Shabana Mahmood MP Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood
Shabana has written to constituents who have been in touch regarding the Policing, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Many constituents have written with their views regarding sex and gender-based violence, contributing to the national conversation sparked by the tragic death of Sarah Everard earlier this month.
Events since her death have prompted further discussion about our approach to policing and public order.
In her letter, Shabana thanks those who have shared their own personal experiences as women in modern Britain and informs constituents that she has voted against the Bill.
You can read the letter in full below.
Letter to constituents
Thank you for writing to me about violence against women and girls and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Many have been in touch with their views regarding sex and gender-based violence, contributing to the national conversation sparked by the tragic death of Sarah Everard earlier this month.
Events since her death, such as the disturbing images of police action at the vigil held in her memory at Clapham Common, and the introduction of a new Bill to parliament that would significantly change policing powers and the criminal justice system, have prompted further discussion about our approach to policing and public order.
I know many of my constituents have taken to social media to share their experiences as women in modern Britain. I share the anger of so many in response to violence against women perpetrated by men, an unspeakable outrage that takes place every day.
I understand that the trial of the man alleged to have killed Sarah will continue in Autumn, and it is important that any comments about the case do not prejudice a fair trial. However, like women across the country, I am horrified at the prospect that a serving police officer, entrusted to protect the public, will stand trial accused of murder and kidnap of a young woman.
I chose to mark Sarah’s death privately, but some chose to pay tribute to her life by attending vigils across the country last Saturday. Disturbing images of heavy-handed policing on the evening of the vigil demand investigation at the highest level. It is clear that the policing response did nothing to build trust between the police and the communities they serve, particularly at a time when women are amplifying important conversations about public safety.
There is now a renewed focus and national demand for action to tackle violence against women. The last thing the government should be doing is rushing through poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill does not meet the challenges posed by violence against women and girls, and it’s not right that this Bill could lead to harsher penalties for damaging a statue than for attacking a woman.
That’s not to say that some aspects of the Bill don’t include good and important reforms, indeed reforms that I would happily support. However, on balance the Government’s proposals are too poorly thought-out and will actually do a disservice to victims of crime. They will also impose draconian measures to restrict free expression and the right to protest and on that basis I voted against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Thank you again for writing to me about such an important issue. My work continues on behalf of the people of Birmingham Ladywood, and has done throughout the pandemic. You can keep up to date with my latest work by visiting my website: www.shabanamahmood.org.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me regarding this or any other issue.
Shabana Mahmood MP