The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 11th May 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of their ability to combat piracy once fully automated ships have been brought into service, and of how fully automated ships and their cargo can be protected from illegal boarding in the absence of a crew.
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During a debate on the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill on 9th May 2022, the Bishop of St Albans spoke in support of an amendment tabled by Baroness Kramer that would require the Secretary of State to set up an Office for Whistleblowers to receive reports of whistleblowing in relation to economic crime:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I think I can be quite brief thanks to the noble Baroness, Lady Kramer, as I have been able to ditch most of what I was going to say because she has already made it so clear. I was persuaded to put my name to this amendment simply because I met a woman in one of my churches on a Sunday after worship who is currently in precisely this situation, and her whole life has basically fallen apart.
She came across something that it was clear to her was wrongdoing; she agonised for weeks and tried to take advice, which was difficult to get because of confidentiality. Eventually she decided that she needed to blow a whistle. She was immediately suspended, taken through a disciplinary process and dismissed. She is now trying to decide whether she can afford to take this through the courts. Her view is that she would probably have to sell her house to do so. It really is a David and Goliath situation.
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The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 17th April 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of installing tracking devices on farm machinery to reduce rural crime.
Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): The Government is committed to driving down rural crime. Whether someone lives in the countryside or a town or city they should get the same high-quality service from the police if they fall victim to a crime.
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The Bishop of Gloucester asked a question on defence for victims of abuse who commit an offence on 21st February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask His Majesty’s Government, further to the commitment by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 3 February 2021 (HL Deb col 2286) to “regularly reassess the effectiveness of any law and associated practices in protecting victims”, what recent assessment they have made of the need to review the existing defences for individuals whose offending or alleged offending results from their experience of domestic abuse.
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The Bishop of Gloucester received the following written answer on 20th February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked His Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice on 18 October 2022 (59996), what issue resulted in undercounting convictions for offences under the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018; and whether it was rectified for data published in and after November 2022.
Lord Bellamy (Con): While improving our data processing in 2022, a data mapping issue was discovered in the Courts Proceedings Database production. As detailed in the Criminal Justice System statistics December 2021 publication, an estimated 3,220 convictions for the offence under the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018 were not correctly mapped to the offence of Assault on Emergency Worker between 2019 and 2021 meaning an undercount for that offence in those years. This issue was reflected in the known issues tabs of our published data tools and tables. Convictions in 2018 were not affected.
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On 7th February 2023, the House of Lords debated the Public Order Bill in the second day of the report stage. The Bishop of Manchester spoke in favour of amendments to remove clauses 10 and 11 of the Bill, which would have extended the police’s stop and search powers:
The Lord Bishop of Manchester: I too speak in support of the amendments to remove Clauses 10 and 11, to which I have added my name. I declare my registered interests as the co-chair of the national police ethics committee and the chair of the Greater Manchester Police ethics advisory committee.
Stop and search can be an extremely useful tool in the police kit box, but, like many tools, it works far less well if it is overused or used for the wrong task. Eventually, it loses its efficacy entirely. I have several broken screwdrivers at home that bear witness to my own excesses in that regard, as well as to my very limited DIY skills. That is the danger we run when we extend stop and search powers in what, at times, feels like a knee-jerk reaction. They are simply the most obvious tool at the top of the box, whether they are appropriate or not. As the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, indicated, stop and search becomes, as it has in the past, so discredited that it reaches a point where, like my screwdrivers, it is counterproductive to use it, even in circumstances where it would be right and appropriate to do so.
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The Bishop of Manchester asked a question on facial recognition technology during a debate on the impacts and use of CCTV in the UK on 2nd February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, I declare my interest as chair of the Greater Manchester Police independent ethics committee. Can the Minister tell us what the Government’s assessment is of the use of CCTV in conjunction with live facial recognition technology by police across the UK, and what legal safeguards are in place to ensure that fundamental rights are upheld?
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The Bishop of Manchester asked a question on how the government plan to realise the turnaround priorities set out by the new police commissioner, during a debate on criminality within the Metropolitan Police on 1st February 2023:
The Lord Bishop of Manchester: My Lords, this is more than a series of bad apples; I am sure that there is something rotten in the culture and structures in policing that comprehensively and immediately needs to be addressed. We have the nine turnaround priorities that the new police commissioner has set out. Can the Minister set out how the Government will assist with and ensure those priorities are realised as a matter of urgency?
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The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 24th January 2023:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what estimates they have made of the cost to the state of gambling-driven crime.
Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): The Home Office does not hold the information which you have requested on the estimates for state costs arising from gambling- driven crime.
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The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answers on 29th November 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked His Majesty’s Government:
- what assessment they have made of the rising levels of crime and low conviction rates in rural areas.
- what consideration they have given to setting up rural crime units.
- what steps they are taking to increase the conviction rate for rural crime.
- what guidance they plan to issue to farmers to protect themselves from violent crime.
Lord Benyon (Con): The Statistical Digest of Rural England, published in August 2022 by DEFRA, states “average crime rates (police recorded crime) are lower in rural areas than urban areas”. However, we recognise that some crimes are unique and specific to rural areas.
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