Clause 1: Power to grant injunctions
1: Clause 1, page 1, line 10, leave out subsection (3)
My Lords, the House will recall that, on the first day of Report, your Lordships agreed, by some margin, an amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Dear, which modified the test for the grant of an injunction under Part 1. That amendment, and the outcome of the debate, reflected an anxiety that the test provided for in the Bill on its introduction into your Lordships’ House was too vague and too broad and may, as a result, have led to inappropriate use by the police, local authorities and others.
I made it clear in that debate that the Government believed that such fears were unfounded. As I indicated, it was never the intention of the Government to introduce a power that would curtail freedom of expression or normal, everyday activities of the law-abiding majority. I do not believe that front-line professionals would have used the power in this way or that any court would have entertained an application for an injunction in those circumstances.
However, I am a pragmatic man. I fully recognise the strength of feeling in your Lordships’ House on the issue. Having reflected on the debate on Report, the Government are content to retain the two-tiered approach provided for in the amendment agreed by the House at that stage. In particular, in the case of anti-social conduct committed away from a residential setting, we are content that the test for the grant of an injunction should be based on conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, “harassment, alarm or distress”.
Since Report, I have been able to discuss with the noble Lord, Lord Dear, whom I am delighted to see in his place today, our concerns that under his amendment the “nuisance or annoyance” test would apply to conduct only in a social housing context. Throughout the debates on the anti-social behaviour provisions in this Bill, the Opposition Front Bench have chided us on the grounds that certain provisions were not tenure-neutral. I think that that charge was at times a little unfair, but it had some validity and I do not want this Bill to return to the House of Commons with a provision, in its very first clause, which applies a different test to the victims of anti-social behaviour who live in social housing from that applied to the victims of such behaviour who own their own home or live in private rented accommodation.
The noble Lord, Lord Dear, and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, acknowledged in our previous debate on this matter that anti-social behaviour in the housing context was of a different order. Victims cannot be expected to have the same degree of tolerance to anti-social behaviour where it takes place on their doorstep or in the immediate vicinity of their own home. It is simply not reasonable to expect the victims to move home in such circumstances in the same way as they could walk away from anti-social behaviour in a shopping centre or public park. The amendment passed on Report accepted this by retaining the “nuisance or annoyance” test for residents in social housing. Following discussions with the noble Lord, these government amendments extend that principle and protection to those who live in other housing settings.
I am pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Dear, my noble friend Lady Hamwee and the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, have put their names to these amendments—I know that my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern also sought to do so, but he was crowded out. It is an important feature of Amendment 2 that the power to apply for an injunction where the “nuisance or annoyance” test applies is restricted to social landlords, local authorities and the police. There was, and is, no question of rogue private landlords being able to exercise these powers.
As with the existing powers, the amendment will mean that social landlords can still apply for an injunction to address problems that directly or indirectly relate to their housing management functions. This will allow social landlords to protect their employees and neighbourhoods from anti-social behaviour as part of their housing management function. As I have said, the “harassment, alarm or distress” test will apply outside the housing context.
These amendments will provide for an injunction that puts victims first and gives front-line professionals a powerful tool to protect the public from anti-social behaviour while ensuring that there are proper safeguards to protect freedom of speech and assembly. I hope that the whole House will agree that this is an equitable outcome. I beg to move.
My Lords, as the Minister said, I have put my name to the amendment, but the whole House will be grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dear, for causing the Government, in the words of the Minister in his letter to a number of us, to “reflect carefully” and conclude that pragmatism was the right way.
I am pleased that the Government have decided to propose this change. I did not agree and I still do not believe that the original wording was the threat to freedom of expression which was argued, but it clearly troubled many people a great deal, and whatever the technicalities, I do not think that it is good law to have provisions which trouble people as to precisely what they mean.
I am pleased, too, that the Government have dealt with the tenure point, which was one that I and others picked up at the previous stage. What matters is that it now looks as if we will be able to shift away from the criminalisation of anti-social behaviour implicit in the current legislation and move to a new way to tackle the problem.
My Lords, I of course welcome the amendment. It is, as the Minister said, substantially the same as the amendment in my name on which we voted on Report. I readily agree the inclusion of private housing in the same context as social housing, which has been on the statute book for a while.
I extend a vote of thanks at this juncture, first, to those who voted in support of my amendment on Report. I am very grateful to them for helping to preserve and protect fundamental rights under the law. I thank the Public Bill Office staff, who were, as they always are, unfailingly helpful to me in the progress of the amendment through to Report. I thank the staff of the Christian Institute, who gave me invaluable administrative help in the run-up to the vote on Report. Finally, I thank the Minister for his unfailing courtesy and help in what were not always the easiest of discussions to make progress on in this part of the Bill. Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with him before will know that that is his default mode, and I am very grateful to him.
My Lords, sweetness and light is clearly breaking out after a slightly more difficult passage of the Bill at earlier stages. We should all be pleased that the outcome of this has been to strike a compromise between the very real concerns that the noble Lord, Lord Dear, my noble friend Lady Mallalieu and others expressed about the original provision. That had to be balanced, as it was in debate, by the real concern about problems faced by many tenants in both the public and the private sector, and I think that the Government have sought to strike an acceptable balance. To strike the slightest of sour notes, I think it was clear that that balance had to be struck from our debate in Committee, a very full and detailed debate. Perhaps, had the Government come forward with precisely this formulation at an earlier stage, they would have avoided a defeat. I also wish that a similar attempt to try to meet the genuine concerns of noble Lords in respect of other provisions in the Bill might have borne fruit before we got to this stage.
