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City MP ‘slams’ Home Secretary for awarding zero percent pay rise to Police

Stephen Morgan MP has today written to the Home Secretary saying that her position is “untenable” following a vote of no confidence from the Police Federation, and demanded action on police pay while setting out key areas in which Priti Patel has failed the police. 

The letter follows the Police Federation of England and Wales declaring yesterday it had ‘no confidence’ in the Home Secretary due to her failure to allow the Police Remuneration Review Body to consider awarding a pay increase to Police Officers. 

This is not the first time that the police have been let down by the Home Secretary. During the early stages of the vaccine rollout, the Home Secretary publicly stated that police officers should be prioritised for receiving the vaccine.

When it was revealed that age and vulnerability, and not profession, would be prioritised for vaccine roll-out, the Police Federation stated that they felt a “deep sense of betrayal”. 

In recent weeks, the Home Secretary has been accused of misleading the House of Commons when she said that she had consulted the Police Federation in the work of developing the Clauses relating to Public Order in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Yet the Police Federation have confirmed that they had never provided either a written submission or been consulted upon the issues of protest. 

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill also legislates for the creation of a Police Covenant. Labour has long argued that it is inappropriate for a Government Minister to Chair the Police Covenant.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“It is the height of hypocrisy for the Home Secretary to praise the police in public with warm words, but let them down so badly when it comes to meaningful action. So it is no surprise that the Police Federation have taken the extraordinary step of confirming that they have lost confidence in Priti Patel.

“Our local Police service is one of the most poorly supported by central government, but the Home Secretary’s recent actions makes her position now clearly untenable. Police deserve nothing less than urgent action from the Prime Minister, which must include opening negotiations on a fair police pay rise and work to reconstitute the Police Covenant.

“That is why I have written to the Home Secretary today to ensure this happens and will continue to lobby Government to secure the fair deal our police deserve.”

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Portsmouth MP doubles down to tackle local anti-social behaviour as he ‘welcomes’ national plan

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed Labour’s national Safer Communities plan today, with pledges to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

Slamming the “twisted priorities” of the Conservative Party, Starmer will reiterate Labour’s commitment to scrap Boris Johnson’s vanity yacht project and redirect the £283m cost to communities blighted by anti-social behaviour.

Over the coming weeks, Labour’s Safer Communities campaign will engage with residents up and down the country about antisocial behaviour in their community. The campaign will also outline how Labour would work towards ending violence against women and girls, and reform rights for victims of crime.

Highlighting the impact cuts to policing and justice under the Conservatives, Starmer will warn that “every person and every family have a basic right to feel safe in their community, but under the Conservatives things are only getting worse”.

Labour’s plans to change course and make our communities safer include:

  • A new £283m fund for areas blighted by high levels of anti-social behaviour, redirected from the Prime Minister’s vanity yacht project. The additional funding could be used for surge funding for police officer and PCSOs, for helping councils fund enforcement or to pay for additional CCTV.
  • Strengthening of legal protections for victims of anti-social behaviour to give victims of persistent, unresolved anti-social behaviour the same rights that the Labour Party is proposing to enshrine for victims of crime.
  • A set of proposals to end violence against women and girls, including increasing sentences for rape and stalking, reviewing sentencing for all domestic abuse, and better support for victims of rape and sexual violence – delivering where the Conservatives have failed to step up.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The government’s priorities are completely backward. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of pounds on vanity projects, Labour would invest that money into tackling issues that matter to communities in Portsmouth and across the country.

“Our city has had historic problems in tackling anti-social behaviour and related issues, only made worse with one of the mostly poorly funded local police services in the country, but this plan would get Portsmouth back on track and has my full support.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, also said:

“This summer, Labour will campaign for safer communities. That means more police to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour, and dangerous driving. It means restoring youth projects and treatment services, and it means real support for victims.

“Labour will always prioritise keeping you, your family and your community safe.”

