Amendment 148C

Part of Victims and Prisoners Bill - Committee (6th Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 26 February 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Newlove Baroness Newlove Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 7:00, 26 February 2024

My Lords, this amendment is important. As someone who knows first-hand what it is like to gather information and then find out that the Home Office wants to gather information about red flags, I have to say it is amazing that all that information is shared for the Home Secretary to look at on a murder case.

I agree with the passionate assertion by the noble Lord, Lord Coaker, that data sharing is important. In a domestic homicide review, the families already know the information and have complained about it, but the Government have to wait for this review to come out with “lessons learned”. That is further insulting to the victims’ families and indeed to the victims, and it beggars belief that we have not moved on.

I want to tell my noble friend about data sharing. I attended a MARAC a few years ago as Victims’ Commissioner—not every MARAC is fantastic, I have to say—and what concerned me was that when a police officer gave evidence that the prisoner had been released, his offender manager, who was at that same table, was concerned because the last thing she knew was that he was still meant to be in prison. She had to leave the room to double-check, because he should not have been released. Unfortunately, I did not manage to find out the result, but the police and offender management had to try to establish whether the prisoner had even been released. That shows how important it is for data to be shared for the protection of victims. People need to understand what can be shared so they can find out whether a prisoner is even in their cell.