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Councils and other public bodies to be put under legal duty to share data and intelligence in cases of serious violence

A new legal duty is to be imposed on local authorities, the police, criminal justice agencies, health and fire and rescue services to share data and intelligence in cases concerning serious violence.

This is part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, now before Parliament.

The Ministry of Justice and the Home Office said the Bill was intended to “equip the police with the powers and tools they need to protect themselves and the public, while overhauling sentencing laws to keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer, and placing greater emphasis on rehabilitation to better help offenders to turn their lives around and prevent further crimes”.

Their statement did not elaborate on what information local authorities would be expected to share.

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Other measures in the Bill include bringing sports coaches and religious leaders into the scope of laws that prevent adults in ‘positions of trust’ from engaging in sexual relationships with people under the age of 18.

There will also be measures to enable police to more easily tackle unauthorised encampments and manage protests “where they threaten public order or stop people from getting on with their daily lives”.

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC said: “We are giving the police and courts the powers they need to keep our streets safe, while providing greater opportunities for offenders to turn their lives around and better contribute to society.”

Following the courts’ adoption of remote hearings during the pandemic the Bill also contains rules “to end the need for participants to travel unnecessarily to court by allowing criminal courts to maximise the use of video and audio technology as it develops”.

Mark Smulian

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