Offence of threatening with an offensive weapon etc in a private place

Part of Offensive Weapons Bill – in the House of Commons at 4:15 pm on 28th November 2018.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 4:15 pm, 28th November 2018

Thank you. She and Stephen Timms have done a great deal on not only county lines but on corrosive substance attacks. She will know that we now have the corrosive substance action plan, which is a voluntary commitment that we introduced at the beginning of the year to get all the major retailers on the right page when it comes to the sale of corrosive substances, because we knew that it would take time to introduce legislation in this place. I hope that she is pleased and satisfied with the Bill’s provisions on corrosive substances.

On county lines, the hon. Lady will know that we have announced the launch of the national co-ordination centre. It brings law enforcement together because, frankly, law enforcement has not been sharing information as well as it could throughout the country on the movement of these gangs of criminals, who exploit the distances between the major urban centres and rural and coastal areas, knowing that constabulary boundaries sometimes get in the way. The national co-ordination centre was launched in September and had an extraordinary week of action in which something like 500 arrests were made. If have got that figure wrong, I am sure I will be able to correct it in due course.

It is important to note that the co-ordination centre brings together not only law enforcement officials but those involved in looking after children—local authorities—because we know that the most vulnerable children have been targeted as they are attending pupil referral units or while they are living in care homes. We need to ensure that when the police go in and do a raid, we have social services there to pick up the children and start caring for them, to avoid their being re-trafficked. Indeed, I hope the fact that so many cases are now being prosecuted not only in the traditional manner, for conspiracy to supply class As, but using the Modern Slavery Act 2015, brings real stigma to those gangs that bizarrely and extraordinarily think that it is somehow okay to exploit children.