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Police bill risks being ‘abusers’ charter’ because of absence of measures to protect women, Labour warns

The government’s controversial police bill “risks becoming an abusers’ charter”, Labour has warned today.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told the House of Commons that the legislation devote more space to defending statues from vandalism than protecting women from street harassment and stalking.

In an emotionally charged debate, Mr Thomas-Symonds told MPs that the scenes of police using force on women attending a vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard should be a “red warning light” over measures in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which would crack down on the freedom to take part in demonstrations.

Home secretary Priti Patel said that she shared the anger expressed by many in the wake of Ms Everard’s death over “the danger posed to women by predatory men”.

She rejected as “completely wrong” claims that the bill does nothing for women, pointing to provisions to end the release of those convicted of serious sexual offences after serving half of their sentences.

Ms Patel told the Commons that since she reopened a consultation on tackling violence against women and girls on Friday, an “unprecedented” 78,000 responses have been received.

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