Crime and anti-social behaviour

Mike Wood: Like other hon. Members, I wish to start by congratulating

Just as for other sons and daughters of emergency service workers, the Bill has a particular resonance for me. In the nearly 30 years that my father served with West Midlands police, he suffered various injuries. Some resulted from accidents in the line of work, but too many were the result of physical assaults: being hit around the head with a stool in a central Birmingham bar, being pulled off a police motorbike and hooligans trying to pull him off a police horse during a football riot.

Everyone in the House will agree that members of our communities have a right to choose alternative ways of life, but none of them has the right to opt out of British law. When that breaks down, not only community cohesion but respect for the rule of law and those who represent the people affected break down as well.

Mike Wood: The fact that some women are still discriminated against during pregnancy or maternity leave is both unacceptable and unlawful. Will the Minister assure the House that the Government not only take the problem extremely seriously but are looking at how laws can be better enforced to give the protection she promises?

 

Claire Perry (The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)

Mike Wood: Our West Midlands police have done a fantastic job in cutting crime and doing more with less. Will the Minister ensure that the police funding formula is reformed to deliver a fair deal for the West Midlands?

 

Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the compliance of internet suppliers of nitrous oxide with their obligations under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985.

 

Sarah Newton (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department)

Mike Wood: To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate the Church Commissioners have made of the potential cost of repairing historic windows in churches.

 

Caroline Spelman (The Second Church Estates Commissioner)

Mike Wood: To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for modern slavery.

 

Robert Buckland (The Solicitor-General)

We have the strongest legal framework in place including the Modern Slavery Act, which came into force in July 2015. The Law Officers are supporting the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Modern Slavery, and the CPS continues to see a year on year increase in the numbers of prosecutions.

It is a pleasure to follow so many distinguished speakers this afternoon. In particular, I would like to add my agreement to the arguments put forward by my hon. Friend
the Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti) and my hon. and gallant Friend

Mike Wood: This question is directed in particular to Mr Thompson. Could you tell us more about the challenges faced by the Serious Fraud Office in investigating a suspected criminal financial activity, and how the specific measures in the Bill will help you to do that more effectively? In particular, I would like to know more about how unexplained wealth orders might be expected to help in pursuing foreign officials suspected of grand corruption.

 

Mike Wood: This issue has always been of personal importance to me. For nearly 30 years, my father was a West Midlands police officer, serving in the mounted branch and the firearms unit. In the 1980s, I remember kissing him goodbye as he went off to police football matches and riots, city centre riots and, yes, Orgreave. Having seen all that makes watching footage of assaults on police officers that bit more real. It is even more devastating when the person going home injured is one’s own father.

Mike Wood: What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

 

Jeremy Wright The Attorney-General

Mike Wood: Does the Minister recognise that the basic test of fairness for the families is that they all need access to representation and that that representation needs to be at the same level as that of other parties in the inquest?

 

Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Yes, and it is important

Mike Wood: My constituency, like my hon. Friend’s, has been occupied by a number of unauthorised Traveller camps over the summer, which have caused a large amount of criminal damage and left a great deal of litter. Local residents have had to witness defecation and urination in play areas and playgrounds, and near schools. Does my hon. Friend agree that the police need better and clearer guidance on when it is appropriate to use their section 61 powers?

 

Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire

Dishonest individuals have always sought to deceive and to take advantage of the most vulnerable in society. Sadly, as our world has increasingly moved online, transforming the way we communicate, do business and live so much of our lives, many fraudsters have used the same technologies to increase their activity and come up with ever more elaborate ways of defrauding vulnerable people. Action Fraud estimates that about 70% of fraud is either conducted online or is cyber-enabled.

Mike Wood: What assessment has my right hon. Friend made of opportunities to increase apprenticeship-based routes into the legal professions and prison services to increase social mobility?

 

Elizabeth Truss The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Mike Wood: My father was a West Midlands policeman in the 1980s and spent some days policing at Orgreave. Clearly, where there is solid evidence of police malpractice, it must be dealt with effectively and with the full force of the law. Does the Home Secretary recognise the concerns of many serving and retired police officers about what they perceive to be a political campaign with a predetermined outcome?

 

Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for the Home Department

Mike Wood: Will the Minister support employers coming into prisons to offer training, so that offenders can be better placed to find a job when they leave prison and are more likely to stay out of prison?

 

Andrew Selous Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Mike Wood: What assessment has been made of the number of connections police forces have made to the child abuse image database since it launched?

 

Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I thank right hon. and hon. Members from all parts of the House who have participated in debates on Second Reading, in Committee and here today. In particular, I thank Ministers and shadow Ministers for their supportive and constructive approach. I thank
the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), who has spoken persuasively and passionately on behalf of his constituents, and my hon. Friend

Let me start with amendments 5 and 6, tabled by
the right hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr Lammy), which would either remove or raise the compensation cap. Although I fully understand his reasons for asking that the level of the cap be considered, I am unable to support either amendment. As I have stated at earlier stages in the legislative process, we simply cannot continue to have a situation in which the public purse is subject to unlimited liability.

Mike Wood: Neither police and crime commissioners nor local police forces are experts in processing claims, which is why it is important to allow those bodies to delegate the functions, particularly to loss adjusters. Provisions in clause 4(3) allow the Secretary of State to specify the persons to whom those functions may be delegated, which will hopefully achieve the objectives that the right hon. Member for Tottenham was trying to achieve through amendment 3.

 

David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate

Mike Wood: Members on both sides of the House will be pleased that the fixed charge will no longer apply from later this month, but does the Secretary of State agree that it is right that convicted criminals should contribute not only towards supporting victims, but towards the running costs of our criminal courts?

 

Michael Gove The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Mike Wood:

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Pages