10/06/2012 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg.

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In the West: Should the police tell you if the


man you are dating has a history of domestic violence? The scheme's


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1710 seconds


being tried out in Wiltshire - In Sunday Politics in the West:


Should you know the police history of the man you are thinking about


living with? It is called Claire's law and is going to be tried out in


Wiltshire this summer. Some charities say it is a gimmick. We


will be discussing that shortly. Our guests are two West Country


politicians. To keep us in order is a Conservative MP who is a


barrister and a judge, and to keep as environmentally friendly, and


Green councillor in Bristol. Coppola, none of the political


arguments this Sunday will be recycled! -- hopefully. Your


thoughts on the jubilee celebrations which were


extraordinary. Were you surprised at the scale of the response?


think encouraged is a better word. It was good to see the Union flag


being used for its proper purpose, to celebrate a major national event


and thanked the Queen for 60 years of outstanding public service. And


to remind ourselves about how far we have come as a nation.


Republicans in the audience - and there were not many - would be


rather glum after this weekend. Talking of Republicans, it is not a


great time to be on that side of the argument, is it? A we had a


great Republican barbecue at the same time! I think it was just one


great distraction. These are very harsh times we are facing but the


weakest in about society are being targeted. It is not a time for


celebration but for commiseration. I do not think we should celebrate


where we are going as a country now. Wiltshire is to be one of the first


places to try out a new system for warning women that their partner


way be violent. It is named after a woman he was murdered by her ex-


boyfriend, but there has been criticism from some campaigners who


say the money could be better spent. Ball has been to meet one victim.


A I was an absolute wreck, scared to death. Not speaking, couldn't


function. I was being held down, restricted, having things thrown at


me. Anything that was a row and you could have thrown at you or it was


to the extremes, as well, like... Sorry. Towards the end, it was


horrific. On the last occasion, I thought I was going to die. I


called out for my mum and was just thinking that I was going to die.


It is thought domestic violence leads to the death of two women


every week. Stella looked for help. Her farmer -- former partner was


successfully prosecuted. After the trial, she was told he had earlier


criminal convictions. If she had known that at the start, things


might have been different. I did not associate with any of his


friends because they were not the type of people I would associate


with. It was easy for him to keep everything is secret but if I knew,


I would that have been with him. She has been getting help from a


charity who works alongside Wiltshire police, he will soon have


new powers to warn women who ask for information. They write down


sides - if people have never been committed to -- convicted for


domestic violence. One of the big issues is that people do not talk


about it so only a small minority ends in prosecution. I think this


could have a limited impact. Wiltshire is one of four places


where the scheme will be trial. Officially, they ate say they are


waiting to hear how it should be run but unofficially, there is some


frustration but a Home Office have not given them the guidance they


need. And in some places, it is an extra financial burden at a time


when budgets are being cut. Some experts think that is foolish. The


charity Refuge warned it is untried, untested and costly. The majority


of domestic violence incidents are not reported to the police. We are


concerned the government is spending precious resources on


introducing new legislation when the legislative framework is


already in place. Police already have the powers to disclose.


when and how those powers are used varies from force to force. It is


quite difficult ground. We do have the ability, at the moment, to tell


people about the offending history of a partner if we think that they


are significantly at risk. We can share that information with the


right level of authority, in cases where we think there is a serious


risk of violence. For Stella, the future looks better. She is


rebuilding her life and hopes that by going to the police, other women


may be protected. With me today is his senior law


lecturer from the University of the West of England. Nice to see you.


Is this practical? It as a pilot - we have to remember it as a pilot


to start with. We will find out information from that pilot. When


we talk about whether it is practical, we have to work out


whether there is a cost-benefit, whether or not people are actually


going to be helped by this. We could say that there are some


reservations about the scheme. sort of information could the


police actually hand out? That is yet to be decided. The coroner, in


the case of the lady who died, talked about previous convictions


of that type. It looked like she was talking about domestic violence


related offences. The problem we have is that there is no actual


offence of domestic violence, so we are talking about convictions for


different things. For example, as salt, harassment. There is no


actual offence. -- assault. Somebody has to make a decision


about what it is we are going to disclose. What checks would the


police have to make before they decided to give the person turning


up at the station that information? The pilot will determine that. We


don't yet know. It is quite likely that it will follow the public


disclosure scheme for child sex offenders. There is quite a


rigorous process there. You cannot just simply turn up at a police


station and say, "I would like to know some information because my


child has a relationship with an adult about which I wanted a


information". It is a very rigorous process. Let's bring in the


politicians. It does all sound a bit vague. It is a pilot, as Rachel


says. It is based upon two principles - the right to know and


the right to ask. There is a subtle difference between the two. The


right to know would involve the police being proactive and


releasing information with the sort of safeguards that Rachel suggested.


