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Lammy Review

– in the House of Commons at 1:33 pm on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 1:33 pm, 30th June 2020

Urgent Question) To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government’s implementation of the Lammy review.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Racism is an abomination. It is morally and intellectually bankrupt, and it strikes at the foundations of a fair and just society. It is particularly corrosive when found within the criminal justice system, because in that context the stakes are particularly high—guilt or innocence; freedom or incarceration.

That is why the Government, back in 2017, commissioned the Lammy review into the treatment of and outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system. Although it was an independent review, it was heavily backed by Government resources. A team of six, headed by a senior civil servant, were devoted to the review, and it took evidence from across the world, with fact-finding trips as far away as the United States and New Zealand. We are profoundly grateful to Mr Lammy for the constructive and consensual way in which he led the review, and for the valuable 35 recommendations it produced. It is a good report and it has made a big difference.

Not uncommonly when reviews are commissioned, it was clear to Government that not every last recommendation could or indeed should be implemented precisely as requested. The Government made that clear, and they did so openly and publicly in their December 2017 response. Instead of flatly rejecting a large number of the recommendations, the Government were mindful of the importance of progressing the policy intent that lay behind them. That is why the Government undertook to take them forward to the fullest extent possible. They repeated that stance in the further lengthy progress updates they published in 2018 and most recently earlier this year, with the latest one running to more than 80 pages. The position now is that 16 recommendations have been completed, two have been rejected and 17 are in progress. Of those 17 in progress, 11 will be completed within 12 months and six thereafter.

Let me close by saying that enormous progress has been made, particularly in respect of the functioning and fairness of prisons. By way of one example, recommendation 3, which recommended the publication of datasets held on ethnicity, has been complied with, including in respect of home detention, curfew, release on temporary licence and prisons. All that data is set out in the official gov.uk updates on the “Ethnicity facts and figures” website, which is, by the way, arguably one of the most transparent sets of Government data in this field anywhere in the world. As a result, data on staff and prisoner ethnicity is significantly better than it used to be, allowing a spotlight to be more easily shone on disparities and action taken.

We have gone further, too, making progress in areas such as setting up the Race and Ethnicity Board to hold key partners across the criminal justice system responsible for improvement in their respective areas. Of course there is more to do, and I hope we can continue the constructive dialogue in taking forward the recommendations of this excellent report. I know things are different now. The consensual has necessarily, because of the right hon. Gentleman’s elevation, given way to a more adversarial approach. That is understandable, but great progress has been made. With common purpose and focus, we can finish the job.

Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice

In this country, we have two major political parties with different visions of our past and our future, but on some matters of political importance, it is right for us to work across the partisan divide to achieve lasting change. It was in that spirit of good faith that David Cameron asked me to complete an independent review into the disproportionality in the criminal justice system. It was with the same good faith and in the hope of forging political consensus that I completed it.

I was disappointed to hear the Prime Minister break that consensus last week when he claimed that 16 of the recommendations I made in the Lammy review had been, and I quote, “implemented”, when in fact the majority of them had not. Inadvertently, he misled the House, and it is a shame he is not answering this urgent question himself.

There is a huge difference between implementing my recommendations and, as the Minister has said at the Dispatch Box today, completing the actions the Government committed to following my recommendations. In fact, I think the Minister said that they have completed 11 of those recommendations. Last week, it was 16. I hope that he recognises it is important on a matter such as this to give the public clear information. When he returns to his feet, I hope he will correct the record properly.

Recommendation 13, for example, was that

“all sentencing remarks in the Crown Court should be published in audio and/or written form.”

As the Government admit, that has not happened. They have done all that they said they would do on that recommendation, but frankly, that is nothing. They have not implemented it. In fact, they have rejected it. It is the same story for recommendations 8, 18, 19 and 35. They committed to not implementing my recommendations, and it is wrong to pretend anything else. Language matters and, as the Black Lives Matter movement makes its voice heard about systemic injustice here and abroad, the very least the Government could do is be honest about their actions.