In April, Mr Morgan joined up with ‘Operation Nautical’, a dedicated policing response to keep communities safe along Southsea seafront and neighbouring areas in Portsmouth this summer.

The Portsmouth representative also regularly joins the Police on local patrols and has lobbied Government for fairer Police funding for Portsmouth through a range of written parliamentary questions and letters to the Minister, and meets regularly to discuss concerns with the district commander. In May, the Portsmouth MP launched a petition to call on Government to get more bobbies on the beat in the city.

 

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Portsmouth MP joins Labour’s vote to force government to protect victims  

Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party today forced a vote in the House of Commons on a series of measures to address the crisis in the justice system created by a decade of Conservative cuts and court closures.

It comes as the backlog of serious criminal cases in the Crown Courts sits at an unprecedented high of more than 57,000 cases – and while prosecutions and convictions for rape are at record lows.

In its Opposition Day Debate, Labour forced a vote calling on the government to create more Nightingale Courts to reduce the backlog; to enshrine victims’ rights in law; to introduce the measures in Labour’s Green paper on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls; as well as to force the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, to update the House in person on the progress the Government has made in reducing the court backlog by 22 July.

 The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

 “Inaction is complicity.

“A decade of government cuts and court closures has helped create a rocketing Crown Court backlog and an unprecedented low in convictions for serious crimes like rape. The Conservative Party’s failure to address these damning failures is letting victims down.

“The British public now needs the government to enact Labour’s proposals to enshrine victims’ rights, to protect women and girls from violence, and to fix the backlog of criminal cases.”

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Give us our bobbies back

Stephen Morgan MP is calling on the Home Secretary to fund our police service fairly and give us back the bobbies Tory governments have taken from our city.

A decade of cuts means Hampshire has lost more than 1,000 police officers since 2010, and we remain 400 short despite recent increases.

Police workforce figures show our constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

This year’s police funding settlement confirms a £21.9m real-terms cut in funding for Hampshire Constabulary over the past decade.

Ministers are heaping the burden onto local taxpayers by raising the council tax precept, instead of funding our safety directly.

These cuts have real consequences for our city, and our safety. Crime has risen 15% since 2016, with home burglaries and weapon possessions nearly doubling.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable recently confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

If, like Stephen, you want safer streets and more bobbies back on the beat, sign his pledge:

Thank you for signing our pledge. Stephen Morgan MP and the Labour Party will use the personal information you provide for the purpose of the ‘Give us our bobbies back’ campaign. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please visit: www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/privacy-policy

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Stronger rights for victims of anti-social behaviour are needed says City MP as huge increase in number of people affected over past decade revealed

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed demands for stronger rights for victims of anti-social behaviour as analysis reveals a huge increase in number of people affected over the past decade

New analysis by Labour reveals that two fifths of Crime Survey (CSEW) respondents said they had experienced anti-social behaviour (ASB) in their local area in the past year – the highest since questions on ASB were included in the CSEW.

This is equivalent to 19m people experiencing some form of ASB in 2019-20, up by 1m in a year and 5.5m more than 2011-12.

Every area in England and Wales has seen an increase in the number of people experiencing ASB over the past five years.

Stephen Morgan MP, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, added:

“We are living through a victims crisis. Over a quarter of all crimes aren’t being prosecuted because victims are dropping out of the process entirely. That means that 1 million victims every year are being failed by the very system designed to protect them. 

I know from my postbag the impact anti-social behaviour is having on our communities. That is why I continue to take action to tackle the issues we face in Portsmouth working alongside the police and other agencies. But it is vital that Government plays their part too and ensures fairer funding for Hampshire Constabulary and delivers investment in preventative services in our city.

 I welcome Labour’s Victims Law that’s ready to go to help those affected by anti-social behaviour.

It makes victims unignorable in a system that increasingly overlooks their needs. Now it’s up to the Government to put politics aside and implement it without delay.” 

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:

“The shocking rise in the number of people experiencing anti-social behaviour is a huge cause of concern for families and communities across the country.

