Last night I welcomed tougher sentences for the most dangerous criminals and a range of measures to reform our justice system.
This bill delivers on many manifesto commitments I made in 2019 and promises I have made to individual constituents, having met with the victims of crime, their families and campaign groups who have fought tirelessly for tougher sentencing.
It includes tough new measures including:
- Extending Whole Life Orders for the premeditated murder of a child as well as ending the automatic early release of dangerous criminals.
- Halt the automatic early release of sexual offenders – ensuring they spend at least two-thirds of their sentence behind bars.
- Introduces life sentences for killer drivers
- Creates Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders to better protect women and extends offences and sentences for sex crimes.
- Doubles the maximum sentence for assaulting emergency workers to two years
- Ends sports coaches and religious figures from being able to have sex with young people aged 16-18.
- Introduces ‘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. It encourages police to impose strict conditions on bail in high harm cases, introducing new pre-charge bail time periods for suspects and introduces a new duty to seek the views of victims on pre-charge bail conditions to keep them safer.
- Extends the offence of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence to better protect children from sexual abuse.
- Strengthens the management of sex offenders, including electronic monitoring requirements.
- Gives new powers to the police to locate human remains, helping solve crimes and giving friends and loved ones a better chance of gaining closure.
- Ends the desecration of our war memorials to better honour those who gave all to protect our lives and liberties.
- Criminalises trespass to prevent unauthorised encampments, the likes of which we’ve sadly seen a lot of in Carshalton and Wallington.
- And much more!
I am disappointed that Labour and the Lib Dems are voting against this. This legislation means tougher sentences for child murderers, sex offenders, killer drivers and those attacking emergency service workers. By campaigning against the Bill, they are also campaigning against these measures. As ever, they are weak on crime.
What this bill doesn’t do is somehow stop people’s right to protest – these are just falsehoods.
“Serious disruption”, “noise”, “annoyance”, “nuisance”, etc, are well-established and defined concepts in case law. The changes bring “static” protests in line with equivalent provisions that apply to marches / processions under s12 Public Order Act, as indeed was recommended by the independent Law Commission.
For example, 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.
Here’s a fact sheet on the issue explaining in detail and answering some key questions: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-crime-sentencing-and-courts-bill-2021-factsheets/police-crime-sentencing-and-courts-bill-2021-protest-powers-factsheet.