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Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie) : It was with much sadness that I served on the Standing Committee. I do not think that the Government understand what they are doing, or, if they do, what they are doing is completely reprehensible. They do not understand the difference between a public service and a market decision. The Government's response to the problems of the police is to call in a private sector guru, Sir Patrick Sheehy, to analyse what is wrong, if there is anything wrong, and then to apply private sector nostrums. I wonder how many visits Sir Patrick Sheehy has from people abroad wishing to listen to him. I doubt whether he has many. Yet the British police are visited by people from all over the world, seeking to understand what is so special about the British police system. It does not matter which part of the world one is talking about ; there is a realisation that there is something worth learning from the public service element and the sense of community to be found in the British police. Sir Patrick Sheehy does not have visitors

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from all over the world because British private industry is not admired in the way the the British police service is admired. That is true.

The total anti-local authority perspective of the Bill is also sad. Hon. Members on both sides of the House will be disappointed by the performance of certain local authorities. Some local authorities will not be so good as they could be. But when one talks of community, as hon. Members on both sides of the House have done during the Bill's passage, it is impossible to see any way in which the fulness, the richness and the overall quality of community can be fulfilled without local authorities being at the centre of it. The introduction of the private sector is about atomisation, individualisation and marketisation.

One needs to see the potential for developing community in a much fuller way. There is no doubt that such community development can come only with an improved local authority at its heart. If we and the the Home Office have learnt anything during the past few years it is that crime is too big and important for the police alone to cope with. It is the local community and the departments of the local authority that can tackle crime by preventing it.

The Government have not fully understood the sensitivity of what they are dealing with--the tripartite relationship between the chief constable, the local authority and the Government. For instance, the background literature from the Home Office said that the primary object of a police force is the prevention of crime. I doubt whether any hon. Member would quarrel with that. If crime does not occur, that is a total achievement. But when one sets national objectives, the primary objective of a police force is not the prevention of crime. The prevention of crime is the one thing that cannot be included in a performance target. One simply cannot measure the prevention of crime. It is impossible to measure whether it has occurred. Yet we are to have performance indicators.

Let us consider one of those performance indicators--the number of violent crimes detected per 100 officers. There is not a chief constable in the country who could not achieve a high rate of success against that measurement. It would be easy for a chief constable to find enough violent criminals to increase his figures. He would act like a world cup referee who has to give out yellow or red cards. Crimes figures are among the most creative and least natural statistics in the world. They are compiled each year using a complicated social process. Any chief constable who knows that he is being measured against the number of violent crimes detected in a year will achieve that target.

Finally, I wish to deal with how the Bill has been dealt with from a Scottish viewpoint. The Conservative party in Scotland is in dire straits and is now supported by 10 per cent. of the electorate. If the Government want to know why they are doing so badly

Mr. Deputy Speaker : Order. The situation facing the Conservative party in Scotland has nothing to do with the Third Reading of the Bill.

Mr. Worthington : Part II of the Bill applies to Scotland, yet it has not been discussed and no policy documents have been issued. The Minister with

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responsibility for policing in Scotland has not made a public statement on why the changes are necessary. That is contemptuous. The hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence) spoke of the fall in crime in Scotland. That cannot have been achieved as a result of the Government's policies in Scotland, because no one knows what their policies are. The Minister responsible has not spoken for the past two years on crime in Scotland. I doubt whether the hon. and learned Member for Burton can even tell me who the Minister is. There is a vacuum here.

The partnership in Scotland between local authorities--the Scottish police Minister has now emerged--and the police force, which was called for by my hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) but which this Bill will seek to break up, has begun to succeed. That is one of the reasons why I feel so sad about the introduction of the Bill.

11.27 pm

Mr. Boateng : This is a hapless and friendless Bill, which may explain why the Home Secretary has such a close affinity with it. He sees in it a kindred spirit. The danger is that the Bill is likely to be around considerably longer than he is.