My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for the amendment he has moved today, for his letter and for the helpful way in which he approached taking on board the will of your Lordships’ House. His amendment still allows for nuisance and annoyance to be taken into the housing setting and residential areas. I am grateful for his acknowledgement that it was the Opposition who raised time and again during the passage of the Bill the fact that so much of it is not tenure-neutral. We felt that those who rented their accommodation rather than owned it were getting a bit of a raw deal. In the amendment, the Government have sought to address that problem, so that those suffering from anti-social behaviour in the form of nuisance and annoyance, whether the people who are causing the problem live in public rented accommodation, private rented accommodation or are owner-occupiers, can ensure that that problem is tackled. I am grateful for the Minister’s acknowledgement of that because we have raised it several times during consideration of the Bill. I also welcome the conversion of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, to this as I know that she was not happy with the amendment and voted against it on Report. The Minister can take great pride and credit in having such widespread support around the House.
I have just one question, which is on the title of the provision still being an IPNA, or an injunction to prevent nuisance and annoyance, under Part 1 of the Bill. I wonder whether, if I can pronounce this correctly, that should now be an IPASB rather than an IPNA. On the content, that aside, we are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dear, and my noble friend Lady Mallalieu for tabling that amendment in the first place.
It may well be. I sometimes think that when we use acronyms, people have not got a clue what we are talking about. However, should it not be an injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour rather than an injunction to prevent nuisance and annoyance?
I have an answer to the noble Baroness’s question, which I know about because I asked the same question at one stage. The title of Part 1 of the Bill—a title covering the whole of Part 1—will be revised in advance of the Act being published, following Royal Assent. Apparently, this is quite customary. It is worth making it clear that the title of Part 1 does not represent the formal name for the injunction and that whatever name is chosen will not affect the meat and substance of what it seeks to do.
Amendment 1 agreed.
2: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—
“Meaning of “anti-social behaviour”
(1) In this Part “anti-social behaviour” means—
(a) conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person,(b) conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises, or(c) conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.(2) Subsection (1)(b) applies only where the injunction under section 1 is applied for by—
(a) a housing provider,(b) a local authority, or(c) a chief officer of police.(3) In subsection (1)(c) “housing-related” means directly or indirectly relating to the housing management functions of—
(a) a housing provider, or(b) a local authority.(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) the housing management functions of a housing provider or a local authority include—
(a) functions conferred by or under an enactment;(b) the powers and duties of the housing provider or local authority as the holder of an estate or interest in housing accommodation.”
Amendment 2 agreed.
Clause 19: Interpretation etc
3: Clause 19, page 9, line 38, leave out “1(2)” and insert “(Meaning of “anti-social behaviour”)”
Amendment 3 agreed.
Clause 20: Saving and transitional provision
4: Clause 20, page 11, line 16, leave out “section 13(5)” and insert “subsection (5A)”
Amendment 4 agreed.
5: Clause 20, page 11, line 19, at end insert—
“(5A) The provisions referred to in subsection (5)(b) are—
(a) section 1(7);(b) sections 3(2) and 8 (if a power of arrest is attached);(c) sections 5 to 7;(d) section 9;(e) section 10 and Schedule 1;(f) section 11 and Schedule 2;(g) section 17(1).”
Amendment 5 agreed.
Clause 100: The community remedy document
6: Clause 100, page 68, line 16, leave out from “behaviour”” to end of line 17 and insert “has the meaning given by section (Meaning of “anti-social behaviour”) (ignoring subsection (2) of that section);”
Amendment 6 agreed.
Clause 101: Anti-social behaviour etc: out-of-court disposals
7: Clause 101, page 69, line 19, leave out from “behaviour”” to end of line 20 and insert “has the meaning given by section (Meaning of “anti-social behaviour”) (ignoring subsection (2) of that section);”
Amendment 7 agreed.
8: After Clause 113, insert the following new Clause—
“Use of premises for child sex offences
(1) Schedule (Amendments of Part 2A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) (amendments of Part 2A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) has effect.
(2) For the purposes of sections 136BA and 136D(7A) of the Sexual Offences Act (inserted by that Schedule), it does not matter whether the offence or offences in question were committed before, or on or after, the date on which this section comes into force.”
My Lords, child sexual exploitation is an abhorrent crime and we are determined to tackle it in whatever form it takes. Grooming and child sexual exploitation happen in all areas of the country and can take many different forms. They are never acceptable, and we all need to work together to ensure that these sickening crimes no longer remain hidden. On day two of Report, I undertook to give sympathetic consideration to an amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, which sought to strengthen the powers available to the police to close premises used for child sexual exploitation. As I set out then, given the serious nature of these crimes, we believe that the Sexual Offences Act 2003 rather than the closure powers in this Bill, which relate to anti-social behaviour, is the most appropriate place to address this issue—a point that my noble friend Lady Hamwee made very well on Report.
We have now reviewed the existing powers in Part 2A of that Act in light of the debate on Report. The existing closure powers relate only to prostitution and child pornography offences. This means that the police cannot at present close premises where other sex offences against children have been or are likely to be committed. I am sure that noble Lords will agree that this is not right.
Amendments 8 and 18 will ensure that the police are able to close premises associated with a much wider range of child sex offences. These include not just the specific child sex offences in Sections 5 to 13 of the 2003 Act and offences relating to indecent images of children under the Protection of Children Act 1978, but other offences where the victim is under 18, including rape and sexual assault. Given that these offences relate to some of the most vulnerable members of our society, the amendments would also modify the conditions relating to the use of the closure power to enable the police to close premises quickly in cases of urgency. The police will be able to issue a closure notice when they have reasonable grounds for believing that in the past three months the premises have been used for activities related to a specified child sex offence and, importantly, when the premises are likely to be used for such activities.