The other would be the right of the individual to go in and, subject to


those safeguards, obtain information. In the real world, you


go out, you have a couple of mistakes, you get to know each


other and then one of you pops into the police station and asks


questions. That would kill any romance stone dead! I don't think


you can interfere with the natural process of human relationships but


in all the cases we have just seen, there are people out there who


would have benefited from more information and he would have


changed their pattern of behaviour or lifestyle if they had known


Stirton important facts about a partner. -- certain important facts.


Did dismiss it before the pilot comes of age would be wrong. It is


not perfect but two women a week being killed as a result of


domestic violence - we have got to do something. If that would tackle


it completely, I would be behind at 100%. I think we are going in the


wrong direction. What would happen if a woman would go in and find out


that their partner has not committed any crime, a debt they


are actually in danger? -- yet they are all. It will not stop the


offences entirely. I think we should be putting our funds into


centres that tell women who have been abused. After it has happened?


I agree that is after it has happened to, but also to have a lot


more councillors so that someone feels threatened, they do not go to


the police to see whether their partner has a prior conviction, but


to a counsellor. It is whether you feel threatened that you should act


upon. It is never easy. We need to make sure they're all resources for


places to women to go to. You have reservations about who should be


told this information. What is your solution to that? Having the sort


of safeguards in place, such as having a multi-agency assessment so


the police, social services and other concerned agencies make a


decision. So, someone turns up at a police station and you want a


multi-agency risk assessment conference before they get told any


information? You would involve social workers and police of the


streets to sit down and have a chat about whether this person should


know. There should be safeguards in place. A have you got the resources


for that? It happens already, as has been described in the case of


Sarah's law, in relation to be defiled as closure. There needs to


be a safeguard system so that the right information is disclosed to


the right people. I would be against a system that allows people


to turn up to the police station and get information just like that.


I do reassured? We have to wait and see what the terms of the pilot


half. I am confident it will not be a system where anyone can just turn


up and get information. It needs to be fairly simple, otherwise it is


just going to get bogged down. have to be extremely careful about


who we disclose information to. There has to be a risk and there


has to be risk assessment. Why is this information secret anyway?


the film pointed out, there is already power of common law to


disclose the information but there is no consistent approach across


the country, which is why the government is looking at ways of


existing laws to improve the system. Thank you.


The English Defence League is planning a march in Bristol in July.


The EDL claims it is a human rights group that campaigns against


extremist Islam. Its critics say it is a racist organisation that whips


up the against Muslims. The march is happening on the same day as the


Gay pride festival in Bristol, much to the distress of the organisers.


This is one of Bristol's most colourful events, the City's Gay


pride festival, which has been growing for the past few years. But


a political storm is brewing ahead of this year's Festival, as the


far-right group the EDL are planning a demonstration on the


same day. They have held marches in other parts of the country but this


is the first ever in the West. Avon and Somerset Police say it will


cost �500,000 to make sure the event run smoothly. They are also


bringing in 700 officers from other police forces to help maintain


public safety. But a spokesperson for the group says they have a


right to demonstrate. The union demonstrations have cost �68


million already this year but no one talks about that. The only time


anyone ever talks about how much it cost the taxpayers is when


taxpayers like us are actually protesting. It is the first time


taxpayers have protested for 20 years. Usually it is students,


immigrants or people who do not work. There is no price you can put


on democracy and expressing yourself. But Labour politicians


are worried the march will put off visitors to the pride festival.


entire EDL ethos seems to be about inciting, rather than communities


working together. It is about trying to tear communities apart.


This is the exact opposite of what we stand for as the City and what


Pride stands for, as well. It is impossible to tell how many people


will join the EDL Marg but it is thought rival groups like Unite


Begins Criticism -- against fascism could be organising an event.


