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Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill

Volume 821: debated on Tuesday 26 April 2022

Third Reading


Moved by

My Lords, I would like to say a few, very brief words. The provisions set out in this Bill will play an important role in helping to ensure that approved premises are safe and drug free. The Bill will enable Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service to create a comprehensive framework for drug testing in approved premises and help ensure that the staff can respond quickly and efficiently and implement the important care and treatment needed to support an individual’s rehabilitation.

I would like to extend my great thanks to my honourable friend Rob Butler, who led this Bill through the other place, and my noble friends Lord Wolfson and Lady Scott, as well as all the officials at the Ministry of Justice for their wonderful support and the House staff for their hard work in this, my first Bill. I beg to move.

My Lords, I too would like to welcome this Bill imminently passing. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Sater, for the work she has done on this Bill and I also thank her honourable friend Rob Butler. It may be of interest to noble Lords that both the noble Baroness, Lady Sater, and Rob Butler were youth magistrates with me in London, so I know them both well.

This is an important Bill. Approved premises should be drug free. Drug types are changing all the time, and the Government and the approved premises themselves need the flexibility to make sure that the premises are as drug free as possible. I congratulate the noble Baroness.

My Lords, I start by congratulating my noble friend Lady Sater on her excellent work bringing forward this Bill and navigating it to this stage. I also thank my honourable friend Rob Butler MP, who introduced the Bill in the other place.

The Bill will play an important role in helping us to tackle illegal drug use, cut crime and save lives. In December last year, we published our cross-government drugs strategy, which represents an ambitious 10-year commitment to work across government to address illegal drug use, including increased and enhanced drug testing in prisons and approved premises. The measures set out in this Bill will help us understand and react quickly to the changing patterns of drug misuse that exist in approved premises and ensure that staff in them can respond effectively and implement the necessary treatment and care planning. This Bill will ensure consistency of testing and treatment from prison to the community and will be vital in ensuring that approved premises are safe and drug free. Once again, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Sater, as well as Ministry of Justice officials, for their hard work in getting the Bill to this stage. I am pleased to reiterate the Government’s support and look forward to seeing this important legislation on the statute book.

Bill passed.