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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.

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City MP backs USDAW’s ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’

Stephen Morgan MP has backed USDAW’s campaign ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ and called for greater protections for shop and retail workers following a visit to a Portsmouth Co-op today.

This comes as violence, threats and abuse against retail workers doubled during the height of the Covid-19 crisis earlier this year.

The shop and retail workers union will not be running the campaign in its usual way this year, but has called for shop and retail workers to share their real-life experiences during this period via a survey.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“Shop and retail workers both here in Portsmouth and across the country have been the backbone of local communities during this pandemic.

During this crisis our key workers have been there to support us when we needed it most and it is only right we now do the same for them.

That’s why I am proud to support USDAW’s ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ to give shop and retail workers the protections they need during this crisis and beyond”.

During his visit, Co-op employees demonstrated the new body-cameras that the supermarket’s shop workers are now wearing to protect both its customers and employees.

In recent months, some supermarkets and have faced challenges, both in shoplifting and some customers not following government Covid-19 guidelines.

Mr Morgan, added:

“Any further support for our key workers that have helped to feed the nation through this difficult period I of course welcome.

This new measure will no doubt help to protect Co-op shops, its customers and crucially its workers from future challenges and I am glad to see its introduction here in Portsmouth.”

USDAW has also set up a petition that has called on the government to legislate to make it specific offence of abusing, threatening or assaulting a retail worker.

 

 

 

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Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill

A small number of constituents have got in touch with me over recent days about the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill currently being debated in Parliament.

As this Bill has received some media attention, I thought it would be helpful for all Portsmouth people to have some information about this and Labour’s views on the matters this legislation attempts to deal with.

This Bill is about “covert human intelligence sources” – undercover agents – who are working to disrupt some of the vilest crimes imaginable, including terrorism, violent drug gangs, serious and organised crime and child sexual exploitation.

It’s vital that our security services are able to disrupt this activity, prevent further crime and bring people to justice. Since March 2017, MI5 and Counter Terror Police have together thwarted 27 terror attacks.

It cannot be right, though, that this has been happening in the shadows and without being subject to a clear legal framework or robust accountability. I believe this activity should be in law, with strong safeguards.

The CHIS Bill is not perfect, but it is an improvement on the status quo. Without it, undercover sources would either not be able to operate – therefore removing a vital tool for the security services to prevent very serious crimes – or would continue to operate in the shadows, away from the legal oversight.

Crucial to these safeguards is the fact that the Human Rights Act is on the face of the Bill. This means that no criminal authorisation can go beyond its limits, in effect this prohibits murder, torture and sexual violence. As the Bill continues to progress through Parliament, next in the House of Lords, Labour will also argue for even stronger protections.

As this Bill does not have retrospective power, it does not impact upon the search for justice for the wrongs of the past. The Bill does not impact on the legitimate work of trade unions. The 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, contains significant safeguards that prevents interference with legitimate trade union activity: the Labour Party secured changes to the Bill including Section 20, which is a clear protection for Trade Unions.

The last Labour Government banned the practice of blacklisting and a future Labour Government will build upon that and stand beside those campaigning for justice. The next Labour Government will ensure the release of papers for both Shrewsbury 24 and the Cammell Laird shipyard workers. The next Labour Government will also order a full public inquiry into the events at Orgreave in 1984 and its aftermath. We stand with the victims of the terrible, disgraceful ‘spy cops’ scandal. Labour is committed to implementing the recommendations of the Mitting Inquiry.

I will continue to work with others to press the Government on vital safeguards, we will put the public’s safety first as part of our commitment to Labour’s role in keeping individuals, families and our country safe.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

 

 

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Have your say on anti-social behaviour in our city’s open spaces

In recent weeks we have seen a number of incidents at Southsea Common, seafront, Hotwalls and at other open spaces across the constituency. This is a chance to have your say on how anti-social behaviour and recent crimes are affecting our community and being dealt with by the council and police.

