The PCSC Bill delivers on many of the manifesto promises on which I was elected; it represents a step change to tackle crime more effectively and so make the British public safer.
It does not outlaw public protest. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of British democracy and nothing in the Bill changes that. But the rights of protestors must be balanced with the rights of others to go about their business and live their everyday lives. The measures in this Bill will allow the police to take a more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests that cause serious disruption to the public.
I voted for Second Reading of the Bill because, amongst other things, it:
- Introduces tougher sentences for child murderers
- Increases the maximum penalty for assaults on emergency workers
- Increases sentences for dangerous and careless drivers
- Ends automatic release from prison at the half-way point for serious sexual and violent offenders
- Reforms pre-charge bail to better protect vulnerable victims and witnesses
- Strengthens management of sex offenders
- Strengthens police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments, which are a cause of great disturbance and distress in Buckinghamshire
- Strengthens community orders to improve rehabilitation and reduce reoffending
- Adds sports coaches and faith leaders to those covered by the Sexual Offences Act
- Improves the youth justice system with a higher threshold for remand in custody, more robust Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes, and added flexibility to custodial sentences.
I am absolutely confident that the vast majority of my constituents support these measures; they represent a firm commitment to law and order which will reduce the number of victims of crime and protect the public.