Last week, the Prime Minister broke the consensus around my review; now I am asking the Minister to correct the record so that we can win it back. History is littered with examples of what happens if we abandon good faith. Without good faith, people get angry. Without good faith, people take to the streets. Without good faith, people give up hope.

The truth is that many of the injustices that I highlighted in my review have since got worse. When I completed the review, 41% of children in prison came from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background—and now the proportion is 51%. The proportion of all stop and searches on black people has increased by 69% over five years. The average custodial sentence for a black person is almost 10 years longer than that for a white person. To recognise the pain of these injustices, the Government need to go further than my review went, not cover up for the recommendations they ignored. Change will happen only when we look in the mirror honestly. Change will happen only when we tell the truth. Change will happen only when we recognise that black lives matter. Do not take the community involved for fools.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his remarks. Let me be clear: we say that 16 recommendations have been implemented. The point I was making about 11 is that there is agreement between the parties, so to speak, that 11 of those 16 have been implemented, or partially implemented—that is in the right hon. Gentleman’s letter. There is a dispute about the other five, to which I shall come in a moment.

In 2017, after this excellent report was produced, the Government could have said in respect of recommendation 13—to which the right hon. Gentleman refers and which, by the way, requires that all transcripts of sentencing hearings should be printed and published—“Do you know what, Mr Lammy? That is simply not feasible. We are just going to turn our face against that.” But instead, the Government looked behind the intention of that recommendation, and the intention—as set out in the text of the report, by the way—was to increase transparency. I will explain in a moment what then happened, but I wish to deal with this point first. In December 2017, the Government said in their response that they would not be able to implement every last word—in fact, the expression used was “to the letter”, in paragraph 8, if the right hon. Gentleman wants to look at it.

In respect of recommendation 13, to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, what in fact have the Government said? The report from 2020—which, by the way, runs to some 80 pages, setting out what the Government have done in respect of each of the recommendations—talks about recommendation 13, and if he wants to find it, it is at page 60. I remind everyone of what recommendation 13 says:

“As part of the court modernisation programme, all sentencing remarks in the Crown Court should be published in audio and/or written form. This would build trust by making justice more transparent and comprehensible for victims, witnesses and offenders.”

We said that transcripts for everything would be a gargantuan expense, and that money would have to come out of the legal aid budget and so on. We said that

“the costs are prohibitive at this time”,

but that the

Ministry of Justice has however produced a four-part guide to support defendants as they move through the Criminal Justice System from charge to case completion, available online and in Courts. MoJ want to ensure that people are given the help they need to understand the Court process and the consequences of their own decisions, as well as those made by the Court. The guide includes information on sentencing”.

In other words, we implemented the spirit of the recommendation.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

In a moment; let me just finish the point.

The right hon. Gentleman also asked about going further. We have required police and crime commissioners, for example, to report on the number of BAME victims they are supporting through support services. We have set up the race and ethnicity board. We have committed to publish the victims strategy. We have done all these things, even though they were not in the Lammy review, because we recognise that when it comes to cracking down on racism in the criminal justice system, we have to go further still.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Justice Committee

I do not doubt the Minister’s commitment to this personally, or his personal good faith in this matter, and I am sure that no one does, but it is fair to say that the detailed report in February 2020 that he refers to also recognises a particularly intractable issue with the youth justice system, and some of the figures on that have been mentioned. Can he help me specifically on what the timeframe is for moving towards the implementation and achievement of those shared overarching aims and objectives for the three principal agencies in the criminal justice system, which were identified in the February 2020 report? There is a lot of good work set out individually, but in evidence the Justice Committee heard a concern that we need to pull these things together, with a specific action plan for delivery.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am very grateful to the Chair of the Select Committee, and I recall that in March 2019 his Committee conducted an inquiry into this. One of the most important themes that came from the Lammy review was the adoption of the principle “Explain or change”—in other words, explain why there are these discrepancies, or do something about it, to put it in plain English. One of the key tools to enable that change to happen is publishing data. Data is one of the most powerful tools in all this. One of the things that encourages me is that, because we have now published the data on ethnicity facts and figures, we can pick a certain minority, see the data on homelessness, for example, or on the kind of accommodation people are in, and put that alongside criminal justice data to see how the outcomes are going.

Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

If the words “black lives matter” are to have any real meaning, we must have honest appraisals of whether or not the Government have implemented the recommendations of the many reports that have already explored racial discrimination and disparities in the United Kingdom. There is no point in commissioning yet further reviews if the Government have not adequately addressed the recommendations in the reviews that have already been completed. In common usage, the word “implementing” in relation to a recommendation means giving it effect; it does not mean looking at it and then discarding it as inconvenient, or getting rid of it because it is too much like effecting real change.

It is important that we get to the bottom of what is going on here, because the Government’s curious use of language is not confined to this report. Last week, the Home Secretary told us she was accepting the recommendations of the “Windrush Lessons Learned Review” in full and that she would be coming back to the House before recess to update us on how they would be implemented. But when she was pressed on the recommendation that requires a review of the hostile environment policy, she refused repeatedly to say that such a review would be carried out.

So can the Minister, for whom I have the greatest respect, clarify the position for us? Have the Government invented a new meaning for the word “implemented,” or does it still mean “giving effect to recommendations,” and will he be crystal-clear about which recommendations of the Lammy review are to be given effect, and when?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Lady, for whom I also have a great deal of respect. In December 2017, the Government response to the Lammy review said, at paragraph 8:

“We have…sought to mirror the pragmatic, ‘doable’
tone of the Review by setting out how we will address the underlying issues behind recommendations where there are real constraints that prevent us from following it to the letter.”

If the statement was in isolation—for example, “Have you implemented the change in the name of the Youth Justice Board?”—then, yes, the hon. and learned Lady would have a point, but what was made clear throughout was that the Government were determined to implement the policy objective even if doing things to the absolute letter would not necessarily be the best way of achieving that. I am proud of the fact that we have gone beyond a lot of what was stated in the Lammy review, so we have more data, more transparency, and a better way of drilling down on manifest injustices. Of course there is more to do, and this report has set us on a much better path.

Photo of Jeremy Wright Jeremy Wright Conservative, Kenilworth and Southam

The Lammy review was an important piece of work and it was also a wide-ranging one. As my hon. Friend knows, chapter 2 of the review deals with the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Lammy sensibly made some proposals for improvement within the CPS, but he also said this:

“Other CJS institutions should learn lessons from the CPS, including openness to external scrutiny, systems of internal oversight, and an unusually diverse workforce within the wider CJS.”

My hon. Friend knows that the criminal justice system is an ecosystem and it is important that all parts work with the others, so will he do what he can to make sure that those lessons are learned within the system?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend, who makes a characteristically pertinent point. If we want people to have confidence in the criminal justice system, they need to have confidence in the people who are bringing forward the prosecutions. That means that we need to make sure that it is diverse and representative. I must say that I know it is sometimes fashionable to kick the CPS—I am not suggesting he is doing this—but overall it does an excellent job and takes the issue of diversity extremely seriously. We want to empower it with the tools through the data to promote, entrench and enhance diversity.

Photo of James Murray James Murray Opposition Whip (Commons)

Five years ago, 25% of stop-and-searches across England and Wales were of black, Asian and minority ethnic people. Can the Minister explain why, in the most recent data, this has risen to over 40%?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful for that question. Stop-and-search is, we think, an important part of the tools required to keep the streets safe. It is worth emphasising that those most likely to be victims of the kinds of crime the police may have in mind—knife crime, for example—will disproportionately come from BAME backgrounds. The key to ensuring that people have confidence in stop-and-search is to ensure that the data is published so that people can be satisfied that it is not being misused and misdirected. That is the focus of this Government and one that we are better able to deliver because of the work done to implement the recommendations of the Lammy review.