Clearly there should be safeguards to ensure that these powers are used in the right circumstances. That is why we will retain the existing safeguards in Part 2A of the 2003 Act, which are similar to the safeguards on the power to close premises due to anti-social behaviour in Part 4 of the Bill. Although an initial closure notice can be issued by the police, a court must decide whether to make a closure order within 48 hours of it taking effect. The police must also have regard to any guidance issued in relation to these powers. Furthermore, a closure notice cannot prevent a person who regularly resides on or owns the premises entering or remaining on them.
Lastly, the occupier of the premises, and any other person who has an interest in the premises, may contest a subsequent application to the court to make an order. This would mean, for example, that if the police received evidence on a Friday night that premises were to be used as a venue for abusing children that weekend, they could, in addition to their existing safeguarding powers and actions, temporarily close the premises. This could provide the police with a powerful tool to disrupt and tackle child sexual exploitation. These amendments will enhance the ability of the police to protect the public from sexual harm and will complement the steps that we have taken elsewhere in the Bill to strengthen the system of civil orders used to manage the risk of sexual offences, and to give the police additional powers to tackle child sexual exploitation taking place in hotels and similar establishments.
As I have made clear, this issue is an absolute priority for the Government, and I am grateful for the support of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, on this issue. We are both determined to do all that we can to protect vulnerable members of our society from exploitation and abuse, and it is important that we provide the police with the powers and tools to tackle this issue. I therefore commend these amendments to the House.
My Lords, I am sure that the whole House has cause to be grateful to my noble friend, and I am glad that the Government are taking powers to deal with this evil—and it is an evil. However, I express the hope—without anticipating tomorrow’s debate in any detail, because that would be wrong—that there is real consultation between government departments. If it is going to be more difficult, as it should be, for these evil people to do these terrible things in reality, as it were, some will be tempted into the virtual world where so many children, as the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, has pointed out, are at ever-increasing risk. We will be debating that tomorrow, but could the Minister give me an assurance that there will be conversations between him and Ministers in other departments to make sure that we have real co-ordination to attack the evil people who do these terrible things?
My Lords, yet again I have reason to be grateful to the Minister for the way in which he took away the amendment I tabled and brought it back in a way that can really make a difference. When I first tabled the amendment, I knew that it was stretching it a bit to table it to this Bill, but it had to be said that here was an opportunity to do something about a very serious problem. I am grateful to the Minister because he did not say that it could not be dealt with under this Bill. He took it away and found a way of ensuring we could give these young people the protection they need.
I am grateful to Tony Lloyd, the police and crime commissioner in Manchester, who first raised this with me, and to Colin Lambert, the leader of Rochdale Council and Jeanette Stanley of Rochdale Council. Their message is the same as mine. This is an important tool, although it will not solve the problem. The noble Lord, Lord Cormack, has already indicated other areas where people with evil intent will try to find a way around legislation. The existing legislation was inadequate. The way these young people are groomed is so callous, calculating and cruel that the children do not even realise they are being groomed and are the victim of an offence. This is now an important tool in the armoury of those at the sharp end trying to protect young people and children and to deal with such horrific crimes. I am very grateful to the Minister for the way he has handled this, and we are very pleased to support this amendment.
My Lords, I welcome this amendment very strongly. The Minister will remember that I introduced a debate to which he responded which covered a range of issues around child sexual abuse. Therefore, I know he is well aware of the range of attempts that these people will go through. “Evil” is an odd word to use because there are all sorts of corruptions to do with what has happened to those people. We have to remember that young people themselves sometimes are sexually abusing because of what is happening to them. The Minister saw that whole spectrum, and this is just one other step that can be taken to block those who intend to abuse children. I reinforce what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Cormack, about the use of the internet and virtual abuse. It will be on the increase if other avenues are closed down because we know this is an addiction—but not necessarily—with an evil outcome that we need to deal with in many ways. I thank the Minister for all his efforts.
In response to the contributions by the noble Baroness, Lady Howarth of Breckland, and my noble friend Lord Cormack, I realise that this is not the whole story. It is not the end of the story, but it is a step along the way. It is a building block that was not previously in place; I hope that it will now be put in place. I reassure both speakers that my colleagues in government are linked up on this. When this amendment was drafted, it was subject to the usual write-around in government, which is the procedure that now applies to more or less all government decision-making. If it reassures noble Lords, I will make sure that this debate is drawn to the attention of my colleagues with particular responsibility in this area. I hope noble Lords will understand that what is particularly helpful about this amendment is that it arose from a police and crime commissioner writing to the shadow Minister here, the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, who raised it with me. It shows that the Government and Opposition facing difficult issues—not controversial issues, but issues that are difficult to handle—can work together to achieve something. I am grateful for the initiative that the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, showed and for the support of the House in moving this amendment.
Amendment 8 agreed.
Clause 119: Offence of forced marriage: England and Wales
9: Clause 119, page 85, line 35, at end insert—
“( ) In relation to a victim who lacks capacity to consent to marriage, the offence under subsection (1) is capable of being committed by any conduct carried out for the purpose of causing the victim to enter into a marriage (whether or not the conduct amounts to violence, threats or any other form coercion).”
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, for tabling her amendment at Report, which focused the House’s attention on forced marriage in cases where the victim lacks the capacity to consent. The noble Baroness, as well as my noble friend Lady Hamwee and the noble Lord, Lord Harris, raised concerns that in order for a criminal offence to take place, the Bill as drafted required an element of coercion on the part of the perpetrator.
Coercion may not always be present in forced marriage cases involving victims who lack the capacity to consent. Therefore, having considered the arguments made on Report, the Government have tabled Amendments 9, 10 and 11 to ensure that the new offence is capable of being committed without the need for violence, threats or other form of coercion if the victim lacks the capacity to consent. With the agreement of the Scottish Government, Amendments 12 to 14 make similar provision for Scotland.
