Schedule 1 - Enforcement powers in relation to ships

Part of Modern Slavery Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 9 September 2014.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 2:30, 9 September 2014

The point I am making is that the offence under schedule 1 could include someone preventing an enforcement officer from boarding, entering, searching or doing things on a ship. That person could subsequently be found not guilty of a human trafficking offence, but they might still have tried to pervert the course of justice. I am not sure that a fine is the appropriate mechanism for dealing with that. We should consider setting out the possibility of further action: either a minimum fine or a minimum custodial sentence. That might be hard-line on this issue, but it is an important signal to send. The measure might reflect other legislation, but sending that signal is important. It does not mean that a court has to exercise the power, but the Minister might want to reflect on that. I do not intend to press the amendment, but she would have our support if she wanted to reflect on the amendment and go further, which would send a strong signal.