Photo of James Daly James Daly Conservative, Bury North

There is a chronic shortage of magistrates in Greater Manchester and other parts of the country. Can the Minister outline what steps are being taken to increase recruitment and, importantly, to ensure the magistracy is more diverse and representative of the areas it serves, as per recommendation 16 of the Lammy report?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. We need a diverse judiciary. Things have improved a bit—12% of magistrates were from BAME backgrounds as of April 2019, which was 4% higher than in 2012—but we need to go further. The magistrates recruitment and attraction steering group, jointly headed by the MOJ and the magistrates court leadership, held its first meeting in February 2020 and it is promoting the magistracy and increasing recruitment, with a particular focus on increasing diversity.

Photo of Florence Eshalomi Florence Eshalomi Opposition Whip (Commons)

I welcome the Minister’s statement, and I want to return to the issue of stop-and-search. In my constituency and in the borough of Lambeth, black people are four times more likely to be stopped and searched, and in the last 12 months, more than 10,000 stop-and-searches were conducted on black people, compared with 5,000 on white people. I spoke to a group of year 12 students last Friday: almost 50% of the boys and one girl put their hands up to say they had been stopped and searched. Why is this still a big issue? Why is there this disproportionality?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for raising this directly but sensitively. My goodness, if people take the view that what has taken place is victimisation, of course it will corrode confidence in the criminal justice system and the police. Equally, though, we have to make sure that the police have the tools they require to try to hunt down crime and, as I have already indicated, it is very often people being stopped who themselves could be victims of crime. Forgive me for repeating a point I have made already, but the key to this is data—data to ensure that the right people are being stopped and, where they are not, it shines out like a beacon that there is an issue, in a particular borough, or wherever it is in the country, that needs to be addressed.

Several hon. Members:

rose—

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

There is a lot of pressure on time this afternoon. A lot of people want to speak now and in the next business, so can we have short questions and answers please?

Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore Conservative, Keighley

It is noted in the report that BAME young adults face high levels of deprivation and disadvantage that may make reoffending more likely. What steps is my hon. Friend’s Department taking to reduce the likelihood of BAME children and young adults reoffending and entering the court system for a second time?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

One of the really valuable things that emerged from the Lammy review was the point that many of the issues that lead to people being in the criminal justice are upstream. So when we look at how to try to address the issues my hon. Friend refers to, it is not purely about this Department; it is also about this Government. So when we talk about the levelling-up agenda, this has to be levelling up across demographics as well as across the country.

Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for granting this urgent question to my right hon. Friend Mr Lammy. I was disappointed to find out that the Prime Minister’s response to my question last week turned out not to be quite as it seemed, and now he is not here to clarify his own statement. So can the Minister explain why only 1% of full-time police officers in 2019 were black and why this has not been improved since the implementation of the Lammy review?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Overall, diversity is improving. I do not know the specific figures on the police—I apologise, but that is a Home Office matter. For example, the Parole Board did not have a single black member, yet, as a result of the Lammy review, in recent recruitment 35% of new recruits were BAME. That is great news, but there is more to do.

Photo of Dean Russell Dean Russell Conservative, Watford

Does my hon. Friend agree with my view, following conversations I have had locally with a range of BAME representatives, including Luther Blissett, the England footballer and Watford football legend, that one role we need to take now is on community and education, ensuring that when we look around us we see the immense benefits of the vast diversity we have and that we value and celebrate it?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend puts the point beautifully. We need a community—a cohesive community—that recognises and celebrates difference, but remembers that, in the words of a Labour MP, “We have more in common”.