We have tabled these amendments because we accept the point made by noble Lords on Report—that a victim who lacks the capacity to consent may be forced into a marriage without the perpetrator’s behaviour amounting to coercion. These individuals may not have been subject to coercion and they may believe or say that the marriage is what they want, but if they lack the capacity to consent, they do not fully understand the implications of that decision.
We know that in certain instances families force their children to marry for benign motivations—such as to provide their child with a carer, for example. However, in other instances there are more sinister motives; for example, financial gain in the form of a dowry payment or, in some cases, immigration-related advantages. Yet whatever the motives, the consequences of that forced marriage can include rape, domestic violence from their partner or extended family members, or being forced into domestic servitude.
These amendments are framed so that Clause 119(1)(b) would still apply. In other words, an offence is committed only if the defendant believes, or ought reasonably to believe, that their conduct may cause the other person to enter into a marriage without their free and full consent. Therefore the defendant would need to be cognisant of the victim’s lack of capacity to consent to marriage.
I trust that noble Lords will agree that the Government have listened and tabled an amendment that extends the protection of the law to some of the most vulnerable victims. By criminalising forced marriage, including in such cases, we are sending a very strong message that this abuse will not be tolerated. However, we also accept that legislating alone is not enough.
The Government are aware that in order for the legislation to be an effective deterrent, we need to roll out a significant implementation programme. This will be multi-pronged and involve updating training for professionals, such as the police and prosecutors, and revising the existing multi-agency guidance on forced marriage to reflect the changes in the law. It will also involve working closely with voluntary sector groups, which we know are key to conveying messages to the communities we want to target.
Last week, I visited the Forced Marriage Unit which, as I saw myself, already works very closely with the voluntary and community sectors on specific cases and convenes a quarterly partnership meeting with stakeholders. I assure noble Lords that the Forced Marriage Unit will continue its engagement with affected communities and develop a programme to convey information about the new offence and support for victims. I beg to move.
My Lords, I commend the noble Lord and the Government on their efforts on forced marriage—particularly the Minister for having taken the trouble to go and see the Forced Marriage Unit, with which I am sure he was impressed. I also thank the Government for listening so carefully to what has been said on this side of the House about this offence, which all of us understand can be of the most heinous nature, particularly when it involves those who lack capacity.
What guidance on implementation, which the Minister spoke about, will prosecutors receive on how to prosecute the offence of forced marriage? The noble Lord will remember that in Committee I raised a number of issues regarding how the prosecutions would take place. I regret that I was not here on Report to continue those questions, but perhaps the Minister could answer some of my questions today—not least because I have now had the advantage of receiving a note on prosecutions which was kindly sent to me. The note simply outlines how any prosecution may be undertaken. It would first go to the police; the police would then refer it to the prosecutor who would apply the two prosecutorial tests, et cetera. I absolutely understand the generality of prosecution, but perhaps the noble Lord will allow us a greater degree of specificity about how this offence will be prosecuted. I know that that is very much awaited among many of the NGOs and others, which are still worried and perplexed. They are concerned not only that the prosecution of these offences will entail the proof of the substantive offence—which would amount to coercion, violence or threats—but that there would be the additional barrier of forced marriage with a lesser offence. I know that the Government take that very seriously.
My Lords, as chairman of a forced marriage commission I thank the Government very much and congratulate them on adding this provision. We have been very concerned, from some of the evidence we have received, about the position of vulnerable people, adults as well as children. This is a good step forward. I also add my congratulations to the Forced Marriage Unit, which has over the years done some extremely good work, some of which I happen to know about. I hope that it will continue to get a great deal of support for the work it is doing.
My Lords, I add my appreciation of the work that the Minister has done with the Scottish Government to provide an amendment which is compatible with Scots law. Having read it carefully, I think that it is a very valuable addition to the armoury in Scots law to deal with this very difficult and obnoxious problem.
My Lords, I, too, add my thanks. This issue exercises noble Lords around the House, as well, of course, as many people outside the House. It is not a party-political matter; there may be a range of views as to the nuances of how to deal with the issue. I say to the Minister that this is a great and very important step, but he will not have heard the last of the issue of forced marriage.
My Lords, I welcome this amendment, to which I was very pleased to add my name. Many months ago, when we started down the route of discussing the Bill, I had a meeting with some of the brilliant organisations that work to prevent forced marriages and to support those who are escaping from them. Almost in passing they mentioned to me that they were concerned about the capacity issue. I looked at the record of the Commons debates and the discussions that took place in Committee there and I noticed that my honourable friend Gloria De Piero had raised the matter there and that she received the sort of response from the Minister there that I received in Committee here. It is a very good example of the way that Ministers in this House conduct themselves. I thank noble Lords, particularly my noble friend Lord Harris, for supporting me in pressing this matter on Report when we persuaded the Minister, as it were, to look at the matter again. I am very grateful that he did so. We have reached a very happy conclusion.
My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who spoke in the debate and echo the words of my noble friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach: this debate and provision have again demonstrated the qualities and nature of your Lordships’ House. When we say that it is not just lip service—we genuinely listen from this Dispatch Box—and as my noble friend Lady Hamwee said, the issue of forced marriage certainly concerns us all. Anyone who has come across this particular coercive practice in any shape or form is disgusted by it and it is important that we unite to address it. I remember going to the Forced Marriage Unit and talking to some of the practitioners there, and exactly this issue of mental capacity arose. There was a live case which concerned immigration and it was tragic to see the consequences of how it was playing out.
I pay tribute to the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Scotland, as I have done throughout all stages of the Bill. I genuinely mean it when I say that she has made an incredible effort in addressing this issue. Her setting up of the Forced Marriage Unit was supported across all parties, and it will continue to be a unit in which we specifically focus our activities. Perhaps I may pick up on a question that she raised about guidelines. The CPS will revise its existing legal guidance on forced marriage and honour-based violence and will develop an e-training element for its prosecutors ahead of the introduction of the new legislation. This amendment will be captured and reflected in the revised legal guidance. As she and many other noble Lords are aware, the CPS also has a number of specialist prosecutors. Their specialist skills and knowledge will ensure the understanding of this new legislation.
