Report (5th Day)

Part of Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 20th March 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Newlove Baroness Newlove Conservative 7:15 pm, 20th March 2012

My Lords, I will not go on for too long because others have covered the issue. I welcome the Government's take on this, and obviously I want to congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, on her hard work. Her foot has been flat down on the pedal. As someone who has suffered and who is passionate about making a change in our society, I am really grateful for these pilots. As we have just heard from the noble Baroness, after 10 o'clock at night 80 per cent of all crime is alcohol-related. My husband was attacked at 10 o'clock, so I reiterate that this is very important.

I welcome these pilots, but as we have just heard, they are only pilots. However, we have to think outside the box. They are risky, but risks can be turned around. It is important that we do not wait for more victims and families to lose loved ones. We must do what we say on the tin and make communities feel safe and be happier places to live in. I receive many letters from people who hide behind their doors because they are scared of what they are going to face outside. I live with that every day and I want to make sure that we tackle this problem. I am very interested in these pilots and I wait with bated breath to see what they do.

Even the magistrates welcome this development; I have spoken to magistrates in two areas. Also, offenders will be helped to turn their lives around. Even so, their lifestyles are no justification. Drugs and alcohol are no defence for murder, but when it comes to sentencing they are seen as mitigating circumstances along the lines of, "Oh but for the alcohol". We have to stop justifying alcohol abuse and make changes for the better. I really welcome these amendments from the Government.