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 12:15 pm on 6th March 2001.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 12:15 pm, 6th March 2001

No, I am not saying that. I make no bones about saying that we should debate such matters in Parliament, but it is important in a debate such as this, which will be read and studied outside, for the whole history of the subject to be laid out. I hope that in his response the Minister will set out specifically what has been the Home Office's communication to police authorities about the recent protests. Organisations in my constituency have told me that between different police areas dealing with the same, mobile demonstrations, which have moved from one facility to another and across county boundaries, there has been a wide variance in police activity. Two or three weekends ago, when the same group of mobile animal rights extremists were moving from one place to another, in the Thames Valley area, where the police took a proper view of their responsibilities, they made 87 arrests, whereas in Hampshire, next door to my constituency, not a single arrest was made among the same group of demonstrators carrying out the same illegal activities and illegal attacks on research facilities.

I want the Minister to respond to that not because I am criticising individual police authorities but because I want the Home Office to take responsibility and to understand that it must give much clearer guidance, so that we do not have such wide divergence between the response of different police authorities.