By filling out this short survey, you will help Stephen continue to take action and make sure authorities take our concerns seriously.

Quick survey

How would you rate the best way of dealing with anti-social behaviour? (1 being a poor way and 5 being an excellent way)

Selected Value: 1
Selected Value: 1
Selected Value: 1
Selected Value: 1
Selected Value: 1

Thank you for filling in this survey!

 

 

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Bringing down crime at Southsea Common, seafront and Hotwalls

Following concerns raised with Stephen Morgan MP over recent weeks about anti-social behaviour and crime at Southsea Common, the Hotwalls, other public spaces including parks in Milton, Fratton, and across the whole constituency, Stephen continues to take action on behalf of constituents to ensure the police, council and other bodies are doing all they can to address issues.

As result of further conversations, lobbying and liaison with senior officers today, the following is an update on efforts by key public services and what we can expect over the coming days to manage the situation:

Hampshire Constabulary efforts

Stephen is in regular contact with the District Commander and his senior leadership team and receives a full briefing on the police’s response to the coronavirus crisis weekly.

The police locally have dedicated Covid patrol teams, who will be resourced for Portsmouth this weekend. They also have response and patrol teams with a patrol plan to focus upon locations, where the community have guided the force to consider in relation to groups gathering and breaches of Covid-19 guidance compliance taking place.

Community Wardens will also be patrolling across the city including supporting the Hotwalls area and Southsea Common.

Working with the city council additional security will be provided in some locations and a community advisers foot team will be pro-active in engaging with the public again on social distancing.

Street Pastors will also be providing support engaging with members of the public, and the Ministry of Defence police will be on duty assisting across the constituency.

Hampshire Constabulary – update for 26 June 2020

  • Two more people have been arrested following incidents in the area, one for failure to comply with a S35 dispersal notice and another for obstructing / resisting a police officer in execution of duty, assaulting an emergency worker (police officer) and possession of a class B drug.
  • The local police are implementing a dispersal order for the zone identified and will extend the order for another 48 hours.
  • This means the order will be in place from midday today (Friday 26 June) and it will remain in place until midday on Sunday 28 June and could be extended further.
  • The order gives us the power to order someone to leave the designated area and not return for 24 hours to prevent crime and disorder. Failure to comply with this is a criminal offence.
  • Additional police patrols are taking place in Southsea and Old Portsmouth.

Portsmouth City Council – update for 26 June 2020

  • Community Advisors will continue to be on patrol across the seafront both Saturday and Sunday they will be pro-actively supporting safe social distancing, handing out bio-degradable bags to encourage people to take their litter home with them and supporting safe use of BBQs in the correct areas.
  • Open Spaces Mitigation measures work remains on-going to reinforce and reduce the risk of further traveller incursion onto the public open spaces.  A new delivery of larger boulders is expected very soon which will be used to reinforce the common and provide more of a barrier for ingress.  Further additional posts are also due to be put in place to prevent vehicle movement across public footpaths where practical.
  • Grounds Maintenance Team have been extremely busy despite the heat.  All the summer bedding in now in including a dedicated ‘NHS thank you’ bed at the end of Avenue de Caen.  The team are also working hard to manage the increased levels of rubbish being left in the area.  The council has increased both the number and the capacity of the bins right across the seafront and are also currently in a trial with staff volunteering to work expanded hours to be able to provide a litter clearing operation until 7pm in the evening.  They are also encouraging the public to dispose of BBQs in the designated bins so the hot coals are safely managed.
  • Deploying additional security in the Hotwalls area to have a presence and to positively engage with young people. The council is aware that the more regular youth services will be stepping up to have some deployment in areas such as the Hotwalls and Ferry Road areas.

 

 

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Tackling recent issues in Portsmouth’s public spaces

Stephen Morgan MP is continuing to take action on concerns raised by constituents over inconsiderate and anti-social behaviour on Southsea Common, the seafront, Hotwalls and other public areas across the constituency.