Photo of Christine Jardine Christine Jardine Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

I, too, wish to thank Mr Lammy for securing this important urgent question, particularly at this time. I wish to return to the point that has been made about stop-and-search. The review points out that

“Grievances over policing tactics, particularly the disproportionate use of Stop and Search, drain trust in the CJS in BAME communities.”

That point is critical. Although I take on board what the Minister says about data being important, what are the Government actually going to do about that data? Will they look at ending suspicionless stop-and-search because BAME communities are disproportionately affected by that specifically?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Of course the Government will pull on every lever they can, but I want to make this point about the data. It is online, on the ethnicity facts and figures website, for anyone to see. We are also conducting the race disparity audit, so the evidence is there; there is a big bright spotlight on this area, so people can start to take action. Lastly, this is about not just the police, but those who then deal with the punishment, particularly those on youth offender panels—that was recommendation 18. We have delivered far more diverse youth offender panels, particularly in Hounslow and Wandsworth, and that is going to be a critical part of ensuring that justice is done.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

Many of my constituents work at HMP Rye Hill, HMP Onley and the Rainsbrook secure training centre. On the workforce, what progress has been made in creating more diversity among officers and, in particular, in senior leadership teams in our Prison Service?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We are absolutely committed to ensuring that there is greater diversity, for precisely the reason my hon. Friend indicated. It is not enough just for the police to be more diverse, to represent the society they police; prison officers must be diverse, to represent the prisons that they manage. We are making great progress in that regard, not least, in part, thanks to the Lammy review, and we will continue to make progress.

Photo of Richard Burgon Richard Burgon Labour, Leeds East

I want to pay tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, here and around the world, which is making important demands to tackle systematic racism in state institutions. David Oluwale was a British Nigerian killed in Leeds in 1969. He was drowned in the River Aire and he is buried in my constituency. His death led to the first successful prosecution—one of very, very few—of British police for involvement in the death of a black person. So as well as finally taking action on the Lammy review, will the Minister agree to implement all the recommendations of the Angiolini report on deaths in police custody?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising that important point. We are committed to taking forward recommendations across the piece. I do not know about every last one in respect of that review, but I undertake to him that I will look at it very carefully.

Photo of Tom Hunt Tom Hunt Conservative, Ipswich

Following the tragic death of Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in Ipswich in 2018, which was caused by gang violence, Tavis’s family have done an incredible amount of work to bring about positive change. Tavis’s stepmum, Helen, has this week qualified as a youth worker and, alongside Tavis’s father, Neville, has set up the Reflections youth club, to help prevent young people from falling into crime. Will the Minister join me in praising the incredible work they are doing? Does he agree with me on the importance of bottom-up community action in tackling the causes of knife crime and gang violence?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend pays a powerful and moving tribute to his constituents, but he also highlights such an essential point: the way we drive down, eradicate and root out the cancer of gang violence is by ensuring that we have cohesive communities—not just the older demographic, but the younger demographic—so that everyone feels that they have a stake in a diverse and fair society.

Photo of Sarah Owen Sarah Owen Labour, Luton North

Intervention at school age is needed to end the structural racism identified by the Lammy review. The team at Lea Manor High School in Luton, with their inspirational head, Gwyneth Gibson, are working innovatively within the curriculum, bringing more non-white perspectives and being representative of black communities. Does the Minister welcome that, and how are the Government working with schools and families to respond to the specific needs of young black, Asian and minority ethnic people?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am very grateful to the hon. Lady for raising that, and I am quite sure that what is going on at Lea Manor High School is extremely enlightened and very advantageous to the children. I know that a number of schools are looking again at how they can make sure that the curriculum is modern and up to date. I would want to make sure that that curriculum does not seek in any way to eradicate history, as I am sure it would not, but to revisit it. That has been the purpose over the years of historical examination of the past and that will continue.

