“(c) after paragraph (1)(5) insert—
‘(5A) Where the Secretary of State has imposed on an individual a requirement to reside at a specified residence which is shared with another individual or individuals, the Secretary of State shall provide for an assessment to be made of the suitability of these individuals to reside together.’”
Requirement for a report on approved premises putting offenders in shared accommodation together.
This amendment puts forward a requirement for a report on approved premises putting offenders in shared accommodation together. That is an issue of real concern: the most effective sentencing policy or preventive intervention can be meaningless, frankly, when pitted against the pressure, manipulation or radicalisation that a vulnerable person might be exposed to from a friend, associate or, sadly, even a family member.
We heard throughout the witness sessions that custody can only have a protective impact by taking that particular person off the street, so to speak, for that specified period, and that it is on release that they are exposed. As Peter Dawson, from the Prison Reform Trust, said,
The importance of positive relationships cannot be undervalued. As Mr Dawson said,
“particularly after a long sentence, a stable home and relationships with people who have kept faith with you and who have belief in your future are absolutely the things that help someone as a mature person.”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee,
All the evidence supports that view, so it is also the case that negative association and exposure to extremist pressure within shared accommodation carries real risks, particularly for young offenders.
We are therefore tabling this amendment to ensure that:
“Where the Secretary of State has imposed on an individual a requirement to reside at a specified residence which is shared with another individual or individuals, the Secretary of State shall provide for an assessment to be made of the suitability of these individuals to reside together.”
It would be pointless and perverse for the state to designate specific accommodation as part of a directive, only for that accommodation and those contained therein to be a major influence on increasing reoffending risks. Due diligence must be done on the appropriateness of the residence and those individuals.
The state cannot be responsible for ordering someone into a dangerous or radicalising environment; that would undermine all the other measures contained in the Bill. Therefore, I hope the Government will reflect on this amendment. I do not intend to push it to a vote, but I felt none the less it was important to move it.
Relocation measures are on occasion a very important way of protecting the public. As Jonathan Hall said in his evidence to us on
“Relocation is an important power. It is regrettable, in the sense that it is a very strong measure and causes a lot of disruption, but I am quite satisfied that in a small number of cases it is needed.”––[Official Report, Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Public Bill Committee,
The necessity of relocation on occasion is not in dispute.
In relation to the point that the shadow Minister makes about not putting people into multi-occupancy premises, let me say that the Government and the police never put people into multi-occupancy premises—that is to say, we do not impose a requirement on the subject to reside with other individuals. They would never be put into accommodation with other people, for all the reasons that he mentioned.
Of course, we do regular risk assessments of TPIM subjects, including via the auspices of the TPIM review group that I mentioned a little earlier, which meets quarterly. The group looks not only at the issues we have talked about previously to do with exit strategy and so on, but at various other matters, including the relocation measures and how those are working.
As I have said previously, a former Independent Reviewer Of Terrorism Legislation has commented positively, saying that these quarterly TPIM review groups entail robust discussion of every aspect of the TPIM, including residency, and consider every individual part of that TPIM in turn. I hope that gives the shadow Minister the assurance he requires that people are not compelled to live in multi-occupancy premises, with the potentially adverse consequences that may flow from that.