stevee

Policing & Crime Bill - Progress?

43 posts in this topic

I've lost track of events.

Where is it up to in the House of Commons.

http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/policingandcrime.html

This seems to suggest that the Committee stage was completed February 26, but no date yet scheduled for the 3rd Reading.

Is that right?

I wonder why it has all gone quiet??

From what I recall there were a number of amendments tabled regarding the prostitution clauses, but they were all rejected in the Committee stage.

Is that right?

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It has been mentioned to me that the report phase is scheduled for 27th April

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this is from the Home Affairs Committee,Tuesday 31 March 2009

(Keith Vaz is chairman)

Q122 Chairman: Can I ask you a question in respect of your position as the ACPO lead on vice. Are you still the ACPO lead on vice?

Chief Constable Dr Brain: I am.

Q123 Chairman: That is the new Police Bill, clause 13. I hope I have the clause correctly; this is the clause that relates to human trafficking and the strict liability offence for men who pay for sex. What is the current position of ACPO on this particular clause? There were some concerns expressed.

Chief Constable Dr Brain: The position of myself as ACPO spokesman is that we support the legislation in principle. It will have, we are concerned, some difficulties in successfully prosecuting. The idea that men should be responsible and have a wider knowledge of the harm that they can cause by paying for sex in these circumstances is an absolutely sound principle. Our concern is around gaining sufficiency of evidence to merit a suitable number of prosecutions to act as a deterrent.

Q124 Chairman: Have you been able to express those views to ministers and indeed have you included the DPP in these discussions because clearly the decision to prosecute in the end is one for him to make. The concern in this Committee is that whilst we, like you, accept the sound principle as has been outlined, there are evidential difficulties in dealing with this issue. We have just completed a major report on human trafficking and obviously it is supply and demand in trying to deal with reducing demand for sex by men, overwhelmingly men, with human trafficked women, but there is a problem of the strict liability offence.

Chief Constable Dr Brain: Home Office officials are certainly aware of my views because we have been able to make them plain to Home Office officials and I have not had a parallel discussion with the Director of Public Prosecutions but would be happy to do so should he invite me.

Q125 Chairman: Obviously there are private discussions but if there is anything that affects this Committee's work, we would be most grateful if you could perhaps write to us and tell us your views if they have changed.

Chief Constable Dr Brain: Thank you but I would emphasise that I believe the direction of travel is the correct one. We are talking problems about practicalities, not principles.

Chairman: Chief Constable, thank you so much for coming in and giving evidence in such a forthright way and for clarifying some of the comments that you made in the press. Thank you very much. This concludes the evidence session for today.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/uc403-i/uc40302.htm

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"We are talking problems about practicalities, not principles."

And there we have it. PC Plod is rightly concerned about time wasting about in turn getting sufficient evidence.

Uncle Pokey

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To follow up on mine of earlier, it seems that the Parliamentary Human Rights Committee has expressed doubts about strict liability.... See:

http://news.parliament.uk/2009/04/committee-reports-on-policing-and-crime-bill/

Key points are:

The creation of a new 'strict liability' offence of paying for sex with a 'controlled person', i.e. someone who may have been trafficked or is otherwise an unwilling sex worker. The Committee believes that knowledge that the sex worker is 'controlled' should be built into the offence.

The Committee recommends again that a measure such as a free, anonymous hotline be introduced to make it more likely that someone who suspects a woman has been trafficked will report it, rather than being afraid of prosecution themselves.

The new orders to close premises used for prostitution or pornography do not have enough safeguards built in for other people who may, for example, be made homeless by the closure, and the Committee says the power to make such closure notices should not be extended beyond police officers as is proposed.

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Another article on the Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights report:

http://www.epolitix.com/latestnews/article-detail/newsarticle/human-rights-concern-over-new-sex-offence-plan/

Contains some interesting quotes from the report including:

We conclude that the fact that the offence is one of strict liability will make it difficult for an individual to know how to regulate his conduct given that his knowledge is not an element of the offence," said the report.

We have concerns about the breadth of the new offence and its potential impact beyond the group that the government seeks to target.

In our view, the proposed offence has the potential to put women into more exploitative or unsafe situations, may not address the problem which the offence aims to target (namely exploitative prostitution) and may discourage reporting of such prostitution.

(Emphasis added.)

