This week over 26 million people have had their first vaccination and 2 million have had both doses. I had the AstraZeneca vaccine last Saturday at St James’ Hospital. They are very efficient there as they are in every vaccination centre. The fears of blood clot has not affected the numbers that are being injected thankfully. You are very likely to get blood clots if you get covid so it is important that people have the jab.
This week I did not get to speak in Parliament although I put it for every statement. It is done on a ballot and can be very frustrating. I am looking forward to getting back to normal Parliamentary working when we can bob up and down to ask a question of a Minister. The Police, Crime, Sentencing Court Bill had its second reading. The Labour Party was going to abstain but decided to vote against it which was disappointing as there is plenty of measures in it which strengthen laws and help victims get the justice that they deserve. I talked to the Police Federation this week and the police and charities working with victims are very pleased with the new clauses which will now go into committee state and no doubt will be amended.
One of the issue that is being brought up in emails and the media is the right to protest. “Serious disruption” is a well-established and defined concept. The changes bring “static” protests in line with equivalent provisions that apply to marches / processions under s12 Public Order Act. A protest does not cause serious disruption just because it may “[distract] employees in a nearby office”. Nor would a peaceful vigil in a park cause serious disruption.
Examples of things that could cause serious disruption might include:
* blocking a bridge or road to stop pedestrians and/or traffic from getting through;
* preventing a train from leaving a station;
* physically preventing a printing press from operating because you disagree with the editorial position of that publication.
By voting against the Bill Labour are trying to prevent the government from:
Extending the scope of offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 relating to the abuse of positions of trust legislation to capture additional roles, such as sports coaches. A key measure to protect women and children from sexual abuse.
Encouraging the police to impose strict conditions on bail in high harm cases, introducing new pre-charge bail time periods for suspects and introducing a new duty to seek the views of victims on pre-charge bail conditions. These reforms will be known as ‘Kay’s Law’ in memory of Kay Richardson who tragically lost her life at her ex-partner’s hands while he was released under investigation, rather than on bail. He committed suicide before he could be convicted.
Extending the offence of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence. A key measure to protect children from child sexual abuse.
Strengthening the management of sex offenders, including by enabling positive obligations and electronic monitoring requirements to be imposed on those who pose a risk through Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders.
Taking measures to ensure criminals will receive a tougher punishment and spend longer in prison. The Bill will deliver on commitments in the Sentencing White Paper; we are ending the automatic halfway release point from prison for an additional cohort of serious sexual and violent offenders; making a Whole Life Order the starting point for the premeditated murder of a child and preventing the automatic early release of prisoners who become of significant public protection concern.
Introducing a serious violence duty on specified authorities to work together to prevent and reduce serious violence. A key measure in the fight against violent crime.
Placing duty on chief officers of police, local authorities and clinical commissioning groups or local health boards to undertake offensive weapons homicide reviews to learn the lessons from such deaths and help prevent future homicides. A key measure in the fight against violent crime.
Confer new powers on the police to assist them in locating human remains, to help provide closure where possible to families with missing loved ones.
Introducing new Serious Violence Reduction Orders, giving the police stop and search powers to target adults convicted of knife and offensive weapons offences.
Extending Whole Life Orders for the premeditated murder of a child as well as ending the automatic early release of dangerous criminals – keeping the worst offenders behind bars and off our streets. These measures send a clear message that those who commit the most heinous crimes will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. As well as Whole Life Orders, new powers announced today will halt the automatic early release of offenders convicted of serious violent and sexual offences – ensuring they spend at least two-thirds of their sentence behind bars.
Introducing life sentences for killer drivers – restoring faith in our justice system that the punishment must fit the crime. Drivers who cause fatal accidents while speeding, racing, using a mobile phone or who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol will now face life sentences, ensuring they feel the full force of the law for their selfish actions that cause the deaths of loved ones on our roads.
Doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker from 12 months to two years. In line with our manifesto commitment, this legislation doubles the maximum sentence for those convicted of assaults on frontline staff including police officers, firefighters and paramedics.
Introducing tougher community sentences – ensuring offenders give back to society. The measures will double the amount of time offenders can be subject to curfew restrictions, rising from 12 months to two years.
I hope that this has helped explain the very important bill going through. This combined with the Domestic Abuse Bill going through the Lords for final amendments at the moment will help victims.
Have a great weekend.