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Crime and Security Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Pedicabs Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:54 pm on 18th January 2010.

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Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 4:54 pm, 18th January 2010

Chris Grayling-the shadow Home Secretary-and the Home Secretary agree that there are important points of principle in the Bill, and therefore it is right that Parliament has a full and frank discussion of the issues contained within it, especially with regard to the DNA database, which I will address at the end of my speech.

Like the shadow Home Secretary, I welcome a number of the measures that the Home Secretary has put before the House. First, the Government's decision to allow compensation for the victims of terrorist outrages abroad and bring provisions into line with the criminal injuries compensation legislation for victims in this country is most welcome. I pay tribute to the work of so many Members, in particular my right hon. Friend Mr. McCartney, in convincing the Government of the need to introduce such measures. All I ask is that if the system is going to be similar to the compensation scheme in this country, it should be as transparent and efficient as possible. I receive many complaints from those who apply for compensation under the current criminal injuries compensation scheme that it takes too long for them to get compensation, so I hope the bureaucracy that will inevitably go with the expenditure of public money will be as simple as possible, because of course we are talking not about ordinary criminal injuries but about very serious injuries.

Secondly, I welcome what has been said about wheel-clamping. Again, the measures are in line with a number of the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Home Affairs over a number of years. Wheel-clampers have felt able to move in and cause innocent people great difficulty. I admit that I was wheel-clamped once, many years ago-I declare that interest-but it is important that we try to regularise the situation.

I hope that when we get to Committee, we will look at the situation-I will come on to this when I talk about the database-of those who have found that information about them that has been stored on a Government computer has ended up not necessarily with wheel-clampers, but with those who are able to issue parking tickets to those who are following Government advice. I am referring in particular to the case of a member of the Select Committee, Bob Russell, who is not in the Chamber-no doubt he is busy in his constituency.

Taking Department for Transport advice on travelling on our motorway system, the hon. Gentleman pulled over because he was feeling tired, and parked in the car park of a Welcome Break service station. He was advised by the Department to rest, so he parked and went to sleep for a while. When he woke up, he drove on to his next engagement. A few days later, he received notice of a fine for parking in the car park for more than two hours. He found out, through his own investigations, that the company concerned obtained his vehicle registration number from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. It passed the information to a private company, which then issued a fine.

Those who know the hon. Gentleman will know that he would not keep matters to himself. He challenged the decision, and the parking ticket has now been quashed. The Committee has agreed to investigate the matter, but I draw it the Home Secretary's attention because it is another example of the private sector being involved but not responsible.

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