Mike Wood: To ask the Attorney General, what steps the Government is taking to increase the number of prosecutions for modern slavery.
Robert Buckland (The Solicitor-General)
We have the strongest legal framework in place including the Modern Slavery Act, which came into force in July 2015. The Law Officers are supporting the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on Modern Slavery, and the CPS continues to see a year on year increase in the numbers of prosecutions.
It is a pleasure to follow so many distinguished speakers this afternoon. In particular, I would like to add my agreement to the arguments put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti) and my hon. and gallant Friend
Mike Wood: This question is directed in particular to Mr Thompson. Could you tell us more about the challenges faced by the Serious Fraud Office in investigating a suspected criminal financial activity, and how the specific measures in the Bill will help you to do that more effectively? In particular, I would like to know more about how unexplained wealth orders might be expected to help in pursuing foreign officials suspected of grand corruption.
Mike Wood: This issue has always been of personal importance to me. For nearly 30 years, my father was a West Midlands police officer, serving in the mounted branch and the firearms unit. In the 1980s, I remember kissing him goodbye as he went off to police football matches and riots, city centre riots and, yes, Orgreave. Having seen all that makes watching footage of assaults on police officers that bit more real. It is even more devastating when the person going home injured is one’s own father.
Mike Wood: Does the Minister recognise that the basic test of fairness for the families is that they all need access to representation and that that representation needs to be at the same level as that of other parties in the inquest?
Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice
Mike Wood: My constituency, like my hon. Friend’s, has been occupied by a number of unauthorised Traveller camps over the summer, which have caused a large amount of criminal damage and left a great deal of litter. Local residents have had to witness defecation and urination in play areas and playgrounds, and near schools. Does my hon. Friend agree that the police need better and clearer guidance on when it is appropriate to use their section 61 powers?
Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire
Dishonest individuals have always sought to deceive and to take advantage of the most vulnerable in society. Sadly, as our world has increasingly moved online, transforming the way we communicate, do business and live so much of our lives, many fraudsters have used the same technologies to increase their activity and come up with ever more elaborate ways of defrauding vulnerable people. Action Fraud estimates that about 70% of fraud is either conducted online or is cyber-enabled.
Mike Wood: My father was a West Midlands policeman in the 1980s and spent some days policing at Orgreave. Clearly, where there is solid evidence of police malpractice, it must be dealt with effectively and with the full force of the law. Does the Home Secretary recognise the concerns of many serving and retired police officers about what they perceive to be a political campaign with a predetermined outcome?
Amber Rudd The Secretary of State for the Home Department