All 2 Lindsay Hoyle contributions to the Policing and Crime Act 2017

Read Bill Ministerial Extracts

Tue 26th Apr 2016
Policing and Crime Bill
Commons Chamber

Report stage: House of Commons & Report stage: House of Commons
Tue 10th Jan 2017
Policing and Crime Bill
Commons Chamber

Ping Pong: House of Commons & Ping Pong: House of Commons

Policing and Crime Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Ministry of Justice

Policing and Crime Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
Report stage: House of Commons
Tuesday 26th April 2016

(8 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Consideration of Bill Amendments as at 13 June 2016 - (13 Jun 2016)
None Portrait Several hon. Members rose—
- Hansard -

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle)
- Hansard - -

Order. We have seven more speakers, plus the Minister, so I am a little concerned that we will not get everyone in.

David Burrowes Portrait Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I shall try to rattle through my contribution. I shall speak to my new clause 1, but first let me mention new clause 17. I welcome the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse) and pay tribute to his work as deputy mayor on championing alcohol abstinence and monitoring requirements. I did my bit in the Commons and in the Lords to ensure that the new clause eventually got on to the statute book and we need to make it have meaningful effect.

The evidence from what is happening in London, which is spreading, and the impact on the offender, not least as a result of the inconvenience of having to pay, is significant and supports the South Dakota model. That needs to be taken into account when the measure goes to the other place. There are those in the other place—Baroness Finlay and others—who champion the cause and who will look carefully at the evidence and give further impetus to cost-effective efforts to help those caught up in the cycle of alcohol-related offending.

I welcome the cross-party support for new clause 1 and the support from my hon. Friends the Members for St Ives (Derek Thomas), for Colchester (Will Quince), for South Thanet (Craig Mackinlay), for North West Hampshire, for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith), for Romford (Andrew Rosindell), for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) and for Altrincham and Sale West (Mr Brady). Some more recent supporters such as my hon. Friends the Members for Gower (Byron Davies), for Eastbourne (Caroline Ansell) and for Windsor (Adam Afriyie) did not quite make the cut last night to get their names on the amendment paper.

Over a number of years there has been support to ensure that knife crime legislation was fit for purpose and that it dealt properly with the issues of enforcement, recognising as do all of us who represent constituencies that have, sadly, been affected by knife crime, that much work is needed on prevention. I welcome the Government’s work over a number of years to ensure that we tackle knife crime both at its source and when it comes to court. I and a former Member, Nick de Bois, championed mandatory sentencing for repeat knife offending and I welcome the fact that that has now reached the statute book and is being implemented. We will continue to monitor that to ensure that it is implemented properly.

More needs to be done. No one can be complacent about the need to review legislation and to use the opportunities presented by the Bill to deal with knife crime. At 11 pm last night there was another incident of stabbing in the borough of Enfield, where a 28-year-old was stabbed twice in the abdomen and twice in the head in what was probably a gang-related incident. An off-duty police officer found the victim opposite Edmonton police station. The case reminds us of the impact of knife crime.

New clause 1 focuses on the sale of knives, particularly online sales, to those who are under age. I recognise that in some ways that is of marginal relevance. When I talk with police officers about gang crime, they explain that the easiest way for a youngster to obtain a knife is by getting one from the kitchen, or from someone else, or an adult might purchase it for them, so we have to recognise that there are other areas where we can tackle the prevalence of knives that would not be tackled by new clause 1.

--- Later in debate ---
Gerald Jones Portrait Gerald Jones
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I accept that the Welsh Assembly Government do not have power over policing, but there is no difference between the 500 PCSOs that the Welsh Government fund—they are part of the policing family—and other PCSOs. They are certainly not what is being proposed in the Bill; they are paid police community support officers who work in communities across Wales. Sadly, because of the Conservative cuts, the number of PCSOs has been drastically reduced elsewhere. Wales is the only area where PCSO numbers have increased, and I am thankful that I represent a Welsh constituency where that is the case. I close by asking the Minister to confirm whether she expects the volunteers to plug the gap that the Government have created by cutting the number of PCSOs.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle)
- Hansard - -

I call Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

You have caught me out of my place, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I am sure that what I have to say will still be perfectly valid.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker
- Hansard - -

I think you left your place.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Portrait Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I probably did. I start by drawing attention to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. I am the chairman of the all-party group on shooting and conservation, and I am a shotgun and firearms certificate holder. I have tabled several amendments that are technical, so I will take them slowly. They have the support of the British Shooting Sports Council, the Countryside Alliance and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Those associations cover very large numbers of lawful certificate holders.