Whilst the management of the city’s green and open spaces rests with the city council, the Portsmouth South MP has been concerned by the level and frequency of reports on rubbish dumped, lack of social distancing, inconsiderate parking and large gatherings which have led to drug use and anti-social behaviour in certain parts of Portsmouth.

Concerns have been raised that issues which are often seasonal have been acerbated due to the coronavirus crisis. Whilst some progress has been made, complaints and incidents continue and appear in some cases to be getting worse.

As result of further conversations, lobbying and liaison with senior officers, the following is an update on efforts by key public services and what we can expect next to manage the situation, which Stephen is encouraging as an MP:

Update – 2 June 2020

Prioritising issues, the plan now includes:

  • A specific district patrol plan has been developed in response to recent reported incidents resulting in a focus from the police’s response and neighbourhood teams
  • Further (section 32) dispersal orders in place (Hotwalls, 2-3 June)
  • Additional Special Constables from the police’s response teams will join neighbourhood teams to tackle local incidents and increase visible presence
  • A dedicated Covid Operation with a patrol car and officers is forming part of patrol plans
  • Additional support from the MOD Police in patrolling the seafront
  • A request for an additional Sergeant and team to support the patrols has been made to help increase a presence in problem areas.

Alongside this, the police continue to work with Street Pastors, a private security firm employed by the city council to patrol the Hotwalls and the city council’s community warden service.

Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Police hold responsibility for keeping public spaces safe, and a cross-departmental group is problem solving issues raised in recent weeks. Stephen expects this group to take swift and successful to help stop the issues being encountered.

Stephen Morgan MP is continuing to work with different agencies to prioritise concerns, residents’ views are heard and ensure action is taken. Constituents are also encouraged to share problems and solutions with their local ward councillors.

You can see more information about the engagement that the city MP has had on this issue here: https://www.stephenmorgan.org.uk/keeping-us-safe/

Please continue to report individual incidents in the usual way:

  • Littering/flytipping: here
  • Anti-Social Behaviour: here
  • Hampshire Police: here
  • Parking: here
  • The public should continue to report crimes in the usual way by calling 101 and for emergencies 999.

 

 

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Covid-19: How Portsmouth’s services are working hard to keep us safe this weekend

Following concerns raised with Stephen Morgan MP over recent days about anti-social behaviour on Southsea Common, the Hotwalls, other public spaces including parks in Milton, Fratton, and across the whole constituency, Stephen continues to take action on behalf of constituents to ensure the police, council and other bodies are doing all they can to address issues.

As result of further conversations, lobbying and liaison with senior officers today, the following is an update on efforts by key public services and what we can expect this weekend for the Bank Holiday to manage the situation:

Hampshire Constabulary efforts

 Stephen is in regular contact with the District Commander and his senior leadership team and receives a full briefing on the police’s response to the coronavirus crisis weekly.

The police locally have dedicated Covid patrol teams, who will be resourced for Portsmouth this weekend. They also have response and patrol teams with a patrol plan to focus upon locations, where the community have guided the force to consider in relation to groups gathering and breaches of Covid-19 guidance compliance taking place.

Community Wardens will also be patrolling across the city including supporting the Hotwalls area and Southsea Common.

Working with the city council additional security will be provided in some locations and a community advisers foot team will be pro-active in engaging with the public again on social distancing.

Street Pastors will also be providing support engaging with members of the public, and the Ministry of Defence police will be on duty assisting across the constituency.

Portsmouth City Council efforts

Stephen has also been liaising with the city council over what they can do to address issues being raised.  Officers have assured me they are very aware of the gathering of groups in recent days but inform me the vast majority of users of both the seafront and parks spaces are families and the general public practicing effect social distancing which having picnics, BBQs or taking exercise.

The council are taking forward our concerns with some additional measures to ensure public open spaces are as safely accessible as possible.

