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Date Title Questioner
7 Jan 2020, 1:56 p.m. Metropolitan Police Service's Handling of Non-recent Sexual Offence Investigations Alleged against Persons of Public Prominence Independent Review Baroness Cavendish of Little Venice

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Independent Office for Police Conduct took 20 months to contact Sir Richard Henriques following his recommendation for an independent inquiry.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Following Sir Richard Henriques’ review in 2016 of the handling of Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) referred a number of allegations to the then Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

On 7 October 2019, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) published the report of its investigation into three of the officers involved in Operation Midland. This report includes learning recommendations for a number of bodies, including the IOPC itself.

Having an effective police watchdog to investigate allegations of wrongdoing is crucial to public confidence. The Government welcomes recent improvements by IOPC and further plans to improve. The Government will also introduce major reforms in early 2020, aimed at increasing the effectiveness, accountability and proportionality of the police complaints and discipline systems.

At the Home Secretary’s request, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) are carrying out an inspection of the MPS to ensure learning from Sir Richard’s report and the IOPC’s investigation has been taken on board. The Government will decide whether any further steps are necessary following publication of HMICFRS’ report.

7 Jan 2020, 1:56 p.m. Metropolitan Police Service's Handling of Non-recent Sexual Offence Investigations Alleged against Persons of Public Prominence Independent Review Baroness Cavendish of Little Venice

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Sir Richard Henriques, An Independent Review of the Metropolitan Police Service's handling of non-recent sexual offence investigations alleged against persons of public prominence, published on 4 October, whether they consider the Independent Office for Police Conduct to be fit-for-purpose; and if so, why.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Following Sir Richard Henriques’ review in 2016 of the handling of Operation Midland, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) referred a number of allegations to the then Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

On 7 October 2019, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) published the report of its investigation into three of the officers involved in Operation Midland. This report includes learning recommendations for a number of bodies, including the IOPC itself.

Having an effective police watchdog to investigate allegations of wrongdoing is crucial to public confidence. The Government welcomes recent improvements by IOPC and further plans to improve. The Government will also introduce major reforms in early 2020, aimed at increasing the effectiveness, accountability and proportionality of the police complaints and discipline systems.

At the Home Secretary’s request, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) are carrying out an inspection of the MPS to ensure learning from Sir Richard’s report and the IOPC’s investigation has been taken on board. The Government will decide whether any further steps are necessary following publication of HMICFRS’ report.

7 Jan 2020, 1:55 p.m. Independent Office for Police Conduct Baroness Cavendish of Little Venice

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the performance of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC); what plans they have, if any, to improve the performance of the IOPC; and to what timescale any such improvements will be made.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is an independent organisation. Operational decisions, including the qualifications and professional experience needed by staff to carry out investigations, are a matter for them.

Since the reforms introduced by the Government to create the IOPC in January 2018, the organisation has seen substantial improvement in their operational performance. A summary of their performance for 2018/19 (the last full year for which figures are available) can be found in their Annual Report & Accounts. https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/Who-we-are/accountability-performance/IOPC_annual_report_and_accounts_2018-19.pdf

Furthermore, the IOPC’s business plan https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/Who-we-are/accountability-performance/IOPC_Business_plan_2019-20.pdf sets out how they plan to build on these improvements in 2019/20.

The IOPC’s performance is scrutinised by their unitary Board and the organisation is accountable to Parliament.

7 Jan 2020, 1:55 p.m. Independent Office for Police Conduct Baroness Cavendish of Little Venice

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what qualifications and professional experience they consider should be required of staff, apart from administrators, who work for the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is an independent organisation. Operational decisions, including the qualifications and professional experience needed by staff to carry out investigations, are a matter for them.