As we come to the conclusion of this particular element of the Bill, I reiterate that ultimately we are seeking to mitigate risk. I am sure that the greatest statistic we would call upon is that there have been zero prosecutions, not because people are not aware of the law but because people have been deterred from the practice. I have taken on board the comments both of the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Scotland, and of the groups which still express concern—although I am pleased to say that these groups also work with the Forced Marriage Unit to ensure that the steps we are taking are shared by the communities and put into practice. I assure the noble and learned Baroness that, as she knows, the Government have fully taken into account the points that she has raised as we have developed the Bill, and we will continue to take them into account in our work as we move towards implementing the provisions.
In conclusion, I again thank the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, and the noble Lord, Lord Harris—who is not in his place at the moment—and also the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, for her support and, indeed, for bringing this issue to our attention. Again, it demonstrates the best of how this House works.
Amendment 9 agreed.
Amendments 10 and 11
10: Clause 119, page 85, line 44, at end insert—
“( ) “Lacks capacity” means lacks capacity within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.”
11: Clause 119, page 86, line 5, leave out “coercion” and insert “conduct”
Amendments 10 and 11 agreed.
Clause 120: Offence of forced marriage: Scotland
Amendments 12 to 14
12: Clause 120, page 86, line 30, at end insert—
“( ) In relation to a victim who is incapable of consenting to marriage by reason of mental disorder, the offence under subsection (1) is capable of being committed by any conduct carried out for the purpose of causing the victim to enter into a marriage (whether or not the conduct amounts to violence, threats or any other form coercion).”
13: Clause 120, page 86, line 38, at end insert—
“( ) “Mental disorder” has the meaning given by section 328 of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.”
14: Clause 120, page 86, line 43, leave out “coercion” and insert “conduct”
Amendments 12 to 14 agreed.
15: After Clause 151, insert the following new Clause—
“Littering from vehicles
(1) The Environmental Protection Act 1990 is amended as follows.
(2) After section 88 (fixed penalty notices for leaving litter) there is inserted—
“88A Littering from vehicles: civil penalty regime
(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations under which the keeper of a vehicle may be required to pay a fixed penalty to a litter authority where there is reason to believe that a littering offence in England has been committed in respect of the vehicle.
(2) A littering offence is committed in respect of a vehicle if an offence under section 87(1) occurs as a result of litter being thrown, dropped or otherwise deposited from the vehicle (whether or not by the vehicle’s keeper).
(3) Regulations under this section must make provision—
(a) setting the amount of fixed penalties or specifying how the amount is to be determined;(b) about the period within which fixed penalties must be paid;(c) for payment within that period of a fixed penalty imposed for a littering offence committed in respect of a vehicle to discharge any liability for conviction for the offence (whether on the part of the keeper or anybody else);(d) for a fixed penalty to be payable by the keeper of a vehicle only if a written notice is given to the keeper (“a penalty notice”);(e) about the persons authorised to give penalty notices;(f) about the procedure to be followed in giving penalty notices;(g) about the form and content of penalty notices;(h) conferring rights to make representations about, and to bring appeals against, penalty notices.(4) Provision under subsection (3)(e) may authorise a person to give a penalty notice for a littering offence committed in respect of a vehicle only if—
(a) the person is under a duty under section 89(1) in respect of the land where the offence is committed (and that person is a “litter authority” in relation to a fixed penalty payable under the regulations), or(b) the person is an authorised officer of a litter authority,and regulations under this section may include provision about the meaning of “authorised officer”.(5) Regulations under this section may include provision—
(a) for the enforcement of penalty notices (and such provision may in particular authorise an unpaid fixed penalty to be recovered summarily as a civil debt or as if payable under an order of a court if the court so orders);(b) about the application of sums paid under penalty notices (and such provision may in particular authorise sums paid to a litter authority to be applied for the purposes of such functions of the authority as the regulations may specify); (c) about the application of the regulations to keepers of vehicles in the public service of the Crown.(6) Regulations under this section may, in consequence of any provision contained in the regulations, amend—
(a) this Part, or(b) Part 2 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007.(7) Regulations under this section may—
(a) make provision corresponding or similar to any provision made by or under section 88;(b) make provision subject to exceptions;(c) include saving, transitional, transitory, supplementary or consequential provision.(8) Provision of the kind mentioned in subsection (7)(a) may include provision—
(a) conferring a discretion on a litter authority, subject to such constraints or limitations as the regulations may specify (whether or not of a corresponding or similar kind to those mentioned in section 97A(2));(b) creating an offence of the kind mentioned in section 88(8B) and (8C),but may not include provision conferring power on a person to make orders or regulations.(9) In this section—
“keeper”, in relation to a vehicle, means the person by whom the vehicle is kept at the time when the littering offence in question occurs, which in the case of a registered vehicle is to be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to be the registered keeper;
“litter authority” has the meaning given in subsection (4)(a);
“registered keeper”, in relation to a registered vehicle, means the person in whose name the vehicle is registered;
“registered vehicle” means a vehicle which is for the time being registered under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994;
“vehicle” means a mechanically-propelled vehicle or a vehicle designed or adapted for towing by a mechanically-propelled vehicle.”
(3) In section 161 (regulations, orders and directions), after subsection (2ZA) there is inserted—
“(2ZB) Subsection (2) does not apply to a statutory instrument containing regulations under section 88A if the regulations—
(a) are the first set of regulations to be made under that section, or(b) include provision falling within subsection (3)(a) or (6) of that section.(2ZC) A statutory instrument to which subsection (2) does not apply by virtue of subsection (2ZB) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.””
