On 11th December 2018 the House of Lords debated a Motion from Lord Lexden, “That this House regrets the failure by Her Majesty’s Government to institute an independent inquiry into Operation Conifer conducted by the Wiltshire police into allegations of child sex abuse against Sir Edward Heath; and calls on Her Majesty’s Government to make proposals for an independent review of the seven unsubstantiated allegations left unresolved at the end of Operation Conifer.” The Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, for his doggedness in persisting with this, and the other Members of the House who have also done so.
I come at this from something of a different angle. We are dealing with an extremely difficult issue as a society. The Church of England knows something about it—but so do we all. This is really difficult stuff. It would not be enough to have an inquiry into the seven unresolved and said to be unsubstantiated allegations. It is about what we have learned from our experience, about good practice, about what has gone wrong and about how we develop things for the future. Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury supports call for review into Operation Conifer”
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:
Important the Minister agreed with me in the Lords today that support for grassroots organisations are a great way to tackle the terrible spate of knife crime pic.twitter.com/ZRJ9YoytNw
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:
On 30th October 2017 a Government statement was repeated in the Lords on the publication of Dame Elish Angiolini’s Report of the Independent Review of Deaths and Serious Incidents in Police Custody, and the Government’s substantive response. The Bishop of Chester, Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a question after the statement:
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I very much welcome the report; I have simply read the executive summary. It is obviously important to respond well after death occurs, but equally, arguably, it is even more important to put in place measures to reduce the possibility of death. This is where the healthcare provision in the police service is especially important. Given that the NHS has a direct responsibility to provide healthcare in prisons but does not have an equivalent responsibility for those in police care, and given that for half the people the cause of death is alcohol and drug-related, is there not a need to join up A&E, the police, the whole NHS and police support? It is no doubt complex, but at the heart of this lies quite a simple issue. This ought to be brought within the ambit of the NHS, which is the case with prisons. Continue reading “Bishop of Chester calls for NHS to be given responsibility for those in police care”
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?
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