They have arranged a wide range of staff to be present across the seafront and city parks and specifically this weekend there will be officers supporting and responding to any physical damage all across the seafront from beach huts to notice boards; teams managing the deployment of resources across the open spaces; grounds maintenance providing the cleansing service across the grassed areas; a Community Advisor team – walking patrols who operate from the Hotwalls to Canoe Lake offering pro-active advice on social distancing and general information and the Seafront Management responsive to issues as they arise

In addition to these, council staff at PCC have also contracted additional security to have a presence at the Hotwalls area, especially when we feel the weather and tides are likely to be attractive to visitors. They are scheduled to have a presence in this area throughout the weekend.

On top of this they have are deploying 350+ additional high visibility signs to support social distancing right across the seafront area. The signs are gradually being enhanced with further messaging to support the recent government changes to how people can use spaces, and these are being rolled out from today.

The council’s social media will also remain very active from encouraging only sensible involvement in water activities in light of there currently being no lifeguard presence across the seafront, to ensuring the public are clear on the road closures.  The road closures remain in place to support safer social distancing and to support the increased numbers of cyclists using the seafront area.  A specific Bank Holiday campaign is asking people to please follow the guidance, stay home as much as they can – and do not visit Portsmouth yet.

The council has instigated a daily checking of provision such as beach huts and sites where fitness equipment is located, again to ensure the correct messaging out to the public and also to ensure that any fencing or closure measures we have had to put in place remain secure.

We are very aware of the gathering of groups of young men on the Common in the last couple of days but up the vast majority of users of both the seafront and parks spaces are families and the general public practicing effect social distancing which having picnics, BBQs or taking exercise.

What enforcement powers do authorities have?

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. If you breach these regulations, the police may: instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse; instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so; or; take you home, or arrest you, where they believe it necessary

The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures and we expect the public to act responsibly, staying at home in order to save lives.

However, if the police believe that you have broken the law – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice for £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days). If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount will increase to £120 and double on each further repeat offence, up to a maximum of £960.

Stephen understands the government are keeping this under review and will increase the penalties if necessary to ensure compliance.

Update on incidents in recent days

Four people have been arrested following a public order incident at Southsea Common. Officers were called at 6.09pm on Thursday 21 May to a report of a fight amongst a large group of people. Shortly afterwards, we received a report that a group of males were trying to gain access to a property in Nightingale Road. Officers arrived and four people were arrested.

Those arrested are:

  • A 21-year-old man from Essex, arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place
  • Two 17-year-old boys from Portsmouth, both arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent and possession of a psychoactive substance with intent to supply
  • A 16-year-old boy from Portsmouth, arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent and possession of a psychoactive substance with intent to supply

All four remain in police custody. A meat cleaver and bottles were seized. Three boys attended Queen Alexandra Hospital following this incident. No serious injuries were reported.

As a result of this incident and the associated anti-social behaviour, a dispersal order has been authorised, which will run from 4pm today (Friday 22 May) until 3:59pm on Sunday 24 May and covers the areas of Southsea Common and immediate surrounding roads and The Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth.

The order gives a police officer the power to order a person to leave the area for a 48-hour period with no return. Refusal to comply with the order is a criminal offence.

The order, which has to be authorised by a police inspector, is made under the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Section 34).

Government support to Portsmouth

Stephen continues to lobby Government to make sure local public services have the resources they need to respond to the pandemic. He remains concerned by how stretched local services are and the impact this has. He has written to the relevant Secretary of State to urge for the department to give the council and police extra power and resources to deal with the anti-social behaviour being undertaken in the constituency. He will continue to work with others on this important lobbying work.

Separately the Government have published new guidance on enforcement this week which Stephen is keen to ensure local service providers utilise as quickly as possible.

Updated 23 May 2020 at 08.00

 

 

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Stephen Morgan MP: Fight for equality far from over

Sunday 17 May marks International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOBIT), a day of celebration to mark the anniversary of the decision, in 1990, to remove homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organisation.

