Voyeurism: additional offences

Part of Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 12th July 2018.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 12:30 pm, 12th July 2018

The hon. Lady says she is a Back-Bench MP and so does not have the power or ability to change laws, but let us remember how this legislation came before the House. It was a private Member’s Bill brought forward by a Back-Bench MP. The Government have supported the Bill because it is the right Bill to take forward. It identifies a gap in the law, and we are bringing it forward.

I would also like to touch on the statutory guidance referred to in the hon. Lady’s new clause. It is important to ensure that the legislation is applied effectively by police and prosecutors so that this behaviour is tackled robustly and consistently. I should point out that we already have that in train. Following a request from the previous Lord Chancellor to the then Home Secretary and then Attorney General, work is under way to develop and update the guidance on upskirting, without the need for legislation to command us to do so.

We are committed to working together across the Government to ensure that the new offences and the existing law are used effectively to tackle upskirting. The Home Office is working with the College of Policing to develop police guidance on the powers that currently exist to tackle some cases of upskirting, including outraging public decency. The guidance will be further updated to capture the proposed changes to the law in the Bill. The guidance will be aimed at all frontline officers, control room staff and investigators and will be created in consultation with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the CPS.

The previous Attorney General discussed this issue with the DPP, and they are clear that all cases involving upskirting need to be considered carefully. The CPS will ensure that guidance is updated to reflect the proposed new offences, as well as to raise awareness of existing offences.