New Clause 6 - Police directions stopping the harassment etc of a person in his home

Part of Criminal Justice and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 pm on 6th March 2001.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Minister of State, Home Office 11:45 pm, 6th March 2001

Actually, I would not. I return to the phrase, ``harass, alarm or distress''. I do not think that my family is obliged to deal with points of that kind if they are made in a way that could harass, alarm or distress them. I have a constituency surgery and a constituency office through which people can make their cases in an appropriate way. It would not be legitimate for anyone who had a grievance to harass, alarm and distress my family, neighbours or anyone else involved, despite the fact that I am a Member of Parliament.

It is common sense for the police officer on the spot to have a flexible power to deal with the situation. The court will consider matters as they evolve, and we shall see how the use of the helpful word ``vicinity'' develops. It goes wider than the famous word ``curtilage'', which we discussed earlier, and which I hope eventually to eliminate from the thesaurus of legal language.

I shall make a point that I should have made in response to my hon. Friend the Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman). If the offence kept being committed in the way in which he implied it might, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 could come into effect, as the harassment would be over a longer time scale.