Debates between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Garden of Frognal during the 2019 Parliament

Wed 27th Jan 2021
Domestic Abuse Bill
Lords Chamber

Committee stage:Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords

Domestic Abuse Bill

Debate between Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale and Baroness Garden of Frognal
Committee stage & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 2nd sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 27th January 2021

(3 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 View all Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 124-III Third marshalled list for Committee - (27 Jan 2021)
Baroness Garden of Frognal Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Garden of Frognal) (LD)
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The noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, has withdrawn so I now call the noble Lord, Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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I do not intend to repeat any of the comments made by my noble friend Lord Hunt in his very powerful and fascinating introduction. I hope that he has, at the very least, sparked off a debate that will continue. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say in response. I do not think that it would be fair to describe either that introduction or the actual content of the amendments as cavalier, as the noble Baroness, Lady Fox, did. I absolutely sympathise with being cautious in the use of data and careful with civil liberties. But if we read the amendments proposed by my noble friend Lord Hunt and others, to describe them as cavalier is a bit of an exaggeration. I hope that the Minister will respond positively on the issue. We will see where the debate goes next.

I will speak to Amendment 62, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Grey-Thompson, which is particularly important. In Clause 22, which it seeks to amend, there is a perfectly reasonable list of matters to be considered by a police officer when considering a domestic abuse protection notice. Adding

“the previous criminal history of P”,

who is the person under consideration, to that list would make an incredible amount of common sense, as well as having real, practical impact on the day-to-day work of police officers. It would also be particularly reassuring for victims, who obviously might have an opinion; Clause 22 outlines anyway that their opinion should be considered. Amendment 62, on previous criminal history, is important.

I add, partly in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Fox, that this amendment does not suggest that past accusations made against somebody would automatically override other considerations or be disclosed publicly. What it suggests is that their previous criminal history might well be relevant in the determination of such a notice. That is indisputable; we know all the background, history and data on how often people reoffend in this area. We know an awful lot about the psychology involved in domestic abuse. It would a barrier to good decision-making and active prevention if police officers were not able to take into account previous criminal history. I strongly support Amendment 62 and look forward to hearing what the Minister says about the earlier amendments.