“People deserve to feel safe and secure in their neighbourhoods and town centres, but under the Conservatives police numbers have been slashed, violent crime has risen to record levels, and anti-social behaviour has been left unchecked.

“Labour will work to put more police on our streets and would act where the Conservatives have failed and introduce a new Victims’ Law that would give victims of anti-social behaviour the same rights as victims of crimes.”

 

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City MP welcomes launch of ‘Operation Nautical’ to ensure a safe summer

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed the launch of a dedicated policing response to keep communities safe along Southsea seafront and neighbouring areas in Portsmouth this summer.

‘Operation Nautical’ will see officers working alongside a number of other agencies across the city and increasing patrols in areas where there is the potential for higher rates of anti-social behaviour as the weather gets warmer and government restrictions begin to ease.

Welcoming the initiative ahead of warmer weather, Stephen Morgan MP said:

“I know from my postbag the impact anti-social behaviour has on the lives of constituents and I am pleased the police and partners are listening to concerns I have raised on the need for a proactive, joined-up response.

In liaison with the District Commander, and other agencies, I am pleased this initiative is being launched now to help prevent the problems we have seen year on year at the Hotwalls, Southsea Commons and at other locations in our city’s green and open spaces.

I will be following this initiative closely and will continue to call on the police and council to do all they can to make sure our communities stay safe this summer”.

Police in Portsmouth will work alongside Hampshire’s Marine Unit, Motiv8, Active Communities Network, Portsmouth City Council wardens, Ministry of Defence police, Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, street pastors in the city, local councillors, businesses and our local residents on a joined up response to a safe return to socialising outdoors.

Operation Nautical will cover the seafront from Old Portsmouth to Eastney, as well as parks within the city and Southsea Common. Neighbourhood policing teams will be upping patrols in these areas, engaging with members of the public to ensure everyone is staying safe over the summer period.

This weekend the Portsmouth South MP will be going out on patrol with Street Pastors as the new Operation comes into force to see how the initiative is working on the ground.

Portsmouth South Inspector, Louise Tester, added:

“With the weather warming up and the government’s current road map out of lockdown allowing for increased outdoor interaction, we know we will see higher footfall in our popular outdoor spaces, including Southsea seafront and the common.

“We want our communities to feel safe as they begin to venture out more often and we are pleased that Operation Nautical will help to give people that reassurance.

“We will have dedicated resources patrolling these summer hot spots each day, offering reassurance to our communities and deterring anti-social behaviour.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve all been able to meet with small groups of friends and family outdoors, and this will no doubt provide a welcome boost to many of us after what has been a very long and difficult winter.

“While we want people to enjoy being able to gather with friends and family again, we ask them to do it safely while abiding by the regulations and remembering the rule of six or the two household rule when meeting outdoors.

“Our officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage in the first instance, however enforcement action will be taken for blatant or repeated regulation breaches.”

“We urge the public to stay safe and continue treating each other with respect and patience as we move through the roadmap as laid out by the government.”

If you have any concerns regarding any crime in these areas over the summer, do speak to one of the patrolling officers or call 101.

 

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Portsmouth MP blasts Home Secretary for cuts to local police funding

Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Home Secretary today on how residents in Portsmouth would continue to receive the same level of service from local police after cuts to local budgets.

The Portsmouth MP criticised the Home Secretary for failing to address the £21.9m real-terms hole in funding in Hampshire Constabulary’s finances, despite recent increases.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth currently has the lowest number of police officers per 100,000 than any other police service in the country, prompting fears as to how the same level of local service and crime prevention can be delivered.

It comes as the Chief Constable recently told the Police and Crime Panel underfunding means responses had to be ‘rationed’, suggesting some services may have to be dropped to meet other priorities.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said,

“Our local police service has for too long faced cuts by successive Tory governments, which has led to a serious impact on police numbers in Portsmouth.

“It is completely unacceptable in a densely populated area like ours to have the lowest number of police officers per 100,000 in the country.