Joining this is the organiser of the Gay pride festival. How


concerned argued? I am not concerned about the numbers of EDL


in Bristol. I don't think they have much support down here and if we


look at ways in demonstrations in Brighton, we had 100 people turn up,


whereas Pride attracts about 20,000 people. I don't think numbers are a


problem but I am accept that they are trying to hijack the pride


festival -- upset. They are trying to get extra support where there is


no support for them and they are actually making 14th July, which


should be a shining beacon of quality, a bit tarnished. One of


the things the English Defence League claims is that it is


fighting against, Fabia within the Muslim community. They go on to say


that gay people have more to fear from Islam than they do from the


EDL. I personally have not met any gay people that support be EDL or


feel that they are concerned by Islam infringing upon them and


causing homophobia. It is not Islamic institutions that are


breeding homophobia, and homophobia exists across the board. We only


have to look at our own Christian churches which have been purveyors


of homophobia for many years, and we have had to fight against that.


Homophobia finds Abed within religion and people used religion


to hide behind, but the real challenge is stamping out


homophobia across the board. have found that working with Muslim


communities that you have been accepted as you might do? The best


thing about Bristol is that it is communities that work together.


Pride is about social cohesion and we go into communities and invite


them along. The best thing about Right is that it is for everyone -


you do not have to be gay to club. We just stand up for equality.


don't think we should ban any march. We have worked very hard with the


police and I think the council and the local police force need a large


round of applause for how they have handled this. They have moved the


EDL march, which was going to end up on College Green, where the


pride celebration is going to be happening, to an earlier time so


that they will not conflict now. Groups like EDL grow, don't they,


because they perhaps address some of the issues that politicians are


too frightened to talk about? Immigration, forced marriage and so


on. I don't agree at all. I think all of us, whether we are in


mainstream parties or fringe parties, have a responsibility in


terms of the language we use and the way we portray our politics and


should be positive, not about drawing divisions between


communities, as one of the speakers suggested. I find the EDL's


language and approach to be hostile and based upon divisions rather


than watching to bring people together. If there is evidence of a


potential breach of the piece, the Home Secretary has a power to ban


marches and I am glad to hear that in Bristol, attempts have been


made... Is it sensible to have it on the same day as the Gay pride


festival? Attest needs to be applied as to whether a breach of


the piece is present. If it can be arranged so that there is no threat


to the public, all well and good. What is lined up for Gay pride this


year? It is going to be a massive celebration. It is on College Green


and it is free. We have over 40 acts, including five stages of


performance and a massive party in the evening. Amass a family area -


we invite everyone to come along. Thanks for coming along to tell us


about it. Nowt it is time to take a look at


the other political stories making the headlines this week.


The family of a two-year-old savaged by a dog have called for


laws on owning dangerous dogs to be tightened. The boys suffered facial


injuries in the attack in a neighbour's back garden.


The Bristol and tat and Labour supporter Tony Robinson was in town


this week chairing a meeting of candidates hoping to stand for


crystal meth. There are five Labour hopefuls seeking the former party


nomination. They will find out next week who has won.


The wheels of justice at the Crown Court in Bristol are grinding to a


halt because there is not a bit -- enough money to pay the judges.


People accused of crimes are left waiting for their day in court.


Cuts in the Ministry of dentists it -- justice budget are being blamed.


There are claims that some unemployed people from the West


were hired as unemployed stewards for the Diamond Jubilee and ended


up having to sit under London Bridge. -- unpaid stewards.


That Was the Week in 60 seconds! To pick up a one of those stories,


about the work experience people being bussed to London to act as


stewards at the Jubilee and then ended up sleeping rough. Is that


work-experience valuable? It is being called work-experience but


what it really is is free employment and it is generally


exploited by corporations and large festivals. They are taking paid


work away from other people. The workfare system, as it is known,


must end. If it helps get people into employment, is it worth it?


Not a greedy, no. I think are paid internship as the best way. Robert,


is their exportation going on? not think it is the way of the


world but I think it is an important element in encouraging


young people into work. A lot of young people themselves say to me


that they value work experience, as long as it is properly managed. In


this case, we saw that there were two hours where people were not


properly managed and that should not happen. To use this as an


excuse to slam the whole system of work experience is entirely wrong


and misguided. We must keep it as an element of helping people into


work. That is all we have time for today.


Thank you to our guests. Sunday Politics continues in London but if


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