Sheffield MPs against Tories’ Crime Bill, say it ‘ignores’ violence and abuse against women

Sheffield lawmakers have expressed their disapproval over a Tories' Crime Bill, saying that it ignores the violence and abuse women and girls face.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 5:52 pm

In the safety measures announced by No 10 on Tuesday, an additional £25 million will be allocated for better lighting and CCTV as well as a pilot scheme which would see plain-clothes officers in pubs and clubs.

However, campaigners are against the idea, saying that money is not enough as institutional changes should take place instead.

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Louise Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley

Labour also said meaningful changes to law are needed rather than plans involving "police officers in skinny jeans."

Sheffield Heeley MP Louis Haigh said this in response to the new safety measures to improve safety for women and girls in England Wales after Sarah Everard's death.

In a tweet, she said: "The Tories' Crime Bill includes harsher penalties for people who attack statues than commit rape.

"Labour won't support a Bill that ignores the violence and abuse and girls face."

She also accompanied her tweet with an image that said: "300 pages of the Tories' Crime Bill, not a single mention of the word 'woman'."

Fellow Labour MP for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield agreed. He said: “Ministers have been caught out. They’re trying to give the impression of doing something, but are falling short of what’s needed.

"Better lighting is welcome, but it’s not a solution. A few more police in nightclubs misses the point. All week women have been sharing their experience of sexual harassment, day and night wherever they are.

"The Government needs to lead a fundamental change in male behaviour, with zero tolerance of harassment at work, at home and in all public spaces.”

This announcement comes after hundreds of people protested in central London on Monday following the killing of Ms Everard.

The 33-year-old marketing executive went missing while walking home from a friend's house on March 3. Her body was later found in woodland in Kent.

Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with kidnap and murder.

In the "immediate steps" to give "further reassurance" to women and girls following a meeting of the government's Crime and Justice Taskforce on Monday evening, the Government said it would double the size of the Safer Streets fund - which provides local measures such as better lighting and CCTV - to £45 million.

Dubbed 'Project Vigilant', it will see undercover police in clubs, pubs and popular night spots to relay intelligence about predatory or suspicious offenders to uniformed officers.

The Crime Bill, to be debated in the House of Commons, will allow judges to hand down sentences of up to 10 years for damaging statues based on their "emotional, symbolic value."

This has earned the wrath of the Labour, saying that the move would mean locking up "those who damage statues for longer than those who attack women."

It is reported that the bill is 296 pages long, with 176 clauses and 20 schedules. Critics say the explanatory notes to accompany it mention statues, and not ‘woman’.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.