“This is far from the ‘levelling-up’ agenda the government promised, and it is clear from my postbag that cuts are causing consequences in communities across Portsmouth.

“I will continue to pile on the pressure on Government to properly fund policing in Portsmouth and ensure a fairer funding deal for Hampshire Constabulary.”

Mr Morgan has consistently taken action over the consequences of the lack of fair funding for the local police force, voting in favour of a motion in the House of Commons that would have seen an increase in the number of police officers and the restoration of neighbourhood policing teams in Hampshire.

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Stephen Morgan MP: Why I am voting against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

The tragic death of Sarah Everard has instigated a national demand for action to tackle violence against women.

Women should be able to feel safe they leave their home. But men’s behaviour towards women continues to stop that from being a reality. Sarah Everard’s case and the spike in domestic abuse cases this past year have shown a turning point is desperately needed.

The last thing the government should be doing is rushing through poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest.

The Bill includes a new criminal offence to tackle “unauthorised encampments” targeting traveller communities, new laws to break up protests if they merely cause ‘serious annoyance’, as well as the frankly backward provision that increases the penalty of damaging a statue to 10 years, but meanwhile the current minimum sentence for rape only being five years.

Now is the time to unite the country and put in place on long overdue protections for women against unacceptable violence, including action against domestic homicides, rape and street harassment – as well as tackling the misogynistic attitudes that underpin the abuse women face.

Instead, the government has brought forward a Bill that is seeking to divide the country. It is a mess, which could lead to harsher penalties for damaging a statue than for attacking a woman.

That is why I will be voting against the Bill.

Labour is calling on the government to drop its poorly thought-out proposals and instead work across party to legislate to tackle violence against women which is forcing so many across the country to live in fear.

We will also look to work with the government to deliver the important areas that have long been promised, like tougher sentences for attacks on frontline workers and increased sentences for terrorists.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

Information on the Bill and Labour’s perspective:

Tackling violence against women

  • In its once in a generation sentencing reform bill, the government should work with Labour to tackle the crisis of violence against women that is forcing women across the country to live in fear.
  • Rather than using legislation to try and divide the country, the government should seek to unify people against this endemic violence.
  • They should start by increasing minimum sentences for the most serious criminals like stalkers and rapists, while working to drive up the appallingly low levels of convictions for sexual violence and domestic abuse.
  • Labour has outlined a package of measures that it argues should be included in the “once in a generation” chance for sweeping reforms to sentencing and protections for women and girls. The measures Labour proposes include increasing the minimum sentences for rapists and stalkers, creating a new street harassment law, introducing a Whole Life Tariff for anyone found guilty of abduction and sexual assault and murder of a stranger, announcing a Review to toughen up sentences for domestic murderers and making misogyny a hate crime.
  • Tackling the misogyny that drives this violence and helping to end the intimidation and harassment so many women experience daily is long overdue. Violence against women and girls comes in many forms – from harassment or abuse in workplaces, public spaces and the home, through to serious violence such as rape and homicide. The government should work with Labour to promote campaigns that target and educate perpetrators to change behaviours, highlighting examples of good practice and encouraging reporting by bystanders and third parties.
  • The government could be making these changes in the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill. Now is the time to act.

Creating a new street harassment law:

  • The details will follow in our amendment which we will lay after Second Reading. However, this will be based on the law France introduced in 2018.
  • In France public harassment – including things like catcalling, unwanted sexual attention or degrading comments – can result in an on-the-spot fine (in France this is €750).
  • The law has been successfully implemented in France – within the first year, there were more than 450 fines issued.

On tougher sentences for rape and stalking:

  • The detail of this will follow when Labour lays its amendments after second reading.
  • We want to increase the minimum sentences for rape, which is currently too low at 5 years.
  • We want to increase the minimum sentences for those who have carried the most serious types of stalking and harassment which includes fear of violence and who have carried out their acts with the specific intention of causing maximum fear and distress to their victims.

Isn’t the minimum sentence for rapists is already being extended in the bill?