My Lords, with Amendments 15 and 16 we turn again to the subject of littering from vehicles. This is a matter which this House has discussed several times in recent months, and it is clear from those debates that the House is united in its displeasure at seeing litter along our roadsides, and at the thoughtless and uncaring behaviour of those inconsiderate individuals who left it there. By far the majority of those who have spoken on this issue have supported the proposal by my noble friend Lord Marlesford for councils to have the power to fine the registered keeper of a vehicle from which litter is seen to be thrown. Therefore, on Report I undertook to bring forward a government amendment to provide the Secretary of State with an order-making power to enable councils to do just that.
We know, of course, that it will not always have been the registered keeper—himself or herself—who threw the litter. For that reason, the power enables provision to be made for litter authorities to issue fixed penalties for littering from vehicles but does not impose any criminal liability on registered keepers. Provision could be made for an unpaid fixed penalty to be recovered as a civil debt. However, a registered keeper could not be prosecuted under Section 87 unless he or she were the actual offender, as is the case now.
As I said on Report, these powers are intended to make life easier for local authorities. It will therefore be important to ensure that we get the details of this scheme right, to be confident that they will work as intended and will meet local authorities’ needs in a way that the current regime of criminal sanctions for littering may not. For that reason, rather than rushing into detailed primary legislation in haste, Amendment 15 will place a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that regulations address important matters such as the size of the fine, the form and content of the penalty notice, exceptions to the keeper’s liability—for example, if the vehicle has been stolen—and matters relating to representations and appeals. These are all matters on which we will want to seek local authorities’ and others’ views before bringing forward draft regulations for approval by both Houses.
The power to issue these civil penalties will be conferred on the “litter authority” for the land where the offence is committed. In most cases, this will be the local authority, but on certain major roads the responsibility lies with the Highways Agency. This approach ensures that the Secretary of State will be able to confer these powers on those who need them most.
I should also like to draw your Lordships’ attention to subsection (6) of proposed new Section 88A, which provides the Secretary of State with a power to amend certain parts of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or the London Local Authorities Act 2007 in consequence of any provision made under these regulations. This is to ensure that the interaction between the new regime of civil penalties and the existing regime is clear, and that there is no question of duplication or double jeopardy. My noble friend is to be commended for his persistence on this issue. All of us in this House share his views about the scourge of litter defacing our roads, towns and countryside. This new measure will enable us to give local authorities in England an additional power to tackle this anti-social behaviour. I beg to move.
My Lords, this is a productive moment. I hope that Members on all sides of the House, particularly the opposition Front Bench, who have been enormously supportive throughout, agree with me in that. I thank CPRE and Keep Britain Tidy for their encouragement throughout and express my personal appreciation of the massive and, for me, unexpected media interest and public support which have emerged when this issue has been discussed. I particularly wish to mention the advice I have received from the Public Bill Office on how to use this Bill on anti-social behaviour as a vehicle for my Private Member’s Bill, given that the Private Member’s Bill route is not always the easiest way to the statute book. I thank the Minister for his strong support throughout and for his sympathy and ingenuity in solving any difficulties that arose. I also thank two members of the Cabinet—my right honourable friends the Home Secretary and the Environment Secretary—for their strong political support in agreeing to the course that I have taken.
This amendment must be regarded as a real step to enabling us to improve the cleanliness of our streets and roads as a much needed and benevolent element of the national pride we all feel in the England we love. It does, of course, imply rapid follow-up—as rapid as possible, in the light of what my noble friend has just said—in making the order to bring it into effect. All this should be part of a wider clean-up operation in which we change public behaviour through a mixture of education, exhortation and, when necessary, deterrence.
We should also consider other methods of tackling this issue. I have in mind particularly the practice in a number of states in the USA, led originally by Oregon, whereby packaging is returnable through traders who pay a few cents to people who pick it up. That very simple system is carried out in a number of other places.
This measure is merely a step and a part of what should be a major change in public behaviour so that we can once again see this country be as clean as the cleanest of our European neighbours. I once again thank the Minister very much.
My Lords, I apologise to my noble friend for not recognising that he was in his place; he was shielded from my line of sight by my noble friend sitting next to him.
We have learnt from experience that to legislate in haste, even on a matter as serious as this, is a bad thing. I am therefore delighted that the Government in their wisdom have decided to use the route of secondary legislation to put the force behind my noble friend’s remarks into law. My noble friend on the Front Bench referred to “littering authorities”, which is a rather good expression.
The Highways Agency has vehicles, and it may well be that someone in one of those vehicles can observe litter being thrown from a car window—it might be an apple core, a plastic cup or anything. However, local authorities are not normally in that position and I therefore counsel my noble friend and the department concerned, when drawing up these regulations, to think about the route to prosecution by individual walkers or other car drivers who could complain to either the Highways Agency or local authorities. Clearly, there is still work to be done but I, like my noble friend, hope it will have a very satisfactory outcome.
Amendment 15 agreed.
Clause 181: Extent
Amendments 16 and 17
16: Clause 181, page 141, line 4, leave out “section 151” and insert “sections 151 and (Littering from vehicles)”
17: Clause 181, page 141, line 15, at end insert—
“( ) section (Use of premises for child sex offences) and Schedule (Amendments of Part 2A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003);”
Amendments 16 and 17 agreed.
18: After Schedule 5, insert the following new Schedule—
ScheduleAmendments of Part 2A of the Sexual Offences Act 20031 Part 2A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (closure orders) is amended as follows.
