On 6th February 2019 the House of Lords considered the Government’s Offensive Weapons Bill in its third day of Committee. The Bishop of Newcastle, Rt Revd Chrisine Hardman spoke against Government amendments to create new Knife Crime Prevention Orders. The amendments were withdrawn following the debate, but the Minister indicated they were likely to be returned to again at a later stage:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: Before becoming Bishop of Newcastle, I was an archdeacon in south-east London. In my archdeaconry, sadly, was Eltham, where Stephen Lawrence died. I do not, therefore, underestimate the sheer heartbreak and devastation of knife crime, particularly when young people are involved. This crime is growing and growing. I have sat with families whose children have been victims of knife crime. I have officiated at a funeral where that has been the case. The circles of devastation and heartbreak just go on and on. I do not underestimate the seriousness of this problem; nevertheless, I object to this amendment and hope that it will be withdrawn, so that there is more time to reflect on it. Continue reading “Offensive Weapons Bill – Bishop of Newcastle asks Government to think again on Knife Crime Prevention Orders”
On 31st January 2019 the Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, asked a question she had tabled to Government on its female offender strategy:
Female Offender Strategy
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in implementing the female offenders’ strategy.
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie) (Con): My Lords, the Female Offender Strategy, published in June 2018, outlines the Government’s long-term vision for improving outcomes for female offenders in custody and in the community. The strategy sets out a programme of work that contains a number of commitments that will take some years to implement. A new women’s policy framework was published last December, and my noble friend Lord Farmer’s review of family ties for female offenders is expected to report in the coming weeks.
The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, I welcome that information from the Minister, which follows many positive commitments to the female offender strategy. However, we are still awaiting news of residential pilots, action to strengthen links between probation services and women’s centres, the report from the noble Lord, Lord Farmer, and a national concordat. Given that many of the strategy’s commitments have no clear timescales—indeed, in some cases the suggested deadline has already passed—how does the Minister plan to effectively monitor progress and stay on track?
On 15th November 2018 Lord Bach asked the Government ‘what steps they intend to take to strengthen the ability of police forces in England and Wales to tackle knife and other serious and violent crime in addition to funding provided by the Early Intervention Youth Fund.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:
On 15th October 2018 the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a question she had tabled to Government on prisons. Her follow up question and those of other Members is reproduced below:
The Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they plan to ensure that every prisoner can participate in purposeful activity during their sentence.
Lord Keen of Elie: My Lords, the introduction of offender management in custody and the associated staffing means that prisons will be better equipped to run fuller regimes with more opportunities for purposeful activity. Our education and employment strategy, launched in May, will create a system where prisoners are on a path to employment through increased opportunities to gain experience of work in communities while released on temporary licence
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. In Prisons Week, does he accept that continuous efforts must be made to ensure that our prisons are places of safety for those serving their sentences, and are places of hope for those who intend to avoid reoffending once released? Although I welcome the constructive use of additional staff through the promising new offender management in custody scheme, I invite the Minister to acknowledge the important role that chaplaincies, community chaplaincies, charities and churches can play in the rehabilitation of offenders. Continue reading “Bishop of London asks Government about purposeful activity for prisoners, and role of chaplaincy in rehabilitation”
On 10th September 2018 a statement was repeated in the House of Lords about the Government’s victims strategy. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, responded to the statement with a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I wholeheartedly endorse and support what has been said about this strategy. I know from my pastoral work how the effects of crime can resonate throughout people’s lives, not least when it comes to sexual abuse that happened a long time ago. Nevertheless, can the noble and learned Lord comment on the term “victim” and when its use is appropriate and when it is not? Continue reading “Bishop of Chester asks Government to clarify appropriate use of term ‘victim’, in response to statement on new Victim Strategy”
On 1st March 2018 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb led a debate in the House of Lords on her question to Her Majesty’s Government ‘what proposals they have for the use of facial recognition technology in security and policing.’ The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb, for this debate. My guess is that most of us see some very useful ways in which this technology can be used, but many people are also concerned that it may have other uses as well, which they are less keen on. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks for wider debate on use of facial recognition technology”