  • No. The government has outlined measures that would mean those who get discretionary life sentences (not all those convicted of rape) spend longer in jail before becoming eligible for parole and being released on license – it isn’t changing the length of their sentence as such.
  • Labour’s proposal is specific to rape and increases the minimum sentence for anyone found guilty of rape.

On Whole Life Tariff for abduction and sexual assault and murder of a stranger:

  • Labour proposes amending clauses 101/ 102 of the bill to add a Whole Life Tariff for anyone found guilty of “abduction and sexual assault and murder of a stranger”.
  • Someone who abducts, assaults and murders a victim with a certain amount of pre-medication should be eligible for a Whole Life Order.
  • We must properly protect women, be tough on sentencing crimes that disproportionately happen to women.

Domestic Homicide

  • The current approach to sentencing seems to forget the context in which many female victims are killed; in the home with a weapon taken from that location. The minimum tariff in such cases is 15 years whereas it’s 25 if a weapon is brought to the scene of a crime. Similarly, the emphasis placed on the use of ‘weapons’ – an aggravating factor – forgets that in many DA circumstances (taking into account the common differences in strengths between victim and perpetrator) fists or hands for strangulation, are all the weaponry needed. This is symbolic of a systemic problem – that VAWG seems to be seen as less serious than other forms of violence.
  • Labour is calling for an Independent Review to look at increasing sentences for domestic homicide, as well as looking into implementing a Statutory Defence for Domestic Abuse Survivors.

Making misogyny a hate crime

  • Labour proposes adding misogyny to the list of hate crimes, alongside those that are homophobic, biphobic and transphobic, or based on race, disability or religion.
  • Hate crime is criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility, or demonstrates hostility, towards a characteristic of the victim. It is not the same as ‘free speech’ which requires both parties to be able to equally participate and engage. A hate crime can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property.
  • Following an amendment to the Upskirting Bill, the Government instructed the Law Commission to carry out a review of all hate crime, and to consider incorporating misogyny as a new category for hate crime. They note there were 67,000 incidents of hate crime based on sex in 2018 – 57,000 of which were targeted at women. Without recognising the role of misogyny in the experiences of women, our legal and criminal justice system masks the true extent of hostility based on sex.
  • 11 out of 43 police constabularies in England and Wales have made misogyny a hate crime, trialed the policy or are actively considering implementing it.

Police Covenant

  • It has taken the Government nearly three years from inception to putting this onto the statute books – three years when our Police have needed support.
  • In May 2018, the then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, at the Police Federation Annual Conference created a formal Frontline Review to hear from ideas and feedback from frontline policing.
  • In July 2019, a Home Office report outlined that more needed to be done to support police officers and staff. The Home Office subsequently announced a police covenant.
  • In September 2019, the current Home Secretary, announced consultation into the police covenant.
  • The police covenant has finally being introduced into this Bill.
  • It also requires that the Home Secretary make an annual report to Parliament addressing the key issues on physical; protection, health and wellbeing and support for families.

Assaults on Emergency Service Workers – ‘Protect the Protectors’

  • The initial offence on assaults on emergency service workers was spearhead by Chris Bryant MP in his Private Members Bill that received Royal Assent in 2018. He was supportive with his Bill by Holly Lynch MP, who has been a strong advocate of protecting our protectors for several years.
  • The Private Members Bill made assaults on emergency service workers an offence that with a successful conviction would result in a prison sentence up to 12 months or a fine, or both. It also added that these assaults could be used as an aggravating factor when brought together with other offences.
  • Emergency Service workers are defined as constable, PCSO, Police staff, National Crime Agency Officer, prison officer, prison custody officer, custody officer, fire and rescue service, those that provide search and rescue services, those that provide NHS services.
  • This Private Members Bill had support from across the House. During the passage of the Bill it was argued by Labour’s Chris Bryant and Holly Lynch that the sentence should be 2 years rather than 12 months.
  • The Conservative Government Minister, Rory Stewart, stated that:

“Let me say that one issue about increasing the sentence to 24 months is that we would, in effect, be saying that somebody who assaults an emergency worker or police officer receives not twice but four times the maximum sentence that would be received were the attack to be on an “ordinary” victim. Is there not a question of proportionality in terms of the relationship between the equality of citizens in general and their right to be protected as victims, and the special status of a uniformed officer, if it is suggested that an increment of four is better than that of two?”

