Amendment 292Q

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Committee (11th Day) – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 24th November 2021.

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Photo of Lord Coaker Lord Coaker Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Opposition Whip (Lords) 8:15 pm, 24th November 2021

My Lords, in thanking the Minister for his reply, I will make a couple of comments about the two amendments not in my name. First, I think that we all heard clearly, in answer to my noble friend Lord Bassam and his amendment, that the Government agree with him. The question that my noble friend then posed was: when will the Government act to implement the amendment that he put forward and that the Government say they agree with? That is the key question.

I take the Minister’s point that he will do something before Report—unless I have misrepresented him—or consider it before Report. That is where we start to get into difficulty, because he has moved from doing something to considering it. If the Minister agrees with it, something needs to be done. We have gone past considering it; it is time for action. That is what my noble friend Lord Bassam was saying and I very much agree with him.

I am sure that my noble friend Lord Faulkner will have heard the remarks about dealing with scrap metal, which—irrespective of whether it should have been in this group—is an issue. I think that he will be pleased that the Minister sought to answer those points.

With respect to my amendment, which of course I will withdraw—and I will come to a couple of the points made by other noble Lords—I think that schools will be interested that the Minister says powers are already available to them, notwithstanding the way in which he moved on to powers that we are yet to discuss. Of course, if everyone agrees with them, it will all be solved—that is for another debate later on. The Minister specifically said that powers are already available to schools, should they wish to deal with this issue. That is not how they feel. They feel as though it takes an inordinate amount of time to get anything in place. That is the whole point of what this amendment seeks to do. The Government need to consider how they reassure schools that those powers are available to them to deal quickly with problems that occur.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, and my noble friend Lady Chakrabarti for their support for the amendment, in the sense of their recognition that it is a two-way street. I accept that it is not unbridled, unqualified support, but it is important.

On the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Fox, it is not me imposing this or saying that schools should ban it. That is clearly laid out that it is for the leadership of the schools, the local police and the local council, along with any other persons who people see fit. Where considerable distress or alarm is being caused to young people in that particular situation and environment, they would then have the option to consider using this to protect them. The amendment refers specifically to schools, although I take the point from the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, that it could be broadened out in some circumstances. I specifically tried to ensure that it was measured, constrained and used in particular circumstances, recognising that people of course have a right to protest. I suspect that many people would also have given leaflets outside schools in an appropriate way.

With those remarks, I thank the Minister again for his reply and thank all noble Lords for contributing to what is an important debate. I seek leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 292Q withdrawn.

Amendment 292R to 292U not moved.