That is why we heard from him what passed as a plea in mitigation--it could not be described as anything else. I know his past, and the criminal law was never one of his strong suits : planning, yes--crime, no. He would have done well to leave the plea in mitigation to someone else, not least because a lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client, and that was never truer than in relation to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

It is clear-- [Interruption.] The Home Secretary misdirects himself as I have nothing to defend. It is he and the Government who have brought forward this monstrous Bill and he should be under no illusions. We are fighting it because it is a creature of dogma and a centralising measure, whether in relation to the Home Office or to the Lord Chancellor's Department. We are fighting the Bill because it is ineffective and will not aid the cause of crime prevention. It will not lead to one fewer crime being committed. It will not further the interests of justice, whether of the civil or criminal law. It will do nothing for the consumer of legal services. For these reasons, we are fighting the Bill.

The true nature of the Government's purpose in bringing forward the Bill was revealed by the hon. and learned Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence). In a characteristically trenchant way--bullish he was in every respect--he gave the game away. The purpose is to impose business on the police and the magistracy. The so-called disciplines of the market are to be imposed on the administration of justice and on those who seek to ensure that crime is defeated and law and order upheld.

We say that the market has no place in that area, because the police are and should be a public service and because the magistracy seeks to serve the public. The Bill is hapless and friendless because they believe that it will do nothing to further the cause of justice. It will do nothing to further the cause of crime prevention. That is why we oppose it.

In Committee, the Government were prepared to make only one concession in respect of the magistracy. Only one amendment were they prepared to accept in that area. Interestingly enough, it was an amendment which sought to remove from the Bill the only reference to the Treasury.

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That amendment they were prepared to accept. I can well understand why the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department was prepared to take that course. He must feel, as surely as the magistrates and the justices' clerks do, the Treasury incubus on his back. The magistrates and the justices' clerks know, just as Lord Justice Purchase knows, along with those in another place who rightly criticise the Bill, that it is the Treasury and not the interests of justice that predominates in the considerations that lie behind the measure.

The Lord Chancellor's Department has failed in its duty to uphold the interests of the citizen. The Home Office has failed in its duty to uphold the interests of the police and the citizen. That is why we shall oppose this measure root and branch, now and in the future. 11.33 pm

Mr. John M. Taylor : My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is to be congratulated on the determination with which he and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department have sustained the momentum of the vital police measures set out in the Bill. They are not least about priorities, performance, objectives, targets and achievements.

The hon. Member for Ellesmere Port and Neston (Mr. Miller), in the context of the magistracy, talked about the indicative map as though it were secret. It was not secret--3,500 copies were printed and sent to the magistrates service.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ryedale (Mr. Greenway) was robust, vivid and forceful, but I would not accuse the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) of any of those things. The hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng), who often produces more heat than light, tonight was incandescently obscure.

For my part of the Bill, I yield to no one in my admiration for the magistrates and their justice. For my part of the Bill, I seek only to improve the administration that supports them. I wish the Bill a Third Reading.

Question put , That the Bill be now read the Third time : The House divided : Ayes 293, Noes 253.

Division No. 286] [11.34 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey)

Aitken, Jonathan

Alexander, Richard

Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby)

Allason, Rupert (Torbay)

Amess, David

Ancram, Michael

Arbuthnot, James

Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)

Arnold, Sir Thomas (Hazel Grv)

Ashby, David

Aspinwall, Jack

Atkins, Robert

Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E)

Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)

Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley)

Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North)

Baldry, Tony

Banks, Matthew (Southport)

Banks, Robert (Harrogate)

Bates, Michael

Batiste, Spencer

Beggs, Roy

Bellingham, Henry

Bendall, Vivian

Beresford, Sir Paul

Biffen, Rt Hon John

Blackburn, Dr John G.

