in the Lords – Road danger”