  • However, two years after this Bill received Royal Assent the Conservative Government decided that a consultation was needed to increase the maximum sentence to 2 years, something that had been argued and supported by Labour.

The Lammy Review

The Lammy Review (2017) set out 35 recommendations to address racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system. Since then, the government has adopted a handful of the recommendations in full, as well as implementing some other recommendations in part. The Labour party is calling for the government to implement the Lammy Review in full – and go further – to address the disproportionality that runs across the criminal justice system. In the PCSC Bill, the government addresses some issues highlighted in the Lammy Review.

While these modest reforms are welcome, the Labour party thinks the government must go significantly further by implementing the Lammy Review in full. Meanwhile on many other of its measures the PCSC Bill will make disproportionality significantly worse.

The pilot of problem-solving courts

  • Problem solving courts consider alternatives to prison sentences, by using the complaints process as an opportunity to fix problems, not simply make judgements about wrong-doing. The Lammy Review discussed the importance of a ‘problem-solving’ approach in courts as well as prisons. For example, an investigation may conclude that the complainant had had property stolen, but not due to prejudice. A problem-solving approach would not just deliver a verdict, but ensure that the property is returned swiftly and make recommendations about how to avoid a repeat of the problem in the future. A simple way of encouraging this approach would be for all complainants to state what they want to happen as a result of the investigation. Labour welcomes the government’s pilot of problem-solving courts.

Reform of the criminal records disclosure regime

  • The disclosure of criminal records plays an important part in protecting the public, particularly children and vulnerable adults. However, the disclosure regime must balance the need to protect the public while promoting offender rehabilitation and respecting an individual’s right to privacy.
  • The Lammy Review recommended reform of the criminal records regime. Given the disproportionality of the outcomes of the criminal justice system, criminal records have a disproportionate impact on Black, Asian, and ethnic minority people’s future employment. The PCSC Bill proposes limited criminal records/DBS reform, by reducing disclosure periods of certain offences. Labour welcomes these measures, however calls for the government to go further, by introducing a system whereby criminal records can be sealed from employers.
  • The final report of the Lammy Review, published in 2017, recommended that “individuals should be able to have their case heard by a judge or a body like the Parole Board, which would then decide to seal their record”. The report also recommended the UK Government should commission a study on the costs of unemployment among ex-offenders to ensure the public understands the case for reforming the criminal records regime.
  • Crucially, those who cannot demonstrate they have changed would not have their records sealed. Neither would those whose crimes are so serious – be they violent or sex-related – that the judgment body deems their record relevant to employers. Secondly, sealing criminal records from employers does not mean they are sealed in all contexts. Records would still show in situations involving children and vulnerable people, as well as specific work contexts that require high levels of security clearance. Crucially, police and courts would still have access to an ex-offender’s record. The aim of Labour’s proposals is to replace a blunt instrument with a more flexible approach in order to reflect the complexity of criminal justice.

Recognising the remand of children as a last resort

  • Individuals held on remand are awaiting court hearings after being charged with an offence. Remand in youth justice shows some of the highest levels of disproportionality in the criminal justice system. 87% of children held in custody on remand in London are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background. In England and Wales, the figures show the percentage of BAME children is 57%, while 33% were black. BAME people account for 15.5% of the population in England.
  • Labour welcomes the measures in the Bill to amend the LASPO framework to tighten the tests the courts must satisfy to decide when to remand a child to custody. We agree with the policy is to encourage courts to impose custodial remand only where absolutely necessary, while ensuring the public remains safe.

Increases of Sentencing

Whole Life Orders extended to cover the premeditated murder of a child.

