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Crime and Security Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Pedicabs Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 18th January 2010.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:26 pm, 18th January 2010

The hon. Lady makes a good point. It is one reason why we have been so concerned about the indiscriminate use of section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which the courts have now ruled illegal. That section included anti-terror powers that had been used for purposes not related to terrorism, and that has happened too many times under this Government. We are not arguing for the lack of any record at all; we are arguing that it is possible to go further than the Government. Our work should be about simplifying the job for our professionals on the street. We put them in a difficult position when we leave them filling out forms on the streets, and we could go further. It is a shame that the Government remain unambitious in that respect.

The Home Secretary himself admitted recently that the

"bureaucracy dragon had yet to be slain", and the Bill would barely do anything to change that. Worryingly, there is evidence that things are getting worse, not better. Asked whether officers were spending more time on patrol now than two years ago, Jan Berry, whom the Government brought in as their reducing bureaucracy advocate, said:

"If you talk to police officers they would say it has remained the same or got slightly worse", which is worrying. She said also that "progress had been slow" on reducing red tape. We already have a clear sense that the Government's efforts are half-hearted, and the Bill will not do much to change that.

We have to look only at the Government's damp squib of a policing White Paper to see the extent to which they have run out of ideas and direction. After all, they do not really believe in the existence of excessive police bureaucracy. Has the Home Secretary, unlike the Justice Secretary, ever been into a police station and gone through their filing cabinets, which are full of the forms that officers have to fill in to deal with cases? Information is duplicated, and they have to write down the same things time and again. If the Home Secretary has not, I suggest that he does, because he will be genuinely shocked at the burden that we place on our police officers. That really needs to change, and he certainly needs to tell his friend the Justice Secretary before he makes comments that, frankly, I found insulting to our police officers.

The Bill contains a provision requiring a court to impose a parenting order when a young person is found to have breached their antisocial behaviour order. When will the Government realise that more of those top-down solutions is simply not good enough. The courts can already impose a parenting order on the breach of an ASBO. The problem is that ASBOs themselves do not work. The process of getting an ASBO is so complicated. They take months to introduce, a huge amount of time is spent by local officials, there are multi-agency meetings, and, for many persistent offenders, they end up being a badge of honour. Almost two thirds of under-16s breach their ASBOs. What we need in this country is a fresh approach to tackling antisocial behaviour-

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