The stuff of real politics

October 25, 2005 ,

ONE of the unnoticed activities of MPs is serving on Standing Committees which examine the details of proposed new laws, like the Violent Crime Reduction Bill.

Recent incidents in Cardiff have highlighted the need to further tackle violent crime.

For the last couple of weeks much of my time has been spent going through this Bill, line by line in the Committee Rooms upstairs in the House of Commons.

As we started our work an incident occurred in Ely involving a man shooting an airgun from a window on Grand Avenue.

Misuse of airguns is a growing problem, and this Bill will raise the age for airgun purchase, limit places of sale, and place tighter controls on reckless firing, particularly from private property.

This won’t stop all incidents of airgun misuse, but sends a clear signal that it is being taken seriously.

The shocking murder of Valerie Thomas, in the city centre also highlights the increasing danger of knife crime.
Again the Bill could not have prevented this terrible event, but it will tighten control on the carrying of knives, and raise the age for the sale of knives.

In addition the Bill introduces new controls on guns, particularly establishing a mandatory prison sentence for those who use other people, often children, to mind guns for them to avoid prosecution.

Surprisingly Conservative and Liberal Democrat members spoke against mandatory sentences, despite evidence that it has already helped to reduce gun crime in the last year.

In addition the Bill allows the creation of Alcohol Disorder Zones to cover the cost of more policing in areas where there is binge drinking.

In a world obsessed by celebrity and personalities, all these issues of very real concern in people’s lives are hardly reported, but are the stuff of real politics.