Derbyshire Dales MP backs controversial crime bill despite critics highlighting threat to human rights
Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines has voiced her support for new crime legislation creating greater powers to forcibly disband Traveller encampments – despite critics’ saying the law poses a major threat to human rights and civil liberties.
Speaking in Parliament’s debate on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 on Monday, July 5, Ms Dines welcomed the Government’s position.
She said: “Two aspects of the Bill particularly interest my constituents. First, they want to see tougher sentences for convicted criminals, and this Bill delivers that.
“Secondly, I receive a lot of correspondence from constituents whose lives are disrupted by unauthorised and illegal encampments that cause alarm and distress . This Government are the first of many to have the courage to address these long-standing issues.”
Ms Dines voiced particular praise for legal provisions she said would keep sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer – especially adults working in positions of trust with children and young people.
But she went on to focus on those parts of the Bill which related to Travellers and other nomadic people.
She said: “This bill will give police the powers they need to swiftly and effectively tackle illegal encampments. This has especially been as issue around Bakewell, Ashbourne and Matlock
“This new offence will enable the police to fine or arrest those residing, without permission, on private or public land, in vehicles, in order to stop disruption, distress or harm being caused to the law-abiding majority.”
She added: “I have listened to my constituents and I know these actions are welcomed and will have a positive impact.”
The bill, which will now be considered by the House of Lords, runs to almost 300 pages and contains laws covering a wide range of issues.
In commending it, Ms Dines did not acknowledge criticism which has arisen over what is seen as a draconian approach to Travellers and the rights to freedom of assembly and protest.
More than 600,000 people signed a petition against the law while opposition parties and international human rights experts have warned that it may violate long-standing principles of justice and democracy.