Clause 17 - Notification requirements in serious disruption prevention order

Public Order Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 16th June 2022.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

Clause 17 establishes the information that individuals subject to an SDPO must give to the police, to ensure that the police are aware of anyone subject to an order within their area and can monitor their compliance accordingly. Within three days of first receiving an SDPO, individuals must notify their local police, in person, at the local police station, of their name and any alias, their home address and any other address at which they regularly stay. If any of that information changes, the individual must notify their local police within three days of the change. It will be an offence, established under clause 20, for individuals to knowingly give false information under the requirements of this clause. I ask that it stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Sarah Jones Sarah Jones Shadow Minister (Home Office)

Clause 17 covers the general issue that we have debated already in considering earlier clauses, and although we object to it, I do not have anything further to add.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

I seek a couple of quick clarifications. Subsection (3) states that there is a duty to notify the police about

“the address of any other premises at which…P regularly resides or stays.”

However, subsection (4) then refers to P deciding

“to live for a period of one month or more” somewhere else. Obviously, there is a difference there, so I wondered what counted as regularly residing or staying. What happens if P was in a relationship with somebody and stayed over somewhere? Quite a lot of people have a permanent home address but they stay over at somebody else’s for a few days or weeks, and they might notify that. But let us suppose they were not in a relationship at the time the order was granted and so have not given notice of a second address. I understand the provision to mean that if they were then in a relationship, they would not have to give notice of it if it was the sort of set-up in which they were staying somewhere else for part of the week, and that they would have to provide notification only if they were doing it for a month at a time. Is that right?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

No, that is not my interpretation. In that example, when the order is granted and the individual is not in a relationship, they would give their home address. If during course of the order they enter a relationship and start spending time at somebody else’s address on a regular basis—they might be there a couple of nights a week—they should also notify as to that address. If they then move from either of those addresses for one month or more and reside elsewhere, they should provide notification of those changes as well.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

I do not think that is actually what the Bill says, although it is a fairly technical point.

I have one other query on notifications. Subsection (6) says that the notification can be given by

“attending at a police station”,

which is fair enough, or by

“giving an oral notification to a police officer, or to any person authorised for the purpose by the officer in charge of the station.”

I am a little concerned about this “oral notification”. Will there be a process for recording it and making sure there is a record of it happening? I am surprised that a notification in writing would not be accepted. Is there a particular reason why that would not be allowed?

Photo of Kit Malthouse Kit Malthouse The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

The notification requirements and the notification change requirements broadly mirror other notification requirements that are given to the police. However, although I am keen to keep the clause in the legislation, I am happy to discuss matters and provide clarity to the hon. Lady before we get to Report, so that she can see that, as I say, it is not unusual in these kinds of circumstances for people to have to notify their whereabouts or their likely whereabouts overnight to the police.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

I have slightly lost track as to whether we are still at an intervention or not, but I think I am continuing my speech.

I have had immigration cases in which people have had a duty to report to the police station and their attending has somehow not made it on to the record, and people have fallen foul of the law as a result. It can be quite difficult for someone to prove that they did something if the police did not keep accurate records of their doing it. I just want to avoid that situation.

Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East

That is the end of my speech.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 17 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.