B

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Having read the whole report http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200809/jtselect/jtrights/68/6802.htm

I see that they also do suggest amendments, see below,

1.33 The European Court of Human Rights has held that strict liability offences are generally compatible with Article 6(2) ECHR, provided that the prosecution retains the burden of proving the commission of the offence. In Salabiaku v France, the applicant was convicted of a strict liability customs offence of importing goods in breach of the Customs Code, which carried a penalty of three months imprisonment. Under the Code, an accused who was proven to have physically imported prohibited drugs was presumed to have known that the drugs were in his possession, and therefore to be guilty of the offence of importation.[48] The European Court of Human Rights held that the presumption of knowledge did not violate Article 6(2) ECHR (the presumption of innocence) as the prosecution bore the burden of proving that the accused had imported prohibited drugs (the actus reus), and it was a defence for the accused to prove that he was unaware of the contents of the consignment. As the Court held:

States may, under certain conditions, penalise a simple or objective fact as such, irrespective of whether it results from criminal intent or from negligence.[49]

Unlike Salabiaku, proving that an individual did not know that the person was controlled for gain is explicitly ruled out as a defence.[50]

1.36 In its response to our Report on Human Trafficking, the Government commented on our conclusion that it would be inconsistent for men who use the services of a prostitute who has been trafficked to face potential prosecution for rape, whilst at the same time being encouraged to report such activities to the authorities or a helpline. It stated that it did not consider it inconsistent to encourage those paying for sexual services to report concerns about women they have encountered who may have been trafficked or working under duress to the police, but suggested that the decision to prosecute such men for rape would only proceed "where the woman did not consent to having sex with the man and he did not reasonably believe that she did".[53] We note the Government's statement, in its response to our Report, that prosecutions for rape would only proceed where an individual did not reasonably believe that a woman had consented to sexual intercourse. We therefore suggest that the proposed offence be amended to ensure that the individual was aware or ought to have been aware that the prostitute was controlled for gain. We suggest an amendment below:

Page 15, [Clause 13] leave out lines 33 to 37 and insert -

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if -

(a) A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (:), and

(:) any of B's activities relating to the provision of those services are intentionally controlled for gain by a third person ©, and

© A is aware, or ought to be aware, that B's activities are controlled for gain."

(1A) Whether A ought to be aware that B's activities are controlled for gain is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B is controlled for gain.

(2) It is irrelevant where in the world the sexual services are to be provided and whether those services are provided.

Page 16, [Clause 14] leave out lines 14-18 and insert -

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if -

(a) A makes or promises payment for the sexual services of a prostitute (:P, and

(B) any of B's activities relating to the provision of those services are intentionally controlled for gain by a third person ©, and

© A is aware, or ought to be aware, that B's activities are controlled for gain."

(1A) Whether A ought to be aware that B's activities are controlled for gain is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B is controlled for gain.

(2) It is irrelevant where in the world the sexual services are to be provided and whether those services are provided.

If our amendments are accepted, the penalty associated with this offence would need to be increased to reflect the severity of the offence.

1.37 The lack of certainty in the proposed new offence is also contributed to by the wide and uncertain definition of "controlled". The term stems from sections 53 and 54 of the 2003 Sexual Offences Act:

53 Controlling prostitution for gain

(1) A person commits an offence if

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These bits of the bill may pass but it is becoming unworkable. To be honest if I don't understand it. What chance has the average copper?

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What's the likelyhood of those ammendments being incorporated ?

Or is it just wishful thinking on behalf of the committee ??

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What's the likelyhood of those ammendments being incorporated ?

Or is it just wishful thinking on behalf of the committee ??

I am not sure how amendments work.

Do they get put to the vote at the 3rd reading?

If so it could take up a lot of time.

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I am not sure how amendments work.

Do they get put to the vote at the 3rd reading?

If so it could take up a lot of time.

Amendments can be introduced either at 3rd reading or in the Lords. If rejected once they cannot be re-introduced, meaning that there will be some 'tactics' as to where they are introduced.

My MP is on the Human Rights Committee and I shall, this weekend, write to him enquiring whether, in the 'light of his report', he intends to vote against the strict liability and closure issue clauses if they remain unamended. Might I suggest others also write to their MPs expressing concerns on the human rights front?

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Where do you get your information from?? planned to be law by end of June??? The 3rd reading in the Commons is scheduled for the 19th May, it's physically impossible for the Lords to get through the first reading, the second reading, the committee and then the 3rd reading and for the bill to be given royal approval and passed into law in 6 weeks. Although having seen your lack of reading skills in other threads (i.e when you became convinced that there was a clause making it illegal to have sex with your girlfriend abroad if she was under 18) I'm not surprised you're coming up with garbage like this.

even if everything goes smoothly

will the law come into effect this year?

both houses are in recess

21 May 2009 - 1 June 2009

and

21 July 2009 - 12 October 2009

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even if everything goes smoothly

will the law come into effect this year?

both houses are in recess

21 May 2009 - 1 June 2009

and

21 July 2009 - 12 October 2009

Hmmm, there appears to be a lot of trouble in the house.. Lets hope this may delay things or scrap them all together.

http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/article.aspx?cp-documentid=16715519

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I posted here that the Government are looking to fast track this into law for early summer, but it was deleted, my local Conservative MP lives just a few doors away from me and I speak to him quite frequently as a neighbour, he even borrows my tools sometimes, he knows I am not a tory, but doesn't know that I have punted in the past, although at the age of 60 I haven't been whoring for many years and just take an interest in the scene. The legislation is being lined up for law before the end of the current parliamentary session. As for my take on some paragraphs in the bill, IT WAS A JOKE..........aimed at drumming some interest in this very important, if not the most important legislation regarding prostitution to be put through in the entire history of the "oldest profession". When and I now say when this is law, the paid for sex scene will never be the same again, fear will stalk its corridors and that will kill off many outlets, leaving the market for criminals to control, taking it underground on a kind protection racket that will cost punters far more than the bargain sex is now, with an element of menace mixed in. A bad law.

