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Darren calls for jail time for dog and cat meat consumption

Darren Jones MP is proudly supporting the World Dog Alliance’s campaign to end dog and cat meat processing, transportation and consumption.

Darren has signed an amendment to ban dog and cat meat consumption. The amendment for Agriculture Bill was put down by Giles Watling MP on 28 January. The Bill is currently sponsored by 15 cross-party MPs

Darren Jones MP said:

“The black market trade in dog and cat meat is abhorrent – the meat could be from a stolen pet, a diseased animal and most of these animals are killed and transported in the most horrific conditions.

Anyone knowingly transporting, storing or eating dog or cat meat must face the consequences of this unregulated and cruel trade”.

You can follow Darren’s work on animal welfare here.

 

 

 

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Policy Pods Episode 3: Rising Crime and Falling Police Numbers

In this episode of the podcast – which aims to answer Bristol North West residents’ policy questions – Darren investigates whether falling police numbers are causing a rise in crime.

Thanks to the constituent who suggested this at a recent Cafe Politics.

You can listen to the podcast on Soundcloud or on iTunes.

If you have a question you’d like answered on the podcast, please send them to darren.jones.mp@parliament.uk with ‘Policy Pods’ in the subject header, including your postcode in the email so we can verify that you’re a constituent.

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Darren speaks in Parliament on Online Fraud

Darren used a debate in Parliament to press the case for further regulation to tackle banking fraud over the telephone and online. With the rise of new technology, online crime is now one of the largest areas of crime in Britain.

You can watch his question here:

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Darren calls for Met investigation into abuse outside Parliament.

Darren said:

“I am proud to be one of 55 cross-party MPs who have called on the Met to investigate the escalating and disgusting incidents of abuse and harassment from far-right activists outside Parliament.

Yesterday’s shocking scenes of abuse towards Anna Soubry, activist Femi and journalist Owen Jones are appalling. This organised and vocal minority can not be allowed to intimidate and bully others. I don’t care if people voted leave or remain, they can not behave like this and must treat other people with respect”.

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Updated with Government reply: Darren calls on Government to fund police pensions

Darren Jones MP has backed calls from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, for the government to review their plans to pass changes to funding of police pensions to police forces, potentially costing Avon and Somerset Constabulary an additional £9m per year.

Darren Jones MP said:

” Our Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens and Avon and Somerset Constabulary‘s Chief Constable Andy Marsh have been very clear that the local force is ‘at a tipping point’ and the government’s failure to properly invest in the police could lead to complex investigations such as sexual exploitation or domestic abuse being under-resourced. Earlier this year, I joined police officers on a typical Friday night in Bristol North West so I have seen first-hand the immense pressure they are under to meet rising, and changing, demands with less staff.

I have been advised today (25 10 18) that potential changes to funding of police pensions (and passing of those costs to the force) could cost Avon and Somerset Police £9m per year from 2020-21. Costs of this magnitude without increased funding will inevitably lead to cuts to the number of police and put public safety at risk.

But this is not ‘just’ a local issue, a report by the Home Affairs Committee released today said forces in England and Wales were “struggling to cope” amid falling staff numbers and rising crime. It also accused the Home Office of a “complete failure of leadership” – this is totally unacceptable and I wonder at what point the government will practice what it preached at Conservative party conference and truly bring an end to the crippling austerity that is bringing every one of our public services to breaking point?

Just over a year ago – in advance of last year’s autumn budget – I called upon the government to protect and boost police funding, I’ve also more recently championed investment into investigating child exploitation and, earlier this month, supported calls for fairer allocation of police funding. I have therefore shared my concerns with the government once again to demand proper funding and support for police“.

Update:

The following reply was received from the Government on the 7th of January 2019:

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Darren backs second reading of Modern Slavery Bill

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has signed a cross-party letter sent to The Times supporting the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill:

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Dear Sir,

We welcome the Government’s plans to improve support for victims of modern slavery. But their limited proposals are inadequate.

This problem would be addressed directly by the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill, scheduled for Second Reading today (23rd November) in the House of Commons.

The Bill would provide a guaranteed period of 12 months support after someone is confirmed as a victim and, for those who need it, the right to remain in the UK during that year so they can receive the help they need.

Long term support is crucial. Support prevents re-trafficking and allows victims time to rebuild their lives. It also gives them stability enabling them to give evidence against their traffickers, greatly increasing the chance of convictions.

We have a golden opportunity to create a truly world class system of victim support. We urge the Government to give its full support to the Bill before it runs out of time.

