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May 09, 2013

UK to Declare Forced Marriages Illegal

image A raft of measures to create new and simpler powers to tackle antisocial behaviour, make forced marriage illegal and improve professional standards of the police were introduced today in the new Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.

The government has taken action to strengthen the protection for victims of forced marriage by making it a criminal offence. 

Home Secretary Theresa May added: “Forced marriage is little more than slavery. It is an appalling form of abuse and by criminalising it we are sending out a clear message that this brutal practice is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK.

The Bill, which was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, will: 
•condense 19 existing measures to deal with antisocial behaviour into six, more effective powers, giving victims the ability to ensure action is taken and a greater say in the sanction an offender receives;
•encourage responsible dog ownership by making it a criminal offence to have a dog that is dangerously out of control in a private property (extending the current legislation which covers public places); 
•tackle the use of illegal firearms by gangs and organised crime groups, by increasing the maximum penalty for illegal importation/exportation of firearms and create a new offence of possession for sale or transfer; 
•provide the new College of Policing with the powers it needs to set standards for the police in England and Wales; and extend the powers and remit of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to ensure all serious allegations against police officers and staff are investigated robustly and independently.

Theresa May said, “Police reform is working and crime continues to fall. We have swept away central targets, reduced bureaucracy and introduced Police and Crime Commissioners to make the police more accountable. Today we are delivering on our pledges to give victims of antisocial behaviour a stronger voice, further cut crime and improve the relationship between the public and police.”