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Written Question
Police: Codes of Practice
Wednesday 18th May 2022

Asked by: Luke Evans (Conservative - Bosworth)

Question to the Attorney General:

To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to help support police officers in (a) Leicestershire and (b) nationally with the delivery of the additional obligations for disclosure at the pre-charge stage under the 6th edition of the Director’s Guidance on Charging.

Answered by Alex Chalk - Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)

The current version of the Director’s Guidance on Charging (DG6) is the sixth version and reflects significant changes in the way that cases are investigated, charged, and prosecuted since the last edition was published in 2013. Those changes include those revisions made by Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure 2020, and the revised Codes of Practice 2020 issued under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996​ (CPIA).

The first annual review of the operation of the disclosure guidelines has just been completed and will be published imminently. That review involved close collaboration with policing, the CPS and others in the criminal justice system and has led to some important amendments to the guidelines which should aid front line policing, particularly in relation to the development of an annex on redaction. The new approach of the Guidelines gives clear guidance on only providing relevant information to the CPS, for example by cutting footage from BWV or only including relevant message chains not an entire phone image. In this way there is less to redact, thereby helping the burden felt by front line policing. Further, the new, dedicated, annex on redaction sets out in detail and with examples how to apply the relevance, necessity and proportionality requirements. It also gives investigators direction on how to consider where redaction would be disproportionate due to time, resourcing and by taking counter measures such as enhanced security on document they provide to the CPS.

The section on accessing Third Party Material (TPM) has also been amended to include requirements that clear, pre-existing and recorded reasons must be present for any TPM request. Not only must requests be necessary and proportionate, but the Guidelines breakdown the relevant considerations for weighing necessity and proportionality to direct investigators and prosecutors to consider each issue in detail. For example: officers are directed to ringfence information to preserve it but not access it until necessary, and to examine alternative methods for accessing the same information without intruding into complainant or witness privacy wherever possible. There is also now a clear requirement to give ongoing, comprehensible and detailed information to those people whose information is accessed during investigations, which will help alleviate victims’ concerns about disproportionate and excessive requests.

The requirements in DG6 will be updated to reflect the upcoming changes made to the Attorney General’s guidelines and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the College of Policing and the CPS are working together through a National Disclosure Improvement Plan (NDIP) Working Group to implement the Attorney General’s Guidelines on Disclosure. That group includes a representative from Leicestershire police. The NDIP group is accountable to the Joint Operational Improvement Board (JOIB), a national Board chaired by senior leaders from the CPS, National Police Chiefs' Council and College of Policing, created to drive up standards in the criminal justice system and improve joint working in areas including disclosure. The Board’s work is mirrored locally by Joint Operational Improvement Meetings at police force and local CPS Area level.


Written Question
Taliban: Human Rights
Thursday 28th April 2022

Asked by: Mark Hendrick (Labour (Co-op) - Preston)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has made recent representations to the Taliban to uphold international human rights standards.

Answered by James Cleverly - Minister of State (Minister for Europe)

FCDO officials continue to regularly raise human rights in their meetings with the Taliban including during visits by senior officials to Kabul in October 2021 and February 2022, and in other meetings with Taliban leaders. We are pressing them on key issues, including to ensure that women play a full, equal role in national life, girls of all ages can go to school, there is freedom of expression and rights of members of ethnic and religious minorities are respected.

The Foreign Secretary and other Ministers raise the importance of upholding human rights in Afghanistan in international fora. The UK Government made clear our condemnation of the Taliban's 23 March decision not to re-open girls secondary schools, including through statements from the G7+, women foreign ministers and the UN Security Council. The Foreign Secretary raised the importance of upholding human rights, including the rights of women and girls and ethnic and religious minorities, in her speech at the Afghanistan pledging conference that the UK co-hosted on 31 March.


Written Question
Business: Innovation
Wednesday 27th April 2022

Asked by: Chris Elmore (Labour - Ogmore)

Question to the Cabinet Office:

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department intends to open the National Cyber Innovation Centre.

