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Crime and Security Bill

Part of Bill Presented — Pedicabs Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:08 pm on 18th January 2010.

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Photo of Rob Flello Rob Flello Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South 7:08 pm, 18th January 2010

I am grateful for that intervention, because it brings me nicely on to my next point, which is about jamming equipment. It is not only the military who are exploring that. I gather that some hotel chains routinely install jamming equipment so that residents are more inclined to use the hotel's telephone system than their own mobile. Perhaps that is just an unfounded allegation, but I understand that it does happen.

There does not necessarily need to be jamming equipment. Prisons could be constructed in ways that minimise the possibility of getting a mobile phone signal. Certainly, some of the offices in and around Parliament seem to have been constructed in a way that minimises that. This afternoon, as I was on my way to the Chamber, I could not get a signal on my mobile phone, even though it was telling me I had a couple of new messages. Therefore, as well as the active jamming of signals, there are also passive methods that can be used to make getting a signal impossible. That is particularly important for those prisoners whom we do not want to be able to have any such communications-but such people have been caught using laptops, logging on to the internet and creating websites. That important point was missed by the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell.

The legislation that is already in place needs to be looked at, too. There are some 3,000-odd measures, which are important tools in the toolkit, and they should be used. I would like the Home Office to do some work on which local authorities are using the powers that are available, which do not use the full range, and which use them only very rarely.

One overlooked area of legislation that needs to be considered involves pubs that serve people who are clearly drunk. This is of relevance to my point about alcohol misuse leading to many crimes. If an area, such as a city centre, increasingly becomes a place where, fuelled by alcohol, criminal activity and antisocial behaviour occur, we should look at the pubs or nightclubs in that area that are serving people who are clearly drunk and who then go out on to the streets and cause problems.

My final point is about an issue that might be addressed in an amendment to the Bill. I am currently dealing with a dispute between two neighbours. The police have done everything they can within the law to resolve it, and the local authority has done everything it can to resolve it, too. They have concluded that it is a lifestyle difference between the two neighbours, but I am concerned that the neighbour who is suffering-who is at the receiving end of what she perceives to be the problems-is becoming more and more traumatised. In such situations, the local authority and the police say that nothing more can be done. Given some of the tragedies that have gone before, we need to consider whether there is a further provision that we can introduce in the Bill to identify a problem and try to find a solution that is not already covered by legislation. However, that matter would be better brought up in Committee.

I am grateful to the House for listening to my comments. The Bill is good in principle, but a lot of it needs further detailed scrutiny, and I would like to table some amendments at a future date.

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