Current Affairs Digest: Home Affairs (May 2024)

In recent years, there has been a fall in levels of trust and confidence in policing. This followed a series of high-profile scandals, some of which involved serious offences committed by serving police officers. This briefing explores the role of media coverage in changing public perceptions of policing and also reports on calls by various parties to improve the current levels of confidence.

Current Affairs Digest: Home Affairs (May 2024)

Support for opera

Concerns have been raised about the state of the opera sector in England, with much of this focused on the financial pressures it is facing. A number of English opera institutions are now receiving reduced Arts Council funding and, taken together with increasing cost pressures and inflation, this has led to cuts in performances and concerns about the sector’s future viability. In addition, concerns have been raised about diversity and equality across opera, including in audiences and the workforce. Arts Council England has said it will be having discussions with sector representatives about how these issues can be best addressed.

Support for opera

UEFA European Football Championship 2028

The UK and the Republic of Ireland are due to jointly host the European Football Championship in 2028 (EURO 28). The UK government hopes it will deliver £2.4bn in socio-economic benefits to cities and communities across the UK. EURO 28 will be held in 10 venues across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. However, there have been recent concerns over the costs of the development of one of those venues: Casement Park in Belfast.

UEFA European Football Championship 2028
  • In Focus

    Cyclists and the law

    Currently, cyclists who ride dangerously or carelessly can be prosecuted for various offences, including those contained in the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended). In 2024, the government said it was introducing a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling. This briefing summarises the existing laws and proposals for creating new offences ahead of a forthcoming debate in the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Contribution of sport to society and the economy

    This briefing considers the benefits of sport and physical activity ahead of a House of Lords debate on the subject on 16 May 2024. The government and sports sector stakeholders agree that sport has many benefits for individuals and communities, as well as for the economy more broadly. The government published a new strategy for the sports sector in August 2023. The ambition of the strategy was commended; however, sports charities and the opposition suggested that more was required from the government to deliver on it.

  • Research Briefing

    Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill: HL Bill 73 of 2023–24

    The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 13 May 2024. The bill seeks to fulfil the commitment made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on 10 January 2023 to quash the convictions of those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal. It would extend and apply to England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. Its provisions would come into force at royal assent. During committee stage the bill was extended to Northern Ireland. There have also been calls for it to be extended to Scotland. The bill has received cross-party support but is controversial as the quashing of convictions by Parliament is unprecedented. In addition, concerns about the scope of the bill have been raised. The bill would not include individuals whose convictions were previously upheld by the Court of Appeal.

  • In Focus

    Illegal migration: Dealing with inadmissible asylum applications

    Home Office data shows that approximately 40,000 people have entered the UK illegally since March 2023. The Illegal Migration Act 2023 deems asylum applications as inadmissible if the claimant has entered the UK illegally, but not all the act’s provisions have yet been commenced. This briefing summarises the migration statistics and how the government has said it will deal with illegal migrants in conjunction with its Rwanda deportation scheme.

  • Research Briefing

    Commercial Organisations and Public Authorities Duty (Human Rights and Environment) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 17 of 2023–24

    The Commercial Organisations and Public Authorities Duty (Human Rights and Environment) Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Baroness Young of Hornsey (Crossbench). It would place due diligence obligations concerning human rights and the environment on businesses and public sector bodies. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill at second reading on 10 May 2024.

  • Research Briefing

    Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill: HL Bill 64 of 2023–24

    The Zoological Society of London (Leases) Bill is a private member’s bill sponsored by Lord Randall of Uxbridge (Conservative). It would provide for the extension of the maximum lease available to the Zoological Society of London for land in Regent’s Park used by London Zoo. The House of Commons has passed the bill and it has cross-party support. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the bill at second reading on 10 May 2024.

  • In Focus

    The impact of gambling marketing

    The gambling industry has expanded over recent years and increased attention is being paid to the issue of gambling-related harms and the role that the marketing of gambling services plays in exacerbating them. The House of Lords is due to debate these issues on 25 April 2024.

  • In Focus

    UN standards on the use of surveillance technology at protests

    The UN recently published a toolkit for law enforcement officials to promote and protect human rights in the context of peaceful protests. It includes key principles for the use of digital technologies in relation to protests. This comes at a time when there are debates around the use of live facial recognition technology in public spaces by police in England and Wales. The government supports developing it as a crime-fighting tool, but others are concerned about its impact on privacy and other rights.

  • In Focus

    Foreign national offenders in UK prisons: Powers to deport

    Under UK legislation, the government has a duty to consider deportation of foreign nationals convicted of an offence in the UK and sentenced to at least 12 months’ imprisonment. It can remove foreign national offenders before the end of their prison sentence through various schemes and through prisoner transfer agreements. The deportation of foreign national offenders is a government priority. During 2023, 3,926 foreign national offenders were returned.

  • In Focus

    Questions to the foreign secretary: 16 April 2024

    Members of the House of Lords will ask Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton a series of oral questions on 16 April 2024. Topics include the current state of freedom of religion or belief in India; what is being done to maintain support for Ukraine; when the UK will next hold a bilateral meeting with France on security issues; and whether the UK will mark the 75th anniversary of the Council of Europe.

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