Body, Sir Richard

Bonsor, Sir Nicholas

Booth, Hartley

Boswell, Tim

Bottomley, Peter (Eltham)

Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia

Bowden, Sir Andrew

Bowis, John

Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes

Brandreth, Gyles

Brazier, Julian

Brooke, Rt Hon Peter

Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes)

Browning, Mrs. Angela

Bruce, Ian (S Dorset)

Budgen, Nicholas

Burns, Simon

Burt, Alistair

Butcher, John

Butler, Peter

Butterfill, John

Carlisle, John (Luton North)

Column 288

Carlisle, Sir Kenneth (Lincoln)

Carrington, Matthew

Carttiss, Michael

Cash, William

Channon, Rt Hon Paul

Clappison, James

Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coe, Sebastian

Congdon, David

Conway, Derek

Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st)

Coombs, Simon (Swindon)

Cope, Rt Hon Sir John

Cormack, Patrick

Cran, James

Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire)

Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon)

Davies, Quentin (Stamford)

Davis, David (Boothferry)

Day, Stephen

Deva, Nirj Joseph

Devlin, Tim

Dickens, Geoffrey

Dorrell, Stephen

Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James

Dover, Den

Duncan, Alan

Duncan-Smith, Iain

Dunn, Bob

Durant, Sir Anthony

Dykes, Hugh

Eggar, Tim

Elletson, Harold

Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield)

Evans, Jonathan (Brecon)

Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley)

Evans, Roger (Monmouth)

Evennett, David

Faber, David

Fabricant, Michael

Fenner, Dame Peggy

Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)

Fishburn, Dudley

Forman, Nigel

Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)

Forth, Eric

Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman

Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring)

Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley)

Freeman, Rt Hon Roger

French, Douglas

Fry, Sir Peter

Gale, Roger

Gallie, Phil

Gardiner, Sir George

Garnier, Edward

Gill, Christopher

Gillan, Cheryl

Goodlad, Rt Hon Alastair

Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles

Gorman, Mrs Teresa

Gorst, Sir John

Grant, Sir A. (Cambs SW)

Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)

Greenway, John (Ryedale)

Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)

Grylls, Sir Michael

Gummer, Rt Hon John Selwyn

Hague, William

Hamilton, Rt Hon Sir Archie

Hampson, Dr Keith

Hannam, Sir John

Hargreaves, Andrew

Harris, David

Haselhurst, Alan

Hawkins, Nick

Hawksley, Warren

Hayes, Jerry

Heald, Oliver

Hendry, Charles

Higgins, Rt Hon Sir Terence L.

Hill, James (Southampton Test)

Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas (G'tham)

Horam, John

Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter

Howard, Rt Hon Michael

Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)

Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)

Howell, Sir Ralph (N Norfolk)

Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)

Hunt, Rt Hon David (Wirral W)

Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)

Hunter, Andrew

Jack, Michael

Jenkin, Bernard

Jessel, Toby

Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)

Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)

Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine

Key, Robert

Kilfedder, Sir James

King, Rt Hon Tom

Kirkhope, Timothy

Knapman, Roger

Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)

Knight, Greg (Derby N)

Knox, Sir David

Kynoch, George (Kincardine)

Lait, Mrs Jacqui

Lawrence, Sir Ivan

Legg, Barry

Leigh, Edward

Lennox-Boyd, Mark

Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)

Lidington, David

Lightbown, David

Lilley, Rt Hon Peter

Lloyd, Rt Hon Peter (Fareham)

Lord, Michael

Luff, Peter

Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas

MacGregor, Rt Hon John

MacKay, Andrew

Maclean, David

McLoughlin, Patrick

McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick

Madel, Sir David

Maitland, Lady Olga

Malone, Gerald

Mans, Keith

Marland, Paul

Marlow, Tony

Martin, David (Portsmouth S)

Mates, Michael

Merchant, Piers

Mills, Iain

Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)

Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW)

Moate, Sir Roger

Molyneaux, Rt Hon James

Montgomery, Sir Fergus

Moss, Malcolm

Needham, Rt Hon Richard

Nelson, Anthony

Neubert, Sir Michael

Newton, Rt Hon Tony

Nicholls, Patrick

Nicholson, David (Taunton)

Nicholson, Emma (Devon West)

Norris, Steve

Onslow, Rt Hon Sir Cranley

Oppenheim, Phillip

Ottaway, Richard

Page, Richard

Paice, James

Patnick, Irvine

Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey

Pawsey, James

Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth

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