2 (1) Section 136A (meaning of specified prostitution offence etc) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (2)—
(a) in paragraph (a) the words “section 47 of this Act or” are omitted;(b) in paragraph (b) the words “section 48 of this Act, or” are omitted;(c) in paragraph (c) the words “section 49 of this Act, or” are omitted;(d) in paragraph (d) the words “section 50 of this Act, or” are omitted.(3) In subsection (3)—
(a) in paragraph (a) the words “section 48 of this Act, or” are omitted;(b) in paragraph (b) the words “section 49 of this Act, or” are omitted;(c) in paragraph (c) the words “section 50 of this Act, or” are omitted.(4) After that subsection there is inserted—
“(3A) The specified child sex offences are—
(a) an offence under any of the following sections of this Act—sections 5 to 13;sections 16 to 19;sections 25 and 26;sections 47 to 50;(b) an offence under section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 (indecent photographs of children);(c) an offence under any of the following sections of this Act committed against a person under 18—sections 1 to 4;sections 30 to 41;section 59A;section 61;sections 66 and 67.”(5) In subsection (4)(a)—
(a) the words “section 47 of this Act or” are omitted;(b) the words “subsection (1)(a) of that section or, as the case may be,” are omitted.(6) After subsection (5) there is inserted—
“(5A) Premises are being used for activities related to a specified child sex offence at any time when the premises are used—
(a) to commit the offence, or(b) for activities intended to arrange or facilitate the commission of the offence.” 3 In section 136B (power to authorise issue of closure notice), in the heading, for “notice” there is substituted “notice: prostitution or pornography offences”.
4 After that section there is inserted—
“136BA Power to authorise issue of closure notice: child sex offences in England and Wales
(1) A member of a police force not below the rank of superintendent (“the authorising officer”) may authorise the issue of a closure notice in respect of any premises in England and Wales if three conditions are met.
(2) The first condition is that the officer has reasonable grounds for believing that—
(a) during the relevant period, the premises were used for activities related to one or more specified child sex offences, or(b) the premises are likely to be used (unless a closure order is made) for activities related to one or more specified child sex offences.(3) In subsection (2)(a), “the relevant period” means the period of 3 months ending with the day on which the officer is considering whether to authorise the issue of the notice.
(4) The second condition is that the officer has reasonable grounds for believing that the making of a closure order under section 136D is necessary to prevent the premises being used for activities related to one or more specified child sex offences.
(5) For the purposes of the second condition, it does not matter whether the officer believes that the offence or offences in question have been committed or that they will be committed (or will be committed unless a closure order is made).
(6) The third condition is that the officer is satisfied that reasonable efforts have been made—
(a) to consult the local authority for the area in which the premises are situated, and(b) to establish the identity of any person who resides on the premises or who has control of or responsibility for or an interest in the premises.(7) If the local authority has not been consulted when the notice is issued, it must be consulted as soon as possible afterwards.
(8) An authorisation under subsection (1) may be given orally or in writing, but if it is given orally the authorising officer must confirm it in writing as soon as it is practicable.
(9) The issue of a closure notice may be authorised whether or not a person has been convicted of any specified child sex offence that the authorising officer believes has been committed.
(10) The Secretary of State may by regulations specify premises or descriptions of premises to which this section does not apply.”
5 (1) Section 136C (contents and service of closure notice) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1)(c), after “section 136B” there is inserted “or 136BA”.
(3) In subsection (3)(d), after “section 136B(7)(b)” there is inserted “or 136BA(6)(b)”.
6 (1) Section 136D (power to make a closure order) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (5), for “either subsection (6) or subsection (7) (or both)” there is substituted “at least one of subsections (6), (7) and (7A)”.
(3) After subsection (7) there is inserted—
“(7A) This subsection applies if—
(a) during the relevant period, the premises were used for activities related to one or more specified child sex offences, or(b) the premises are likely to be used (unless a closure order is made) for activities related to one or more specified child sex offences.”(4) In subsection (8), for “subsections (6) and (7)” there is substituted “subsections (6), (7) and (7A)(a)”.
(5) In subsection (9), for “prostitution or pornography offences” there is substituted “prostitution, pornography or child sex offences”.
(6) In subsection (10)(a), after “section 136B(7)(b)” there is inserted “or 136BA(6)(b)”.
(7) In subsection (12), for “prostitution or pornography offences” there is substituted “prostitution, pornography or child sex offences”.
7 In section 136H (applications for extension of closure order), in subsection (4), for “prostitution or pornography offences” there is substituted “prostitution, pornography or child sex offences”.
8 In section 136I (orders extending closure orders), in subsection (2), for “prostitution or pornography offences” there is substituted “prostitution, pornography or child sex offences”.
9 In section 136J (discharge of closure order), in subsection (3), for “prostitution or pornography offences” there is substituted “prostitution, pornography or child sex offences”.
10 In section 136O (compensation), in subsection (5)(a), after “section 136B” there is inserted “or 136BA”.
11 (1) Section 136R (interpretation) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (2), after “section 136B” there is inserted “or 136BA”.
(3) After subsection (14) there is inserted—
“(15) In the application of this Part to England and Wales, references to specified pornography offences are to be ignored.
“(16) “Specified child sex offence” means an offence listed in section 136A(3A).
(17) In the application of this Part to Northern Ireland, references to specified child sex offences and to section 136BA are to be ignored.””
Amendment 18 agreed.
Schedule 10: Minor and consequential amendments
19: Schedule 10, page 205, line 23, leave out paragraph 31 and insert—
“31 (1) Section 50 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (power of constable to require person acting in an anti-social manner to give name and address) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1) the words “(within the meaning of section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c. 37) (anti-social behaviour orders)” are omitted.
(3) After that subsection there is inserted—
“(1A) In subsection (1) “anti-social behaviour” has the meaning given by section (Meaning of “anti-social behaviour”) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (ignoring subsection (2) of that section).””
Amendment 19 agreed.
