Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 18th May 2021.

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[Steve McCabe in the Chair]

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak 9:25 am, 18th May 2021

Before we begin, I have a few preliminary announcements. First, let me ask you to switch any electronic devices off or to silent mode. I remind you that Mr Speaker does not allow tea or coffee to be consumed during sittings of this Committee. This is really difficult, but you have to try to observe the social distancing arrangements and sit only in the places that are marked. I ask you to wear a face mask when you are not speaking, unless you are medically exempt. Space is a bit tight in this room, so people just have to observe social distancing and try to make it as easy for people as possible as they are moving around.

Today we will consider, first, the programme motion on the amendment paper. We will then consider a motion to enable the reporting of written evidence for publication and then a motion to allow us to deliberate in private about our questions, before the oral evidence session. In view of the time available, I hope that we can take all those matters without debate. Before we hear evidence from our first panel, we will have a short briefing from the Parliamentary Digital Service on cyber-security, which is of particular concern to members of this Committee because we are dealing with matters relating to the police and criminal law. The programme motion was discussed on Monday by the Programming Sub-Committee for this Bill.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I beg to move,

That—

(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.25 am on Tuesday 18 May) meet—

(a) at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 18 May;

(b) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 20 May;

(c) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 25 May;

(d) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 27 May;

(e) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 8 June;

(f) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 10 June;

(g) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 15 June;

(h) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 17 June;

(i) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 22 June;

(j) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 24 June;

(2) the Committee shall hear oral evidence in accordance with the following Table:

Date

Time

Witness

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 10.30 am

The National Police Chiefs’ Council

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 11.25 am

The Police Superintendents’ Association; The Police Federation of England and Wales

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 2.45 pm

The Centre for Justice Innovation; The Centre for Social Justice

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 3.30 pm

Jonathan Hall QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation; HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 4.15 pm

Local Government Association; The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 4.45 pm

Doughty Street Chambers; Garden Court Chambers

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 5.15 pm

Youth Justice Board

Tuesday 18 May

Until no later than 5.45 pm

The Bar Council

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 12.15 pm

National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders; Unlock

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 1 pm

The Victims’ Commissioner

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 2.45 pm

The Children’s Society; Community Justice Scotland

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 3.30 pm

The Association of Youth Offending Team Managers

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 4.15 pm

The Law Society

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 5 pm

Howard League for Penal Reform; Criminal Justice Alliance; Women in Prison; Sentencing Academy

Thursday 20 May

Until no later than 5.45 pm

Professor Colin Clark, University of the West of Scotland; Amnesty International UK; Liberty

(3) proceedings on consideration of the Bill in Committee shall be taken in the following order: Clauses 1 to 10, Schedule 1, Clause 11, Schedule 2, Clauses 12 to 42, Schedule 3, Clause 43, Schedule 4, Clauses 44 to 47, Schedule 5, Clauses 48 to 51, Schedule 6, Clauses 52 to 66, Schedule 7, Clauses 67 to 73, Schedule 8, Clause 74, Schedule 9, Clauses 75 to 97, Schedule 10, Clauses 98 to 100, Schedule 11, Clauses 101 to 127, Schedule 12, Clause 128, Schedule 13, Clause 129, Schedule 14, Clauses 130 to 134, Schedule 15, Clause 135, Schedule 16, Clauses 136 to 156, Schedule 17, Clauses 157 to 161, Schedule 18, Clauses 162 to 168, Schedule 19, Clauses 169 to 171, Schedule 20, Clauses 172 to 176, new Clauses, new Schedules, remaining proceedings on the Bill;

(4) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 24 June

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend Chris Philp, and I are both delighted to serve under your chairmanship, Mr McCabe. I welcome to the Committee my hon. Friends, on the Government Benches, and hon. Members across the room. I am sure that we can expect some lively debates in the days and weeks of scrutiny ahead.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, any written evidence received by the Committee shall be reported to the House for publication.—(Victoria Atkins.)

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

Copies of written evidence that the Committee receives will be circulated to members by email and made available in the Committee Room.

Resolved,

That, at this and any subsequent meeting at which oral evidence is to be heard, the Committee shall sit in private until the witnesses are admitted.—(Victoria Atkins.)

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

If everyone is agreed, we will go into a private session for the briefing on cyber-security and to discuss the lines of questioning. Time is very tight, so we will allow five minutes for the presentation and, if there are any obvious questions, a few minutes for that. If people have things that they want to follow up, I ask them to do that separately with the PDS; otherwise we are just eating into the Committee’s time.

The Committee deliberated in private.

9.36 am

On resuming—

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

I want to check how members of the respective parties want to handle the questions. We have our first panel until 10.30 am; they will all be giving evidence by video today. It is slightly harder since we are not sitting in our usual formed lines, but my assumption is that I should simply alternate between members of the respective parties and allow enough time for the Minister and the Front-Bench spokespersons to come in towards the end. Are you happy with that?

Hon. Members:

indicated assent.

Photo of Steve McCabe Steve McCabe Labour, Birmingham, Selly Oak

Obviously, you can either use the questions that are on the brief that you have been given, but there is no objection to your asking your own questions. However, the questions must relate to the content of the Bill; we do not want any flights of fancy from anyone. I hope that makes perfect sense.

Also, if anyone has anything that they need to declare, I hope that they will be kind enough to do that.

I think that covers all the preliminary business. I am conscious that it is difficult to be called with the arrangement in the room, so if you want to be called, just indicate that to me. And if you are sitting at the back, there is a microphone there, so that you will be heard properly. If anyone is having any terrible difficulties, let me know.

Otherwise, if you are happy to proceed, I will call the first panel of witnesses: Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council; and Chief Constable BJ Harrington, the NPCC lead for public order and public safety.