This year’s anniversary comes at time of rising hate crime committed against the LGBT community and a third of LGBT people reporting that they are scared to display public affection for ‘fear of violence’.

There has been much widespread criticism of the way in which hate crime cases are dealt with under the current Government. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has found inadequate responses in 89 of 180 cases it reviewed.

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has been campaigning for some time for greater government action to stop the increase in hate crime in society.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

Today’s anniversary represents a global annual landmark drawing attention to the tenacity and strength of the LGBT rights movement, the battles fought and won, and the struggles ahead.

Against the backdrop of rising hate crime, last year’s string of heinous public attacks and a rise in right-wing populism, mean that this show of solidarity is needed more than ever.

In highlighting to the public, businesses, local authorities and media the discrimination still affecting the LGBT community, today is a reminder that we must come together to say to government that complacency will not be tolerated when it comes to hate.”

The rate of LGBT hate crime per capita rose by 144% between 2013-14 and 2017-18. In the most recent year of data, police recorded 11,600 crimes, more than doubling from 4,600 during this period.

Hate crimes against transgender people have nearly quadrupled in the last five years, to 2,333 reports last year, whilst campaign group Stonewall said 81% of people who experienced LGBT hate crime did not report it to the police.

The Portsmouth South MP has said that with increased pressures amid Covid-19 and Pride celebrations later this year cancelled across Britain, the need for continued action is greater than ever.

The city MP added:

“Portsmouth’s growing Pride festivities have understandably been curtailed due to Covid-19. With the backdrop of increasing hate crime, we cannot allow this to deter us as a city from marking LGBT achievements and campaign for the protections still needed.

We must also see leadership from government in addressing this surge in hate crime plaguing our society and a focus on increasing people’s confidence in reporting hate crimes with people knowing they will be treated seriously by public bodies.

I will continue to work with others on this issue of concern and put pressure on government where further action is needed.”

 

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City MP calls on employers to tackle workplace sexual harassment

 

Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, is calling on the government to take immediate action to end sexual harassment in the workplace.

Despite it being 10 years since the Equality Act, TUC research shows that half of all women and two thirds of LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed at work.

The existing laws rely on individuals reporting sexual harassment, however the TUC has found four out of five people still don’t feel able to tell their employer about it.

There is currently no legal duty on employers to take proactive action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Stephen Morgan MP is pressing the government to ensure the new Employment Bill requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect workers from sexual harassment and victimisation, including setting up an independent regulator, and asking constituents to join them by signing a TUC petition.

The Portsmouth South representative is also calling on employers to work with their local trade unions and review their workplace policies to stamp out sexual harassment at work, provide proper training for staff.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“All workers in Portsmouth should feel safe in their working environment and free from sexual harassment. But research shows that it is still a huge problem, affecting millions of people across the UK.

The current legislation is clearly not working. We need to stand together to press the Government to do everything it can to make it stop.

I urge all my constituents to join me in showing support for change and consider signing this important petition.”

Rachael Maskell MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights Secretary, said:

“In 2020 far too many people are still being subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace and the current legislation simply isn’t working.

The new Employment Bill is the perfect opportunity for the government to tackle this and ensure that the law provides greater protection from harassment at work.

We’re asking people to sign the petition and help us make sure the UK is a safe and positive place for us all to work.”

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:

“More than half of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment at work. That is not right.

Sexual harassment has a huge impact on victims’ careers and lives. But the government is dragging its feet and is not making the legal changes needed to fix the problem.

We are calling for a change to the law so that responsibility for preventing harassment at work sits with employers, not victims. This would shift the burden of tackling sexual harassment away from those who suffer it. And it would help end toxic workplace cultures that silence those who’ve been harassed.

Unions have been leading the way in tackling sexual harassment. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment at work should join a union to make sure they are protected and respected at work.

The petition can be found here: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/uk-gov-act-to-prevent-sexual-harassment-at-work