I rise to speak to new clauses 7, 8 and 9 and amendment 1. New clause 7 has three purposes. First, subsections (2) and (3) relate to expanding ammunition. Expanding ammunition is required under the Deer Act 1991 and the Deer (Firearms etc.) (Scotland) Order 1985 to shoot deer, and it is the humane option for pest control and humane dispatch. It is therefore widely possessed. Certificates are rendered more complex by the inclusion of the additional authority to acquire and possess it. Expanding ammunition is also safer than fully jacketed ammunition, being less prone to ricochet.

It is my understanding that the National Police Chiefs Council has asked for a revision of this provision. Currently, special authority has to be given on a firearms certificate for the possession of expanding ammunition, which requires additional administration for the police. The new clause would simplify the licensing process, save resources for the police and facilitate the movement of such ammunition for the trade. Moving expanding ammunition back to section 1 of the Firearms Act would reduce the administrative burden. It is also illogical to have a type of ammunition that is banned by one Act, but required to be used by another.

Secondly, subsection (4) of my new clause 7 would replace the existing section 7(1) of the 1968 Act to address an anomaly in the Act as regards section 7 permits. The insertion of words “or authority” would extend section 7 temporary permits to cover section 5 items held on a firearms or shotgun certificate. That would help in a variety of circumstances when temporary possession has to be authorised—for example, when there are firearms or ammunition among a deceased person’s effects that have to be disposed of by the executors.

Thirdly, subsection (5) of new clause 7 would clarify the law with regard to certificate renewals, and replicate the provision in Scottish legislation that ensures that the possession of firearms remains lawful when there is a delay in renewal. This has happened to me. An application may be made to the police in good time, but because of the number of certificates that the police have to inspect and then decide whether to grant, they do not actually renew the certificate on time. Unless they issue a section 7 temporary permit, the person holding the firearms or shotguns is doing so illegally because the certificate has not been renewed. I therefore suggest the adoption of the Scottish solution.

A recent freedom of information request to all police forces in England and Wales has shown that there has been a substantial increase in the number of section 7 temporary permits issued during the past five years. For example, the number of permits issued in Hampshire has increased by over 15 times, from 79 in 2010 to 1,205 in 2015. It should also be noted that some of the police forces inspected by Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary have failed to issue a section 7 temporary permit to individuals whose certificates have expired, placing those individuals in an illegal situation through no fault of their own. Of the 11 police forces inspected by HMIC, between one and 168 firearms holders were currently in that category in each police force area. Simply by deeming the existing certificate to be in force until it is renewed by the police would reduce the administrative burden on them, and not place the individual certificate holder in the invidious position of holding illegal firearms.

New clause 8 would extend Home Office club approval to cover section 1 shotguns and long-barrelled pistols used for target shooting at clubs approved by the Home Office. These clubs are very strictly vetted. They may possess firearms for the use of their members, who may temporarily possess one another’s firearms. This allows the club to instruct new members in safety and shooting skills, as it is required to do under its licence, and for a range officer to take possession of a firearm on the range in the event of a problem.

At present, the Home Office may approve target shooting clubs to use only rifles or muzzle-loading pistols. Long-barrelled pistols and section 1 shotguns are increasingly popular for target shooting, but because of the limitations placed on firearms for which Home Office approval may be given, only the person—this is the critical bit in relation to new clause 8—on whose firearms certificate the long-barrelled pistol or shotgun is entered may use it at the club. This has adverse consequences in that clubs may not possess such arms for the use of members, and may find that the possession stricture makes safety instruction difficult and, critically, prevents range officers from taking control of such firearms should there be a problem. For example, if the weapon jams or, even worse, if something serious, such as a heart attack, strikes the user of the firearm, the range officer in the club cannot lawfully take possession of the firearm. New clause 8 seeks to amend that provision.