Photo of David Morris David Morris Conservative, Morecambe and Lunesdale

Will the Minister comment on the approach to embedding the principle of “explain or change” to inform the Government’s priorities?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend has hit on probably the single most important principle that emerged from the Lammy report—I think that was recommendation 4. “Explain or change” is intended to ensure that unless we can demonstrate the reason behind the figures that we are seeing—if there is a discrepancy that calls for answers and we cannot answer them as a society—we need to change the system. That is a golden thread that runs through the report and it informs many of our policy responses.

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

Frankly, while we certainly need data, we also need decisions and action. Page 62 onwards of the Lammy report takes on the discredited Disclosure and Barring Service. That was in 2017, and the Supreme Court added its criticisms in January 2019, yet the pathetic response emanating from the Home Office is that it is “considering” the Supreme Court judgment and will set out a response in due course. Meanwhile, now, as we face mass unemployment, the unacceptable burden of disadvantage and discrimination will get worse. The Ministry of Justice know that this is wrong. What is it going to do about that?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for raising that point. He is right that in January 2019 there was the Gallagher judgment from the Supreme Court. Judgments of the Supreme Court have to be implemented by this place—that is how it works in our society—and we will do that without delay. May I make a wider point? There is of course a balance that we have to strike: those who commit crime need to be held accountable for their actions, and that sometimes means in their records, but we also need to make sure that people can be rehabilitated and get on and build a brighter future.

Photo of Selaine Saxby Selaine Saxby Conservative, North Devon

If we are to live in a society based on mutual respect, does my hon. Friend agree that children need to leave school in no doubt about the evils of racism? Will he ensure that there is absolute zero tolerance of racism in our schools?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. We cannot hope to solve this issue as a society if people are leaving school with ingrained racist instincts. I think we have moved on a huge way in that respect, but of course we must never be complacent, and we must redouble our efforts to ensure that school is a place of tolerance and understanding and of building a better future.

Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport)

Whenever the Government are asked about anything affecting BAME communities, they shout about the Lammy review, yet they have a long, long way to go to implement much of it. We heard from the author of the review of the prison population and stop-and-search increases. On lockdown fixed penalty notices, Katrina Ffrench of StopWatch said:

“The numbers are clear. Black and Asian people are disproportionately being given fines in comparison to their white peers. This ethnic disparity must be addressed and officers made to account for their decisions.”

Does the Minister agree?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

That is the precisely the theme that I have been trying to advance in the course of these questions. Yes, of course—that is the whole point of “explain or change”. If there are these disparities, the whole purpose of the review is to get the data out there, and if they cannot be explained, people such as the hon. Gentleman, with his assiduous questions, will be shining the very light that we want to see him shine.

Photo of Felicity Buchan Felicity Buchan Conservative, Kensington

Youth clubs have a very important role to play in keeping children off the streets and out of the criminal justice system. Just before we went into lockdown, I took the Home Secretary to an inspirational youth club in my constituency, the Harrow Club. Does my hon. Friend agree with me about the importance of youth clubs?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I certainly do. For a long time, I have spent time with Earls Court Youth Club, which I think is in the neighbouring constituency to my hon. Friend’s. I saw there how lives were changed and futures were enhanced. Crucially, I saw that people had a strong sense of aspiration, when, because of their background—which, by the way, was no fault of their own—they made not have had any. Youth clubs can make a massive difference, and I commend my hon. Friend for the attention that she is giving to one in her constituency.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

Does the Minister agree that it is essential that every community must feel heard, valued and understood? Can he outline the Government’s strategy to ensure that we have enough community workers and community police in every area of the UK to build community confidence, and outline how he believes this can be achieved?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

This Government absolutely share that view, which is why we are committed to recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers—and, by the way, that process is making excellent progress. That will allow more officers to get out into communities to build up that crucial community intelligence to ensure that individuals are kept out of crime and victims are protected.

