Bishop of Bristol speaks in House of Lords debate on police crime bill

First published 19th November 2021

On Wednesday 27 October in the House of Lords, the Right Revd Vivienne Faull, Bishop of Bristol, spoke in a debate about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

She supported an amendment to the police crime bill which would prevent immigration officers from extracting information from electronic devices. Read the full debate here.

Bishop Viv raised concerns about Schedule 3 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which currently allows immigration officers to extract information from asylum seekers’ electronic devices. She also raised the issue of how consent could be given legitimately, due to the power imbalance and language barriers between asylum seeker and officer.

In the debate Bishop Viv supported Amendment 107 to Schedule 3 of the bill, which would exclude immigration officers from the list of authorised persons who can extract information from electronic devices belonging to asylum seekers.

The Bishop of Bristol said: “As the lead bishop on modern slavery and one of the Lords spiritual who works on migration issues, I am all too aware of the insidious evil presented by human trafficking and people smuggling. I therefore sympathise hugely with the Home Office, as it tries to counter organised crime in these areas."

She added: “I hope the government will engage in a full process of exploring how any relevant data can be obtained in a way that is consensual, limited, targeted and carried out by professionals with sensitivity training and expertise.”

She also spoke in a debate about ethnicity pay gap reporting, and asked questions on climate change risk and rural poverty.

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