  • Labour agrees with the government that this is an appropriate increase in sentencing to recognize the seriousness of the crime.

Increasing the sentences for certain young adults who kill.

  • The tragic murder of Ellie Gould highlights the failure of the justice system to impose strict enough sentences on those who murder in a domestic setting. The current approach to sentencing seems to forget the context in which many female victims are killed; in the home with a weapon taken from that location. The minimum tariff in such cases is 15 years whereas it’s 25 if a weapon is brought to the scene of a crime. Similarly, the emphasis placed on the use of ‘weapons’ – an aggravating factor –  forgets that in many DA circumstances (taking into account the common differences in strengths between victim and perpetrator) fists or hands for strangulation, are all the weaponry needed. This is symbolic of a systemic problem – that VAWG seems to be seen as less serious than other forms of violence. Labour welcomes the fact that under the proposals sentences will be increased for killers like that of Ellie Gould. However, we argue the government must go further to address inadequate sentencing on domestic homicide.

Toughening sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving.

  • Death by dangerous driving continues to take too many innocent lives. Labour welcomes the government’s proposals to increase sentences for those who cause death by dangerous driving. Stephanie Peacock MP deserves praises for her work campaigning to increase the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving. This will help dissuade people from taking unnecessary risks.

Widening laws which prevent adults in ‘positions of trust’ from engaging in sexual relationships with young people under 18.

  • Sarah Champion MP highlighted the issue of the loophole in the law that allows for adults working in a position of trust to have sex with 16 and 17 year olds. Whilst it is rightly illegal for teachers and social workers to have sex with the 16 and 17 year olds they work with, this is presently not the case for sports coaches and faith leaders. Due to the power imbalances in these relationships, this allows for prolific sexual offenders to use their position to groom children for sexual purposes. Labour welcomes the government’s proposals to close these loopholes and praises Sarah Champion for highlighting this injustice.

 

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City MP calls on Home Secretary to give assurances after 400,000 criminal records ‘lost’

Stephen Morgan MP has written to the Home Secretary seeking urgent clarification of the impact of the reported loss of 400,000 police records has had on Portsmouth.

The letter sets out a number of key questions for the Conservative Home Secretary, including, how many people have been affected in Portsmouth what work is being done with police to identify gaps in the system and what the impact will be on vital safeguarding issues, such as domestic abuse and stalking.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“This fiasco is incredibly serious and the Conservative Government’s incompetence is putting the safety of people at risk in Portsmouth.

“Unfortunately, it seems inevitable that as a result of this mess criminals will escape punishment, victims will miss out on justice and our community will be less safe.

“I’ve raised this as an urgent matter with the Home Secretary demanding information of the full impact on Portsmouth and vitally how we can fix this very serious problem.”

Mr Morgan will be submitting a series of parliamentary questions to understand the local impact of the data loss.

 

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City MP calls on Government to tackle racial disparity in the national youth justice system

Stephen Morgan MP today urged Ministers to assure black, Asian and minority ethnic communities that racial disparities in the justice system are being tackled.

The parliamentary representative made the intervention by questioning the Justice Secretary in the House of Commons.

Shockingly since the Lammy Review of 2017, fewer than half of its recommendations have been implemented by Government, as well as a number of other recommendations from several other reviews on related issues.

This year, protests around racial injustice reached a defining tipping point following the murder of George Floyd in America. Since then, events have taken place across the world against racial injustice, including in Portsmouth.

The action today follows a range of steps the MP has been taking in the House of Commons and in Portsmouth to take forward concerns from constituents.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“Racial disproportionality in the youth justice system continues to be a stain on this country.

“Since the Lammy Review the situation of racial disparities in the youth justice system has continued to deteriorate and government stop dragging their feet and take action now.”

This comes as the Coalition of Race Equality Organisations (CORE) shared their fears over the government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities should not be used as ‘a tool to distract the public from inaction on race inequality.

The City MP has vowed to continue to take action on this and similar concerns, liaising with local groups.