Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill Report Stage

As you will be aware, the Bill contains a large number of measures with the central aim of cutting crime and building safe communities.  At the last election, I was elected on a manifesto to restore confidence in the criminal justice system and this Bill delivers that pledge made to my constituents. 

This Bill seeks to equip the police with the powers and tools they need to protect themselves and the public, while overhauling sentencing laws to keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer, and placing greater emphasis on rehabilitation to better help offenders to turn their lives around and prevent further crimes.

This legislation builds on the work already underway across Government to deliver a smarter, fairer justice system as the UK builds back safer from the Coronavirus pandemic. I am particularly encouraged by the hundreds of millions being invested in our court system to deliver speedier justice and reduce delays. It is also vital that victims receive the support they need and deserve, and Ministers are investing unprecedented funding for victims support services. The funding package for the police and the recruitment of 20,000 police officers alongside the £4 billion investment in extra prison places will ensure these reforms and successful. 

I am confident that the measures in this Bill are necessary and proportionate. It is important to remember that the Bill is about tougher sentences for the most serious offenders, better protection for the police and a greater focus on ensuring offenders can turn their lives around and rehabilitate back into society. 

On your point about travellers, I am supportive of the approach being taken by the Hampshire Police & Crime Commissioners Office who have a proactive attitude.  Jointly with the Hampshire Constabulary and District and County Authorities, the PCCO is working on solutions to the under-provision of sites for Gypsy, Roma & Traveller communities in the county.  As a Constituency, we have a wide range of events and housing which are legally obliged to comply with licensing and planning.  Regrettably I have on a number of occasions had to respond to constituents who have experienced damage and disruption related to unauthorised traveller activities.  During 2019/20 it was estimated Councils alone spent over £3 million resolving illegal encampment issues across the County.  Often it is the local residents who clear up.   The travellers who abuse the rights of others are in the minority and upset the law abiding members of their own community.