Photo of Flick Drummond Flick Drummond Conservative, Meon Valley

Following on from the previous question, the review talks about building trust between the police and young people. What consideration has my hon. Friend given to assigning a police officer to a year group in each school who could then build relationships with that year group throughout their school career?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point. I think that it is a proposal that has found favour in other jurisdictions—maybe even in the United States. I cannot speak for the Department for Education, but it strikes me as an extremely interesting idea, which I invite my hon. Friend to raise with DFE colleagues.

Photo of Clive Efford Clive Efford Labour, Eltham

We have seen a 69% increase in the number of black people stopped and searched over the past five years. At the same time, there has been a 69% decrease in the number of white people stopped and searched. Is it correct that the use of racial profiling to stop and search people is a waste of resources? If that is true, why the delay?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Of course if the wrong people are being stopped, it is a waste of resources. But one has to balance that against the knock-on impact of getting rid of this altogether. The point that I have made before, but which I am afraid bears emphasis, is that if that were to be the case and knives were not being taken off the streets, the very people we want to stand up for would be the very people who would fall victim.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

The excellent Minister has said that there is more to do, so what are the Government going to do next to improve the situation?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point. There is a huge amount more to do, but what I indicated in the context of this urgent question is that there are 17 further recommendations, of which we want to do 11 within 12 months and six a little after. I have spoken to my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor, and we are determined to put the afterburners on and really finish them all off without any delay.

Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Labour, Newport West

I have been inundated with emails from constituents in Newport West asking me to press the Government to stop sitting on the recommendations of a number of reviews that they have commissioned in recent years. Today I add my voice to their: the time for full and comprehensive action is now. Will the Minister outline what recent discussions his Department has had about the review of my right hon. Friend Mr Lammy with Ministers in the Welsh Government as part of the drive to implement the review fully?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The hon. Lady’s constituents are absolutely right. They want us to get on with it, and getting on with it we are. I do not have time now to go through what we have done: on recommendations 3, 23, 33 and 4. So much has improved. On the specific point she raised about liaising with Wales—I hope she will forgive me—I will write to her.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

Every bit of social research makes clear the devastating result of family breakdown, yet this report says that black children are more than twice as likely to grow up in a lone-parent family. Will the Minister assure the House that the Government are fully committed to strengthening family bonds, promoting marriage and increasing resources for reconciliation? We spend just £10 million a year on this, when family breakdown may cost us £50 billion a year. Will he assure me that he is fully committed to families?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My right hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and has spoken about this precise issue in the House recently. He is absolutely correct. The right hon. Member for Tottenham agrees, I agree and my right hon. Friend Sir Edward Leigh agrees; we need to address these issues upstream. Strong communities, marriages and strong relationships are essential to keeping people out of trouble and building them a better future.

Photo of Gill Furniss Gill Furniss Shadow Minister (Equalities Office) (Women and Equalities)

According to statistics provided by South Yorkshire police, you are 2.5 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police if you are black, and 1.5 times if you are of Asian heritage. In many communities in the United Kingdom, there has been a complete breakdown of trust in the criminal justice system. Does the Minister acknowledge that, and will he work to fully implement the Lammy review without further delay?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The hon. Lady lights on arguably the most important word throughout all of this—trust. If it is the case that trust is breaking down, which I certainly hope it is not, one of the best ways of achieving trust, as she knows, is through transparency. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. This review, and the Government’s response to it, has shone the brightest possible spotlight on this critically important area of our constitution and of our criminal justice system, and that will set us up for a better future for all.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

We all want offenders to be rehabilitated and for reoffending to fall. Chapter 6 of the Lammy review goes into that in some detail. Can the Minister update the House on the progress in ensuring that our Probation Service reflects the society it serves, to help reduce reoffending, which is higher in some BAME communities at the moment?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My hon. Friend addresses an important issue. When we talk about the criminal justice system, we could be forgiven for saying, “Don’t worry: it’s all about the judges.” It is not all about the judges. We want to ensure that people who are sentenced by the courts comply with community orders, which might be supervised by probation, or comply with whatever the requirements are in prison. That means ensuring that we have greater diversity. We have made some significant progress in respect of probation but also the Parole Board, as I have indicated, and in the Prison Service. We are not complacent, and we want to do more.