New clause 9 addresses the problem caused by the term “occupier” in relation to the borrowing of a shotgun without a shotgun certificate under section 11(5) of the Firearms Act 1968, and the borrowing of a rifle without a firearm certificate under section 16(1) of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988. I will cut a lot of verbiage from my explanation of the new clause by illustrating it with an example. Suppose, Mr Deputy Speaker, that I invite you to shoot on my shoot and I am the occupier. If you bring a friend, he can borrow my gun, because I am the occupier, but he cannot borrow your gun, because you are not the occupier, even though you might be a lawful certificate holder.

Recent inquiries made to police forces suggest a lack of clarity as to how the term “occupier” is understood, but it is construed narrowly. The organisations that I have mentioned carried out a survey. When asked under a freedom of information request for their definition of “occupier”, the majority of police forces relied on guidance. Sussex police force replied that “occupier” meant

“either the owner of the land or the person possessing the sporting (shooting) rights over the land”.

The Durham police force, however, defined “occupier” as

“an owner, lessee or authorised person over the age of 18 years who holds a firearm certificate and who owns or is responsible for land that has rights of hunting, shooting, fishing or taking game”.

Those two examples make it crystal clear how different police forces construe the meaning of the word “occupier”.

The Law Commission’s scoping consultation concluded the following on the lack of definition:

“It has been reported to us by a number of stakeholders that this provision poses real problems in practice for shooting enthusiasts. This is because it inconsistently limits this very temporary, restricted loan of shotguns, with the result that some novices wishing to shoot are arbitrarily forced to take out shotgun certificates in their own names”.

By simply replacing the word “occupier” with

“the owner, occupier or authorised person”,

anyone granted a lawful certificate by the local constabulary would become the authorised person. The new clause deals with the anomaly.

Moving rapidly on to my amendment 1, this Bill will give the Home Office the right to produce statutory guidance by which the police will have to abide, but the shooting organisations fear that they will not be consulted as part of that process. That would be monstrously wrong, because the thousands of lawful certificate holders would not have a say in that guidance. My amendment simply states that other organisations must be consulted on that statutory guidance.

I would like to spend 30 seconds on the Opposition’s amendments on full cost recovery. If they look carefully at the work of the fees working group, they will see that all the organisations, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and the shooting organisations, agreed that the system allows for full cost recovery. Put simply, the police must adopt the new, computerised efficiency systems to give them those reductions in costs. Unfortunately, not all constabularies are complying with that new e-commerce system. I ask the Minister to encourage all 42 constabularies to adopt the system so that they can get the maximum efficiencies and keep their costs to the lowest possible level. That would benefit all certificate holders. Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker, for allowing me this opportunity.

Policing and Crime Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office

Policing and Crime Bill

Lindsay Hoyle Excerpts
Ping Pong: House of Commons
Tuesday 10th January 2017

(7 years, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Commons Consideration of Lords Amendments as at 10 January 2017 - (10 Jan 2017)
Consideration of Lords amendments
Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle)
- Hansard - -

I must draw the House’s attention to the fact that financial privilege is engaged by Lords amendments 24, 96, 159 and 302. I also remind the House that certain of the motions relating to the Lords amendments will be certified as relating exclusively to England or to England and Wales, or to England and to England and Wales, as set out on the selection paper. If the House divides on any certified motion, a double or triple majority will be required for the motion to be passed.

After Clause 26

Inquiry into complaints alleging corrupt relationships between police and newspaper organisations

Brandon Lewis Portrait The Minister for Policing and the Fire Service (Brandon Lewis)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I beg to move, That this House disagrees with Lords amendment 24.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Deputy Speaker
- Hansard - -

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Lords amendment 96, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 134, Government motion to disagree, and Government amendment (a) in lieu.

Lords amendment 136 to 142, and Government motions to disagree.

Lords amendment 159, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 302, and Government motion to disagree.

Lords amendment 305, Government motion to disagree, and Government amendment (a) in lieu.

Lords amendment 307, and Government motion to disagree.

Brandon Lewis Portrait Brandon Lewis
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

This first group of amendments includes 10 new clauses added to the Bill in the House of Lords against the advice of the Government. It covers four separate issues: part 2 of the Leveson inquiry; the funding of legal representation for bereaved families at inquests where the police are an interested person; the maximum sentence for the offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress; and the rights and entitlements of victims of crime.