Answered by Michael Ellis - Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Attends Cabinet)

The National Cyber Innovation Centre is a commitment in the 2022 National Cyber Strategy which said: “We will transform the Cheltenham Innovation Centre, which includes the cyber accelerator ‘NCSC for Startups’, into a true international centre of innovation: the National Cyber Innovation Centre”. It is part of the "Golden Valley" development which is led by Cheltenham Borough Council, with support from the government and GCHQ/National Cyber Security Centre.

Funding for Golden Valley has been secured from the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (£22 million) and Cheltenham Borough Council. They announced their preferred development partners, Henry Boot PLC and Factory, last summer. Based on the developers’ plans, the Centre is set to open in 2025/26, subject to planning permission.


Written Question
Myanmar: Political Prisoners
Wednesday 27th April 2022

Asked by: Rushanara Ali (Labour - Bethnal Green and Bow)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the reported increase in the number of political prisoners in Myanmar since the military coup on February 1, 2021, what steps her Department is taking to increase the pressure on the Myanmar military junta to release all political prisoners.

Answered by Amanda Milling - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK has repeatedly condemned the arbitrary detention and politically motivated sentencing of those who oppose the coup. We are deeply concerned by reports that former National League for Democracy leader, Linn Htut, was arrested on 28 January 2022 on trumped up corruption charges and has received a prison sentence. Some 12,000 people have been detained since the coup, with credible reports of torture and sexual violence. Immediately following the coup, the former Minister for Asia made a statement to the house, which called on the military to release those arbitrarily detained. On 17 February 2021, our former Ambassador raised our strong objections to the arrest and detention of protestors and political figures with the military, in his role as Chair of the Joint Peace Fund. On 8 December 2021, following the sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint, we secured a UN Security Council Resolution which called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained. In February 2022, to mark a year since the coup, the UK coordinated a joint statement, agreed by 36 countries, which called for the release of all those in arbitrary detention and a return to the democratic process, and we secured a strong UN Security Council Press Statement which called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Females
Wednesday 27th April 2022

Asked by: Matt Vickers (Conservative - Stockton South)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support women and girls in Afghanistan.

Answered by James Cleverly - Minister of State (Minister for Europe)

The Government is committed upholding the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan; educated, empowered women will contribute to economic development as well as peace and stability. We continue to raise rights of women and girls in our political engagement with the Taliban. We have made clear our condemnation of the Taliban's 23 March decision not to re-open girls secondary schools, including through statements from the G7+, women foreign ministers and the UN Security Council, and we continue to press the Taliban to ensure that women play a full, equal role in national life.

As the Foreign Secretary said on 31 March, at least 50% of those we reach with our aid should be women and girls. The Foreign Secretary has announced £286 million of aid for Afghanistan this financial year and we are funding child protection support and supporting access to gender-based violence services. Ministers and officials regularly meet Afghan women to discuss our support; most recently, on 24 March Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State for South Asia, held a roundtable with a diverse group of Afghan women leaders.


Written Question
Linn Htut
Wednesday 27th April 2022

Asked by: Rushanara Ali (Labour - Bethnal Green and Bow)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she has taken steps to verify the reported 16-year hard labour sentence handed to the former Chief Minister of Shan State, Linn Htut, in Myanmar, and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Amanda Milling - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK has repeatedly condemned the arbitrary detention and politically motivated sentencing of those who oppose the coup. We are deeply concerned by reports that former National League for Democracy leader, Linn Htut, was arrested on 28 January 2022 on trumped up corruption charges and has received a prison sentence. Some 12,000 people have been detained since the coup, with credible reports of torture and sexual violence. Immediately following the coup, the former Minister for Asia made a statement to the house, which called on the military to release those arbitrarily detained. On 17 February 2021, our former Ambassador raised our strong objections to the arrest and detention of protestors and political figures with the military, in his role as Chair of the Joint Peace Fund. On 8 December 2021, following the sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Win Myint, we secured a UN Security Council Resolution which called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained. In February 2022, to mark a year since the coup, the UK coordinated a joint statement, agreed by 36 countries, which called for the release of all those in arbitrary detention and a return to the democratic process, and we secured a strong UN Security Council Press Statement which called for the release of all those arbitrarily detained.


