Clause 100 - Minimum sentences for particular offences

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 10th June 2021.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice) 2:15 pm, 10th June 2021

I certainly agree with the right hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby, and I have given his constituency its full title—how on earth could I ever forget Whitby, when it is one of my favourite destinations for a day out? I am sure he will understand why that is the case. For me, this issue is about how we tackle the guys with the briefcases and not just the young men on the streets? How do we make sure that we deal with organised crime? We have seen some great results recently in my own constituency and across the Cleveland police area, where there have been raids on individual houses and the police found large amounts of drugs. However, those drugs are finding their way in through Teesport and through the Tyneside ports as well. We are failing to get to the people who are driving the entire trade and we need to do much, much more to do so.

With the National Crime Agency currently prioritising cyber-crime, child sexual exploitation and terrorism, and the Serious Violence Taskforce having been disbanded recently, I would be grateful if the Minister could explain how anything in clause 100 will tackle serious organised criminality.

To conclude, the Opposition have deep concerns about the introduction of the power in clause 100. We worry that it has been introduced without an evidential basis, without consultation with impacted groups, and without a full equalities impact assessment. Even more importantly, we worry that it will further entrench the already shameful levels of racial disparity in our criminal justice system while failing to tackle the underlying causes of the crimes that we have been discussing. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response, which I hope will address the issues that I have raised.