On 27th June 2017, the Bishop of Southwark, Rt Rev. Christopher Chessun, contributed to the ongoing debate on the Queen’s Speech. The Bishop’s speech addressed the strong response from volunteers and emergency services to recent events, and called for a re-examination of current resources. Government Minister Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth responded to the Bishop of Southwark’s speech at the end of the debate.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I too wish to contribute to your Lordships’ debate on the humble Address. Last Thursday, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury observed in this House that the gracious Speech spoke of taking British values around the world, but for that to happen we need to know what we mean by British values. That applies equally to the measures under discussion today. Traditionally, these values have expressed themselves in a respect for the rule of law, local and national institutions, our liberties and freedoms, and parliamentary democracy. They were born of a society in which people participate, not a consumer society. From them spring mutual obligations, not merely contractual ones. Mutuality issues from civic virtue of the sort we have seen on our streets in response to calamity and terror in recent months in London and Manchester.
On 9th November 2016, Baroness Miller asked Her Majesty’s Government “what urgent steps they will take to restore confidence in the Metropolitan Police following the conclusions of Sir Richard Henriques report into Operation Midland.” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd. Nick Baines, asked a follow up question about the criteria used to determine whether to make public the name of someone under investigation for sexual offences:
On 18th July the House of Lords considered the Government’s Policing and Crime Bill at its Second Reading. The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, spoke in the debate, focusing on proposals for police reform, gambling, mental health and young people.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, I congratulate Ministers and their officials on bringing forward such a large Bill in so orderly a fashion. This is a Bill of nine parts; even Gaul was only divided into three. I hope your Lordships will forgive me if I make a number of points from so varied a terrain.
While the Bill addresses licensed premises for the sale of alcohol, we have no mention in it of other licensed premises, which are also vulnerable to criminal activity. We know from freedom of information requests reported in the press that from 2013 to 2014 there was a 20% rise in the number of police call-outs to betting shops. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans, who wished to attend this debate, himself submitted a freedom of information request recently to the Gambling Commission, which reveals a 68% rise in reports of violence against the person at London betting shops over the last five years. Continue reading “Policing and Crime Bill: Bishop of Southwark responds”
In the House of Lords on 25th November 2014 Baroness Gale asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what progress has been made since March, when the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, known as “Clare’s Law”, was implemented in all police forces in England and Wales.’ The Bishop of Birmingham, Rt Rev David Urquhart, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Birmingham: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her response to some of the questions. I would like to press her a little further on the deep need for culture change, specifically in the area of training for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Is she minded to enable the Government to make that mandatory?
“The College of Policing would do well to get on to the front foot in its ethical work so that our police see it as their duty not simply to avoid wrongdoing but to pursue values that will make them still more a force for the common good” – Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, 28/11/13
On 28th November 2013, the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the Rt Revd John Packer, took part in Lord Paddick’s take-note debate on public trust in the police, its role in effective policing, and the system for investigating complaints into police conduct. In his speech, the Bishop spoke of the importance of trust in fostering positive relationships between police and communities, and welcomed the College of Policing’s draft code of ethics, whilst calling for it to be bolder in its promotion of a positive role for the police in promoting the common good.
The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds: My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, both for leading this debate and for his powerful and serious introduction to it. I also look forward to the first of many contributions to the work of this House from the noble Baroness, Lady Jones of Moulsecoomb.
On 5th August 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, received an answer to a written question on European Union Justice and Home Affairs measures.
The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, prior to their decision on 9 July to opt out of 130 European Union Justice and Home Affairs measures as provided for by the Lisbon Treaty, guarantees were provided by the European Commission that the United Kingdom would be able to opt back in to various police and justice provisions.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Protocol 36 to the Treaties places an obligation on the UK and the Union institutions to, “…seek to re-establish the widest possible measure of participation of the United Kingdom in the acquis of the Union in the area of freedom, security and justice without seriously affecting practical operability of the various parts thereof, while respecting their coherence”. We are confident that we will be able to reach agreement on a sensible final package of measures that the UK will formally apply to rejoin.
Of course it is not possible to predict the final outcome of the discussions with EU institutions, but following the Governments announcement on 9 July the Commission made clear in a press release that it “respects the UK Government’s choice to opt out, which is in line with the Treaty, and welcomes the UK intention to also opt back into certain measures”.