I will address this clause briefly, because the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley has raised a query about it. Clause 23 relates to a perpetrator who is alleged to have breached the grounds of their notice. If a constable has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is in breach of a notice, they can be arrested without warrant, held in custody and brought before a magistrates court within 24 hours, or in time to attend the scheduled hearing of the application for a domestic abuse protection order—whichever is sooner. It is fair to say that these are very strong powers, which I hope shows the seriousness with which we believe the alleged perpetrator should be viewed, but also the seriousness with which the police and the courts view these notices.
The Bill also provides the police with a power of entry when they are arresting someone for breach of notice, and that is stronger than the current domestic violence protection notice provisions, which do not go quite that far. This additional power of entry will improve the police’s ability to safeguard victims and to gather vital evidence at the scene of an incident.
One of the most striking features of the clause is set out in subsection (2), which states:
“A person arrested by virtue of subsection (1) must be held in custody”.
These are indeed strong powers, but they send a very clear signal that the law and law enforcement are on the side of the alleged victim at such times. It is a very welcome move and will give confidence and respite to any alleged victims in future, so we thank the Government for delivering it.