Clause 28 - Extent, commencement and short title

Part of Public Order Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 16 June 2022.

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Photo of Sarah Jones Sarah Jones Shadow Minister (Home Office) 3:30, 16 June 2022

I thank the hon. Lady for her speech. She covered a wide range of challenges the police have before them. It is not unreasonable to expect the Government to ensure that there is capacity within policing to implement legislation if we are making them do so. I also think that she is probably the only person in this room who has policed protests, so, unless anyone else has, we should probably listen to what she says.

On funding, there is a raft of information out there on the lack of and need for training. I would add a couple of other points, made by the inspectorate and others, on what we must do to ensure that we do these things better. The first is on intelligence gathering—finding out, upstream, what is being planned—to ensure that we have enough resources in that area, because that is one of the most effective ways to prevent those repeat offenders.

There is also an interesting chapter in Matt Parr’s report on collaboration between agencies, because to effectively police a protest, we need all of the other agencies, such as the local authority and emergency services, alongside the police as well. There were many examples where that collaboration was not working properly, perhaps because people do not have the time to put that in place. In his report, Matt Parr recommended a joint review of that process. I understand that there will be one, but, of course, that has not happened yet, and so those challenges are still there.

I know that the hon. Member for North East Fife is intending this as a probing amendment. However, I think it is a reasonable challenge to the Minister that we should have enough resources to implement this when crime has risen, prosecutions have fallen, and we have seen huge cuts to policing across the board—the numbers have not yet gone back to previous levels. We would support the hon. Lady’s amendments.