Photo of Vicky Foxcroft Vicky Foxcroft Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

On 16 July, the Youth Violence Commission, which I chair, will publish its final report on the root causes of youth violence, The Lammy review highlights that systemic problems cannot be rectified by the criminal justice system alone, and that the work needs to start far earlier. What hope can the Minister give me that the Government will take our recommendations seriously, when we are still waiting for the recommendations of the Lammy review to be implemented?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

We have to recognise that in implementing some of these recommendations, some are quite easy to do but some are much more difficult. For example, as part of this we are piloting plans for improved judicial recruitment. We have to recognise that recommendations will proceed sometimes in tandem, and I would be delighted to discuss with her the recommendations she refers to.

Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Black people from Wales are five times over-represented in prisons and BAME women face the extra disadvantage of having no women’s centres to support rehabilitation. That is just one example of data crying out for tangible action. Will the Minister provide a clear road map of the Government’s plans to open the first residential women’s centre in Wales?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am very grateful to the right hon. Lady for raising the issue of a residential women’s centre in Wales. One of the things I am so proud of, in terms of the response to coronavirus, as the right hon. Lady will know, is the huge amount of money, as part of the £76 million that has been allocated, to support women in particular in the community—over £20 million coming from the MOJ itself. One of the things we want to do is to ensure that there is transparency about the data and who it helps. Crucially—this was not in Lammy, by the way—PCCs are now required to publish data on BAME representation, to ensure that those people as well are being properly represented and getting their fair slice of cake.

Photo of Brendan Clarke-Smith Brendan Clarke-Smith Conservative, Bassetlaw

Can the Minister comment on the approach to embed the principle of “explain or change” to inform the Government’s priorities?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this, because it is the golden thread that runs through this report—explain or change, put up or fix it. That is absolutely at the heart of it, and the right hon. Member for Tottenham was absolutely on the money when he said that. But we can only do that if we have the data out there so that people can observe it, see if there is a problem and then formulate a response. It is the golden thread that runs through the report and it will stand us in good stead for a fairer future.

Photo of Jacob Young Jacob Young Conservative, Redcar

Does my right hon Friend agree that all public institutions, from the courts to the police to this Parliament, should be reflective of the communities they represent?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Absolutely right. Although we recognise that we have to go further, because we should never be complacent, my goodness, how far we have come. We should take a moment to recognise that we have come a long way. In fact, from memory, I think the introduction of the Lammy review says precisely that. I will not read all of it out, because you would get cross, Madam Deputy Speaker, but it says:

“There is a growing BAME middle class. Powerful, high-profile institutions, like the House of Commons, are slowly becoming more diverse.”

We have done a lot: more to do.

Photo of Lucy Powell Lucy Powell Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

No disrespect to the Minister, but this is not about outputs or actions. This is about outcomes, and the outcomes for black and ethnic minority young people, in particular, in our criminal justice system are all going in completely the wrong direction. Does the Minister accept that the outcomes are going in the wrong direction, and that a lot more needs to be done to reverse that?

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

With respect, I think the position is more nuanced than that; I do not think that outcomes in education, for example, are all going in the wrong direction. One of the success stories over recent years is in how black British boys are achieving much higher standards than they were as little as 10 years ago. That is encouraging, but it is right to say that in some aspects of the criminal justice system, things are moving in a different direction. I completely get that, but it was this Government who commissioned the race disparity audit and then, when people thought it was going to be a one-off, actually decided that it had been such a valuable exercise that we would recommission it again and again. We have leaned into this issue because we recognise that if we want a fair society we have to make sure that outcomes are even too.