Inquiry into complaints alleging corrupt relationships between police and newspaper organisations

Part of Policing and Crime Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:30 pm on 10th January 2017.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Policing) 5:30 pm, 10th January 2017

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making that point.

We also support Lords amendments 136 to 142, which were tabled by Baroness Brinton, along with consequential amendment 307. Those amendments are designed to improve the way in which the criminal justice system interacts with victims of crime, and they are based on the work of my hon. and learned Friend Keir Starmer. I presume that the amendments will be acceptable to the Government because, as we have heard, they would enact the 2015 Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce a victims’ bill of rights. Let me remind the Minister of what that manifesto says:

“we will strengthen victims’
rights further, with a new Victims’
Law that will enshrine key rights for victims”.

I understand that the former Minister, Mike Penning, already committed to a Green Paper on this issue in a private meeting with the campaign group Voice 4 Victims in February last year, but we are yet to have sight of that. This Bill is the ideal opportunity to take the matter forward, so I encourage the Government, even at this late stage, to think again and not oppose the amendments.

The House will know that victims’ rights are protected in the victims code, which was introduced in 2005 by a Labour Government. We still support that code, but the rights included in it are not legally binding, and in the past few years it has become clear that a firmer legal basis is required to give distressed and vulnerable victims the protection that they need.