In the Title
Amendments 20 to 22
20:In the Title, line 3, after “1991,” insert “the Police Act 1997,”
21:In the Title, line 4, leave out “and the Extradition Act 2003” and insert “, the Extradition Act 2003 and Part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011”
22:In the Title, line 7, after “Office;” insert “to make provision about invalid travel documents;”
Amendments 20 to 22 agreed.
My Lords, perhaps I may at this juncture say a few words because not only is it customary but I wish to add something and hope that I am doing so at the right moment. It is an opportunity for us to place on record our thanks to noble Lords who have assisted in the passage of the Bill and to those who stand behind us and make it happen to our advantage.
The Bill has had a remarkably long journey and our debates have been liberally sprinkled with amendments. I am mindful of those early days in Committee when my noble friends Lady Hamwee and Lord Greaves tabled a large number of amendments to the first part of the Bill, and I have to say that they were very much for the erudition of the House and the improvement of the Bill. I am grateful to them and my noble friend Lord Paddick, who also participated from those Benches.
I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Basildon, the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, who is not in his place at present, and all Peers who participated from the Labour Benches. I see the noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede, is in his place. His contributions, particularly as a magistrate, were valuable. The noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, was, as always, a vigorous debater. I know that some of the measures were taken from the Opposition Front Bench by the noble Lord, Lord Beecham, and I am grateful to him, as I am to the noble Baroness, Lady Thornton, for the debates that she took. Today, we heard from the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Scotland, and we have heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws.
Turning to the Cross Benches, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Dear, who made perhaps the most striking contributions to the Bill. However, there have been others: earlier, I noticed the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, who is not in her place today; the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, who impresses on any Bill to which he contributes, and the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss.
Perhaps I should now turn to my own Benches and thank my colleagues on the Front Bench here. Noble Lords will remember that I was absent on the first day in Committee. I had a private engagement—I confess that it was a significant birthday—and my noble friends Lord Ahmad and Lord McNally undertook the amendments on that occasion. My noble friend Lord Ahmad has remained by my side throughout and has done a lot of the heavy lifting on the Bill. I shall be eternally grateful for his support and have really enjoyed working with him.
My noble friend Lord McNally has gone on to do something totally different and I am now supported at the Ministry of Justice by the new Minister, my noble friend Lord Faulks. He played an important role in debates the other evening and I welcome him to the Front Bench. Previously he had contributed from behind, where the most significant contributions to debates often come from. I thank him for his involvement from very early on in the Bill, when he had no idea that he would be sitting here representing the Government at this stage.
I thank my noble friends Lady Berridge and Lady Newlove. I also thank those Peers whose amendments changed the face of the Bill. We have heard from my noble friends Lord Marlesford and Lord Deben. They both proposed amendments which are now part of the Bill that we are sending back to the Commons.
As noble Lords will recognise, none of this would happen if it were not for the team in the Box. For most of the time, the team is not in the Box but in the Home Office and other government departments working on the Bill. The relationship between Ministers and civil servants on the Bill was been one of mutual trust and respect. Those civil servants have served the House and this Bill, during its passage through this House, well. Although the Bill has Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing as its title, which one might think is all good, solid Home Office and Ministry of Justice stuff, it has extended across government to a large number of other departments, including Defra on the subject of dogs and the Department for Communities and Local Government on housing matters.
I should like to record the thanks of the Government Front Bench to participants and to the Civil Service team for its support.
I add my thanks to the Minister, the whole ministerial team and the Bill team for the remarkably constructive way in which they have addressed all the many issues that have arisen under this complex Bill. I ask the Minister one question. Will the welcome sense of harmony that has been displayed today extend to the amendment that the House carried last week on the definition of when compensation will be paid for a miscarriage of justice? Is the Minister able to tell the House whether the Government will commend that amendment to the other place?
My Lords, this gives me an unexpected opportunity to come to the Dispatch Box. On behalf of the Ministry of Justice, I would welcome a conversation with the noble Lord, but I can go no further than that.
My Lords, as we get to the end of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill we have, given the amendments today, a sense of achievement. However, if I am honest—and I think the Minister would agree—there is a sense of some relief. I entirely concur with his comments about the support from around the House and his civil servants in the Box. The Bill has had a long and sometimes tortuous journey. There were times when I thought perhaps we needed injunctions for nuisance and annoyance and for these to be employed in your Lordships’ House. There were a number of scheduling changes which, fortunately, did not interrupt the Minister’s birthday party. However, they did cause some anxiety in ensuring that we were properly prepared for each stage of the Bill. We coped with all those and I am grateful to him and to his Front Bench colleagues, the noble Lords, Lord Ahmad and Lord Faulks, for their support.
When the noble Lord, Lord Faulks, was speaking from the Back Benches he was very much in favour of an amendment relating to an eviction power in England for those found guilty of rioting offences. Unfortunately, when he moved to the Front Bench we lost the powerful and persuasive speech he would have made on Report. We look forward to hearing other contributions.
We are grateful for the constructive way in which the Minister approached our amendments, particularly the two tabled today and that tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Dear, which significantly improve the Bill. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Opposition Front Bench, my noble friends Lord Beecham and Lord Rosser, my noble friend Lady Thornton, and our Whip, my noble friend Lord Tunnicliffe, who did an excellent job. I am also grateful for the expertise of our Back-Benchers. I am thinking, in particular, of my noble friend Lord Ponsonby, my noble friend Lady Henig, and my noble friend Lord Harris—although he was described as mischievous by the Minister—whose expertise was useful and wise.
I concur with the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, on the one outstanding issue on miscarriage of justice. All other issues have been resolved today, so I hope we can reach agreement on that, as your Lordships’ House made its view very plain. I hope we can proceed with the next Bill, on immigration, with the same constructive dialogue as the Minister has been willing to undertake on this one.
Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.