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Public Services

Part of Debate on the Address – in the House of Commons at 11:38 am on 16th October 2019.

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Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for the Home Department 11:38 am, 16th October 2019

I am going to make progress and come on to the many other Bills that I would like to touch on.

Protecting and supporting our police is vital if they are going to carry out their duties, but greater protection must be matched with enhanced powers. As Britain leaves the European Union, co-operation with international law enforcement agencies such as Interpol will become more important. That is why we are introducing an extradition Bill that will give police the power immediately to arrest criminals wanted by trusted countries for serious offences without having to apply to a judge first. Right now, people wanted for serious crimes in countries outside the EU cannot be arrested immediately if police come across them on the streets of the UK. This Bill will ensure that where a person is wanted by the police for a serious offence, in all trusted countries they have the power to get them off the streets and into our courts system.

The tougher action on international criminals will be matched by tougher action on foreign nationals who commit crimes in this country. Those who come to the UK to work hard and contribute to our national life will always be welcome, but those who abuse the system by committing crimes should be in no doubt: we are determined to take action. That action is needed to stop abuse of the system, to speed up the process for deporting foreign national offenders and, importantly, to deter foreign criminals from coming to the United Kingdom. That is why the foreign national offenders Bill will introduce tougher penalties for those who return to the United Kingdom in breach of a deportation order—a measure that has been opposed by Opposition Members.

While we work to keep this country safe from foreign criminals, the public rightly demand further action on crimes closer to home. The Government’s broadband Bill will make it easier for homes and businesses across the country to be connected to high-speed, resilient and secure broadband. As we ensure that our citizens have better internet access, we must do more to keep them safe online. The online harms White Paper sets out the Government’s plan for world-leading legislation to make the UK one of the safest places in the world to be online. That will be enforced in a proportionate way, ensuring that freedom of expression is upheld and promoted online, and businesses do not face undue burdens. We will publish draft legislation for prelegislative scrutiny.

Our dedication to keeping the public safe extends, of course, to the most serious crimes. I am sure that Members on both sides of the House will agree that this is an important focus for us all, because very few constituencies have not been affected by the rise in serious crime.