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I posted here that the Government are looking to fast track this into law for early summer, but it was deleted, my local Conservative MP lives just a few doors away from me and I speak to him quite frequently as a neighbour, he even borrows my tools sometimes, he knows I am not a tory, but doesn't know that I have punted in the past, although at the age of 60 I haven't been whoring for many years and just take an interest in the scene. The legislation is being lined up for law before the end of the current parliamentary session. As for my take on some paragraphs in the bill, IT WAS A JOKE..........aimed at drumming some interest in this very important, if not the most important legislation regarding prostitution to be put through in the entire history of the "oldest profession". When and I now say when this is law, the paid for sex scene will never be the same again, fear will stalk its corridors and that will kill off many outlets, leaving the market for criminals to control, taking it underground on a kind protection racket that will cost punters far more than the bargain sex is now, with an element of menace mixed in. A bad law.

A joke, yes of course it was. Anyway, as I pointed out there just isn't enough time. From Starman's post you can see that parliament goes into recesss almost immediately after the 3rd reading in the Commons. That leaves 6 or 7 weeks for the first reading, second reading, committee stage, the report stage, and then the 3rd reading. Then there's ping pong where the bill bounces between the two houses while they argue over the finer points; remember that this is the policing and crime bill NOT the prostitution bill. There's a hell of a lot in there and it's almost guaranteed that there will be disagreements on individual clauses and even individual words, even if the prostitution aspect is all agreed on. In any case do you really think that Jacqui Smith is calling in favours over THIS. In the current climate, with all the expenses claims hoo hah, and the credit crunch etc. Jacqui Smith has a lot more on her mind than fast tracking this bill. Any favours she's owed are being used up elsewhere. It's taken 5 months to get through the commons - the area JS has the most influence over. Do you really think she can get it fast tracked through the Lords in 6 weeks???? be realistic.

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In any case do you really think that Jacqui Smith is calling in favours over THIS

She doesn't need to, does she? It's being pushed from Europe. (Don't forget that European legislation is delegated to individual parliaments, as long as they obediently do what Brussels wants.)

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She doesn't need to, does she? It's being pushed from Europe. (Don't forget that European legislation is delegated to individual parliaments, as long as they obediently do what Brussels wants.)

How so? EU countries have very different laws on prostitution--- from Germany (just about everything is legal) to Sweden (legal to be a wg, but not a punter)---- and little obvious trend to standardisation.

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She doesn't need to, does she? It's being pushed from Europe. (Don't forget that European legislation is delegated to individual parliaments, as long as they obediently do what Brussels wants.)

have you been smoking your old socks?

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little obvious trend to standardisation

The action 'against trafficking' is EU-wide. Several other countries are following the Swedish model, notably Norway (which follows EU law fairly closely). The Netherlands is introducing new restrictions.

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A joke, yes of course it was. Anyway, as I pointed out there just isn't enough time. From Starman's post you can see that parliament goes into recesss almost immediately after the 3rd reading in the Commons. That leaves 6 or 7 weeks for the first reading, second reading, committee stage, the report stage, and then the 3rd reading. Then there's ping pong where the bill bounces between the two houses while they argue over the finer points; remember that this is the policing and crime bill NOT the prostitution bill. There's a hell of a lot in there and it's almost guaranteed that there will be disagreements on individual clauses and even individual words, even if the prostitution aspect is all agreed on. In any case do you really think that Jacqui Smith is calling in favours over THIS. In the current climate, with all the expenses claims hoo hah, and the credit crunch etc. Jacqui Smith has a lot more on her mind than fast tracking this bill. Any favours she's owed are being used up elsewhere. It's taken 5 months to get through the commons - the area JS has the most influence over. Do you really think she can get it fast tracked through the Lords in 6 weeks???? be realistic.

Jacqui Smith will get these amendments through the Lords even if it means sleeping with all of them.Of course if they are inclined the other way she will send in Vernon Coaker.:D

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The action 'against trafficking' is EU-wide. Several other countries are following the Swedish model, notably Norway (which follows EU law fairly closely). The Netherlands is introducing new restrictions.

sweden is even more anti EU than the UK, Norway is so anti EU that they are not even in the EU.

The international antiprostitution lobby is funded by the US (God's own country), the UK always does what the US say - remember the lapdog relation.

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sweden is even more anti EU than the UK, Norway is so anti EU that they are not even in the EU

I'm not talking about the opinions of these countries' populations, but about the behaviour of their governments. Do try to keep up.

I know the USA is a prime mover in the bid to tighten prostitution laws worldwide, but it is also one of the main supporters of the current undemocratic EU set-up (Lisbon Treaty, anyone?). Essentially, Washington likes to get everything sewn up in Europe by talking to Brussels, and f**k the rest of us.

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