Since the reforms introduced by the Government to create the IOPC in January 2018, the organisation has seen substantial improvement in their operational performance. A summary of their performance for 2018/19 (the last full year for which figures are available) can be found in their Annual Report & Accounts. https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/Who-we-are/accountability-performance/IOPC_annual_report_and_accounts_2018-19.pdf

Furthermore, the IOPC’s business plan https://www.policeconduct.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/Who-we-are/accountability-performance/IOPC_Business_plan_2019-20.pdf sets out how they plan to build on these improvements in 2019/20.

The IOPC’s performance is scrutinised by their unitary Board and the organisation is accountable to Parliament.

7 Jan 2020, 1:53 p.m. British Nationality: Children Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ruling of the High Court on 19 December in the case brought by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens that there is a “mass of evidence” that the fee charged to children registering for British citizenship prevents many such children from registering British citizenship, leaving them feeling “alienated, excluded, ‘second-best’, insecure and not fully assimilated into the culture and social fabric of the UK.”

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The judgment was handed down on 19 December, and we are carefully considering its implications, and next steps.

7 Jan 2020, 1:53 p.m. British Nationality: Children Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to remove the fee charged by the Home Office to register children as British citizens; and whether they intend to refund those who paid such fees before the High Court ruling on 19 December.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The judgment was handed down on 19 December, and we are carefully considering its implications, and next steps.

7 Jan 2020, 1:52 p.m. Hate Crime: Public Transport Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to tackle hate crime on public transport.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Government is clear that all forms of hate crime are unacceptable. The Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan 2016, and the refresh in 2018, contains a number of commitments to tackle hate crime on public transport. These include:

  • The Department for Transport committing, in the July 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, to run a public awareness raising campaign to increase disability awareness amongst all transport passengers; and
  • Working with local transport providers to ensure that bus drivers across England and Wales are fully equipped to challenge hate, including new guidance to support them.

The 2018 Hate Crime Action Plan refresh also includes a number of broader actions addressing all forms of hate crime, including hate crime on public transport. These include:

  • A review by the Law Commission into the coverage and approach of current hate crime legislation; and
  • A wide-ranging national hate crime communications campaign to publicly address hate crime and make clear that it is unacceptable to target people on the basis of their identity.

More widely, the British Transport Police (BTP) provides a policing service that meets the needs of all passengers and people who use or work on the railways. BTP has a firm commitment to responding to all reports of hate crime and it actively works with train operating companies and Network Rail to improve awareness, vigilance and reporting of information on hate crime incidents.

5 Nov 2019, 5:59 p.m. Death: Russia Lord Rooker

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Rooker on 27 June 2017 (HL Deb, cols 399–401), what current investigations, if any, are taking place in relation to the deaths of (1) Scot Young, (2) Boris Berezovsky, (3) Stephen Moss, (4) Badri Patarkatsishvili, (5) Stephen Curtis, (6) Yuri Golubev, (7) Paul Castle, (8) Robert Curtis, (9) Johnny Elichaoff, (10) Alexander Litvinenko, (11) Matthew Puncher, (12) Igor Ponomarev, (13) Daniel McGrory, (14) Gareth Williams, and (15) Alexander Perepilichnyy.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Dissolution. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

5 Nov 2019, 5:48 p.m. Drugs Independent Review Lord Rennard

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect Dame Carol Black’s review of drugs policy to be published.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

We anticipate that Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs will report its findings to the Home Secretary in the autumn and the Home Secretary will report back to Parliament after that.

5 Nov 2019, 5:46 p.m. Refugees: France Lord Hylton

Question to the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of France about police brutality towards refugees in Northern France, in particular about any incidents on 24 October near Calais; and whether such behaviour is consistent with the Sandhurst Agreement.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The actions of French police and security personnel remain the domestic responsibility of the French government, and as such the UK is unable to comment on their actions. Those who are moved on from camps are provided with the option of transport to asylum centres where their claims can be lodged and considered expediently. Within these centres, individuals are provided with any medical and administrative support they require. The Sandhurst Treaty and associated funding has supported this work. The UK and France will continue to collaborate in response to this issue, ensuring that the necessary support is delivered whilst upholding border security at our shared border.