ALAN CAMPBELL, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR TYNESIDE, UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE TO THE HOME OFFICE, CRIME 2008 - 2010
RE. POLICING AND CRIME ACT, 2009.
Since the recent election and the change of Government in May 2010, the above Act had not yet been fully implemented. At the time of writing this introduction, Guidelines to the Act from the Home Office are still unfinished. However, Mr. Campbell, who did so much to brin the problems of prostitution before Parliament and to try to improve the probelms of prostitution, has kindly witten the following piece for us to show the aims and objectives of the then Government when passing the legislation. We thank him for his contribution to News and Views.
During the Committee stages of the 2009 Policing and Crime Bill I said that I believed our proposals on prostitution would be seen in the years to come as a major step in social reform. I stand by those remarks. I was honoured to steer the measures through Parliament but in all fairness the inspiration and much of the zeal came from the then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. Let's be clear.
This was a complex issue - indeed is a complex issue - with strong views on all sides of the argument. There was a shared view that women in prostitution are already in a vulnerable situation and need protection, or at least should not be placed in further danger. There was, however, less agreement about how to achieve that.
To me two elements deserve particular attention and support. The first is the holding to account of men who pay to have sex with women who may have been trafficked and exploited for gain. The controversy came in making the new law one of strict liability. It makes no difference whether the man is aware of the woman's circumstances - ignorance is no defence - and the new offence sets out not only to protect exploited women but seeks to dampen demand for prostitution. The second lies in the introduction of of rehabilitation orders which offer an alternative to the revolving door of arrest, fine and a return to prostitution. In requiring the woman to sign up to help and support, this example of 'tough love' can, I believe help women to do something about their often chaotic ande desperate lives which leads them in to prostitution in the first instance.
None of this came easily in truth we had to wait until almost the last legislative moments to see whether Parliament would agree. But I also believe as the debate went on we increasingly won the argument. I hope that reflected a growing recognition that this had the potential to be a significant step in social reform and an example of how Parliament and parliamentarians could do the right thing. Throughout the proceedings we depended very much on the advice and support of many including the Josephine Butler Society. I hope and believe that the legislation will help and support the women who seek to leave prostitution and those caught up in it against their will. In that I hope and trust we would have enjoyed the support of Josephine Butler.
Alan Campbell May 2010.
Alan Campbell was given the brief with only a few days to speak at our Annual Lecture in 2008, instead of Vernon Coaker MP. He spoke on prostitution and what the government felt should be done about the law pertainng to it. He coped very well, he had to learn fast. He said that he had been well briefed! He came back in 2009 to update us as to where the then government had reached with the above and what was envisaged with available Parliamentary time. He hoped that the Bill would be passed before Christmas. The clause which removed the label 'common prositute' was passed without needing a separate vote, on the 12th November 2009.
An extract from JBS magazine News and Views, 2010.
ACADEMY CAMPUS NAMED AFTER JOSEPHINE BUTLER IN SEPTEMBER 2009
The JBS was asked to give its approval of the use of Josephine's name for a new educational campus in Northumberland located in the southern part of Askington, The Northumberland Church of England Academy welcomes children and young people from the ages of 3 to 18. Sponsored by the Duke of Northumberland and the Church of England it opened September 2009, and plans new buildings in 2011.The Academy will be an all-through school, with a shared vision, grounded in Christian values and open to children of all faiths and none. Its specialism is Design and the Environment.
The Academy's executive Director Phil Hearne says, "Students themselves voted on the campus names. It's encouraging to see how they recognise the importance of local people whose skills, knowledge and commitment to what they believe in have helped shape the way we live our lives now. I hope students are inspired by the fact that all these people were from the north-east and in turn seek to make their own mark in the world".