Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Crime and Security Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Pedicabs Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:36 pm on 18th January 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Labour, Harrow East 8:36 pm, 18th January 2010

Not in Committee. I have already made that very clear, and if I have to take another half an hour to make it even clearer, I shall do so. No, I shan't.

I understand the concerns expressed by the hon. Members for Woking (Mr. Malins) and for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy about the whole notion of orders. They have made the same points before. The hon. Member for Woking made some quite fair comments about the architecture-the nuts and bolts-required to achieve them. Much has been achieved on domestic violence in the past 10 years, however, in regard not only to the police interface with the victims and perpetrators, but to the proper response by our courts system and others. Where it works, it works very well, and the provisions in the Bill need to be seen in that broader context.

I am happy for hon. Members to explore the concerns expressed by the hon. Member for Woking in more depth in Committee-I promise that I will pop back to discuss them on Report-and I take seriously what he and others have said. The Government do not want to do anything except introduce effective measures that build on all that we have already done on domestic violence.

I do not accept people's broader points objecting to the principle of ASBOs-I will not say that those points were tediously made, but I have been listening to them for 10 years-and now to gangster ASBOs, or GASBOs. Where ASBOs have worked, up and down the country, they have worked tremendously effectively. They have worked incredibly well for many communities, but I take the point that some hon. Members made about the interface between the law, some local councils-although, to be fair, they are getting better-and the CPS and the local prosecutorial powers. All those elements need to be lined up properly if the orders are to be effectively, and sparingly, used. I welcome the advances made in relation to GASBOs, if I may use that shorthand to describe them.

I want to finish by mentioning three elements that are not in the Bill, but which matter and which merit serious discussion in regard to the policing world. It is my profound regret that, at one of my first meetings as Minister with responsibility for policing, I had to tell the Lancashire and Cumbria police forces that they could not merge. I shall leave that on the table and say no more, save that I absolutely agree with Hugh Orde, the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, when he says that 43 police forces to cover the best part of 54 million people is simply not sustainable. I believe that we could have between nine and 12, which could then become much more localised-rather like the Metropolitan police are seeking to do-and hold the police accountable at that very localised level. The notion of having 43 forces for 54 million people in England and Wales is complete nonsense, and that is a matter that we shall collectively have to return to-

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website