Debates between Lord Dear and Lord Sharpe of Epsom during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 28th Mar 2023
Public Order Bill
Lords Chamber

Consideration of Commons amendments

Public Order Bill

Debate between Lord Dear and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Lord Dear Portrait Lord Dear (CB)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, I had not intended to speak in this debate today, but I find myself totally in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, and with the last remark about Lord Scarman. I worked very closely with him in 1981 and after that and agreed wholeheartedly with his findings then. They are still good today.

The noble Baroness, Lady Meacher, spoke very eloquently and I found myself nodding all the way through her speech. I agree entirely with what she said and will not weary this House by repeating those very wise words, save to say that I think that this is the wrong time for this projected policy. What we need now is temperate and measured policing and this is not going to help that. I support the noble Lord, Lord Coaker.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for another fruitful debate. As I said at the beginning, this Bill has undoubtedly been given the scrutiny the British public want and expect.

Before I go on to more substantive remarks, I should say that I fully support the Casey report. The Government and the Met Police have taken this report very seriously. Guidance on the use of stop and search is statutory and is set out in PACE. It is the law. That is the place for it, as the noble Lord, Lord Hogan-Howe, pointed out, if nothing else to ensure consistency. There are safeguards and considerable scrutiny of stop and search and I will come back to that.

The noble Lord, Lord Coaker, and others will no doubt accuse me of semantics but as my noble friend Lord Sandhurst reminded us, these powers relate to serious disruption—ambulances should not be stopped from getting to hospital, as the leader of the Opposition has pointed out in the past.

On the comments from the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, about the effectiveness of stop and search, I was reminded of a pack that I still have in my folder. I was giving some statistics yesterday, and every knife seized through stop and search, I think, is a potential life saved. In 2021-22, stop and search removed around 14,900 weapons and firearms from our streets and resulted in almost 67,000 arrests. I appreciate that we are on a slightly different subject, but none the less this is an important and powerful illustration that, used appropriately, stop and search can work.

Recent protests have been clear in their aim of causing as much disruption as possible through the use of guerrilla tactics. These measures give the police the proactive powers necessary to respond to those dangerous and disruptive tactics quickly. We will work closely with our partners in the police to ensure that they have the support and resources in place to use these powers.

I have heard what the House has said about the potential disproportionality involved in this and we acknowledge that nobody should be stopped and searched because of their race. Extensive safeguards such as the statutory codes of practice to which I have referred and the use of body-worn video exist to ensure that this does not happen. The Home Office publishes extensive data on police use of stop and search in the interest of transparency and we will expand the publication to the use of the new powers provided for in this Bill, as I have already outlined.

I referred to GOWISELY earlier, which is a mnemonic. This follows, and frankly supports, many of the recommendations from the noble Baroness, Lady Casey. I will go through them. The G stands for grounds for the search. These are the minimum bits of information which should be given to the person detained for the purpose of the search. O stands for the object of the search. W is for the warrant card to be shown to the person searched. I is for the identity of the officer—that is usually the officer’s name unless the officer thinks that giving their name would put them in danger, in which case an identification number can be given. S is the station to which the officer is attached. E is the entitlement to a copy of the search form. L is the legal search power being exercised. Y means that you, the officer, must tell the person stopped that they are being detained for the purpose of the search.

The noble Lord, Lord Morgan, referred to the situation in Paris. As I understand it, much of that is a consequence of the activities of the gendarmerie, which is not a police force with any equivalent in this country.

Police: Vetting, Misconduct and Misogyny

Debate between Lord Dear and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Wednesday 2nd November 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

That is the way the system is currently set up. As I say, the Home Office is not trying to absolve itself in this regard, but the fact remains that the vetting processes, which vary to some extent across forces, are the responsibility of chief constables.

Lord Dear Portrait Lord Dear (CB)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, I remind Members of the House of my previous service in senior positions in a number of police forces in this country. The report in the newspapers this morning will fill all of us with concern—indeed, dismay. The findings of the inspectorate report are horrific. There will be many factors behind this, but I ask a question on one factor only: the need for staff training to develop leadership. The Home Office disbanded the Staff College—and this is nothing to do with the College of Policing—some 12 years ago. It was not re-established, and it badly needs to be so. Do His Majesty’s Government have any plans to re-establish the Staff College?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Not as far as I am aware, but I defer to the noble Lord’s specialist knowledge on this subject and I will take the question back to the Home Office.