Written Question
Food Supply
Wednesday 20th April 2022

Asked by: Lord Taylor of Warwick (Non-affiliated - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce a National Food Security Council.

Answered by Lord Benyon - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The UK has a highly resilient food supply chain, as demonstrated throughout the Covid-19 response. Our high degree of food security is built on supply from diverse sources, strong domestic production and imports through stable trade routes.

Defra already has well established ways of working with the industry. Ministers and officials meet with the food industry, through forums such as the F4 industry group (comprising the Food and Drink Federation, British Retail Consortium, National Farmers Union and Hospitality UK), the Food Supply Chain Resilience Planning Group, the Retailer Forum and the Food Resilience Industry Forum, in preparedness for, and response to, issues with the potential to cause disruption to food supply chains.

Recognising the importance of this subject, in the Agriculture Act 2020, the Government made a commitment to produce an assessment of our food security at least once every three years. The first UK Food Security Report was published in December 2021. This report will serve as an evidence base for future policy work.


Written Question
Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and Office for Conflict, Stabilisation and Mediation
Monday 4th April 2022

Asked by: Lyn Brown (Labour - West Ham)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has for the (a) work of the Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation and (b) future resourcing of the Conflict Stability and Security Fund.

Answered by Vicky Ford - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

On the work of the Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation, we are witnessing a profound geopolitical shift following Russia's unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine. The FCDO is adapting its internal leadership arrangements and structures to ensure it is equipped to meet immediate and long-term global challenges. Implications for specific Directorates and teams are under review.

On the future resourcing of the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), the Spending Review 2021 provides a three-year settlement of £2.65 billion to the cross-government CSSF. The Fund is managed by the Cabinet Office and yearly allocations are signed off by the National Security Council.


Written Question
Police: Training
Thursday 24th March 2022

Asked by: Barry Sheerman (Labour (Co-op) - Huddersfield)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what training is provided to police officers on tackling antisemitism.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)

This Government is clear that antisemitism has absolutely no place in our society.

The College of Policing provide police officers with training on how to respond to hate crime and incidents during initial learning and investigation training. This training targets the wider policing response to all forms of hate crime. Further training on tackling hate crime is subsequently provided for detectives, senior investigators, and supervisors. Local training is the responsibility of individual chief officers, according to policing needs and priorities.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has a strategic partnership with the Community Security Trust - a charity that protects British Jews from antisemitism and related threats - and has held many joint events to raise awareness of the needs of the Jewish community and to highlight the nature of contemporary antisemitism.


Written Question
Iraq and Syria: Islamic State
Thursday 24th March 2022

Asked by: Andrew Rosindell (Conservative - Romford)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the possibility of genocide committed against the Christian and Yazidi women by Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

Answered by Amanda Milling - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to the prevention and punishment of genocide as appropriate under the Genocide Convention, to which the UK is party. It is the long-standing policy of the British Government that any judgment as to whether genocide has occurred is a matter for a competent national or international court, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. It should be decided after consideration of all the evidence available in the context of a credible judicial process. This policy does not inhibit the UK from taking robust action to address the egregious human rights abuses committed by Daesh.

We condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by Daesh against all civilians, including Yazidis, Christians and other minorities, as well as Muslim populations in Syria and Iraq. We note the conviction in a German court on 30 November 2021 of a former Daesh fighter for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. We are following this case and its review closely. We will continue to use our position at the UN, including as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to raise situations of concern and to support the deployment of all appropriate tools available to the UN in dealing with potential mass atrocities. Our focus is always on securing an end to violence and protecting civilians.