Yours sincerely,

Lord McColl of Dulwich CBE; Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP; Kevin Hyland OBE; Baroness Redfern; Lord Kennedy of Southwark; Lord Hogan-Howe QPM; Lord Elton TD; Kate Green MP; Barry Sheerman MP; Baroness Newlove; Jon Cruddas MP; Baroness Kennedy of Cradley; Baroness Thornton; Rt. Hon Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE; Carolyn Harris MP; Catherine West MP; Baroness Howe of Idlicote CBE; Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP; Jonathan Edwards MP; Kelvin Hopkins MP; Marie Rimmer MP; Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP; Baroness Stroud; Ben Lake MP; Helen Hayes MP; Ruth George MP; Vernon Coaker MP; Caroline Lucas MP; Heidi Allen MP; Lord Hylton; Kerry McCarthy MP; Helen Goodman MP; Sarah Champion MP; Jess Phillips MP; Baroness Sheehan; Ann Coffey MP; Baroness Hamwee; Gareth Snell MP; Daniel Zeichner MP; Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC; Bishop Alastair Redfern; Anne Marie Morris MP; Jim McMahon MP; Darren Jones MP; Tim Farron MP; Lord Dubs; Kate Osamor MP; Diana Johnson MP; Baroness Cox; Rt Hon David Lammy MP; Fiona Bruce MP; Lord Alton of Liverpool (Trustee, Arise Foundation); Jim Cunningham MP; Alex Norris MP; Siobhain McDonagh MP; Stuart McDonald MP; Lord Skinkwin; Charlie Elphicke MP; Andrew Selous MP; Gillian Keegan MP;

Darren said:

“I have championed the rights of victims of modern slavery and trafficking since my election in June 2017. This has included raising the rights of victims at a debate in Westminster Hall, calling for new anti Modern Slavery measures to be trialled in Bristol and hosting a Business Forum to raise awareness of modern slavery in supply chains. I have made it my mission to highlight modern slavery, support victims and drive this horrific crime out of Bristol – I therefore fully support the second reading of the Modern Slavery Bill”.

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Darren asks Minister about ‘sex for rent’ scandal

Darren Jones MP has received a response to his Written Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Justice following the BBC Inside Out West’s undercover investigation into ‘sex for rent’ in Bristol.

Darren Jones MP said:

” I was disgusted by the findings of BBC Inside Out West‘s excellent undercover investigation and followed up with a Written Question to the Secretary of State for Justice. I asked how many convictions there have been under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, in relation to arrangements where sex has been requested in return for accommodation in the City of Bristol.

I was advised: ‘It is not possible to identify from centrally held data the number of offenders convicted for arrangements where sex had been requested in return for accommodation in Bristol under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as this particular offence cannot be disaggregated from the broader offence of ‘sexual offences’. Additionally, any data held at a court level refers to where the defendant was dealt with rather than where the offence was committed’.

We know this is an emerging and growing problem as rents continue to rise, there is lack of housing, wages stagnate and people have to wait weeks for Universal Credit claims to be processed. It is therefore wholly inadequate that there is no centrally held data about this specific form of abuse and the government don’t know what scale it is being committed“.

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Darren backs need for investment in complex police investigations

Darren Jones MP has backed calls from the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, for the government to review the Police Allocation Formula (PAF) (which assesses the funding each police force receives from government) alongside the total funding set aside by central government for policing. Continued calls for the PAF to reconsidered come after the force has advised it faces an operational delivery gap of £15m by 2020/21 due to the rising levels of complex crime (which take more police time to investigate) including domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and child abuse. The gap equates to 300 police officers.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Avon and Somerset Constabulary are clear that to meet rising demand for complex criminal investigations they will incur an operational gap of £15m from 2020/2021. That’s the equivalent of 300 extra police officers needed to ensure complex crimes such as domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and child abuse are investigated properly.

Investigating these crimes, and other complex cases, are not negotiable. Therefore, the way money is divided between police forces, and the total government funding available to all forces, must be urgently re-considered. We can’t keep propping up our vital public services by adding a few pounds to council tax whilst cuts are made elsewhere – a longer-term and sustainable solution is needed. I’ll be tabling a Parliamentary Question asking government what assessment they have made to ensure the current formula is fair and what date their long-awaited review will be published”.

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Darren speaks about Modern Slavery in Bristol

Modern slavery, whereby people are forced into slavery often after being trafficked, is a serious problem in Bristol North West; Avon and Somerset Police have found slavery at Nail Bars and Car Washes in the constituency.

Darren spoke in a Parliamentary debate on Modern Slavery in Westminster Hall (Parliament’s second chamber) to highlight the problem in Bristol North West and further afield, and what is being done to address it. You can watch this below:

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Darren backs ban on fur imports

Darren Jones MP is proudly supporting the Open Cages and Humane Society International’s campaign to ban the importing of real fur to the UK.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Animal welfare is of real concern to me – especially where cruelty is so totally unnecessary. That’s the case with the use of real fur and it’s one reason why I back a #FurFreeBritain and a ban on the importing of real fur to the UK.

Whilst, thankfully, fur farms are banned in the UK, we know that most of the countries that supply the UK with fur products have low animal welfare standards.

It has also come to light that some of the products being marketed as fake fur actually contain real fur and people are being duped into buying something many would not knowingly purchase – that’s totally unacceptable and companies selling these products must be held to account”.