Criminal Justice and Police Bill

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Mr. Simon Hughes: The hon. Member for Hall Green unwittingly mentioned Ulster Members; the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maginnis) is a member of the Committee, but he has not attended. However, that does not preclude him or other Members from making contributions on Report. Again, I doubt whether the hon. Member for Hall Green meant to say it, but he implied that my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton and I eventually came to our principled position on clause 81. We took that position at the start and did not waver. The Minister's arguments did not move us.

I shall not repeat the substantive arguments. It would be illogical for us not to take the same view in relation to the provision for Northern Ireland as we did for England and Wales. We voted against the England and Wales clause and we believe that the same should apply in Northern Ireland. The powers in relation to DNA and the like should be the same. We shall therefore oppose the clause.

Mr. Charles Clarke: I agree that the logic behind clause 82 is similar to that behind clause 81. The situation in Northern Ireland is different, but we believe that the fundamental logic is similar. I shall urge my hon. Friends to vote for the clause. I find it utterly extraordinary that Conservative Members can give a no-vote to some of these clauses, but I entirely understand the Liberal Democrat position.

Mr. Heald: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Clarke: No, I will not. The hon. Member for Surrey Heath may sum up if he wishes. I move that the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Heald: If one seeks to amend a clause and the amendment is voted down, it seems logical to abstain on clause stand part. It does not mean that we do not support the principle.

Question put, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 2.

Division No. 43]

Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Clarke, Mr. Charles
Grogan, Mr. John
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
McCabe, Mr. Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Thomas, Mr. Gareth R.

Ballard, Jackie
Hughes, Mr. Simon

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 82, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 83

Amendment of Terrorism Act 2000equivalent to s. 81

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Hawkins: The clause goes with the previous clause, as it is about amendments to the Terrorism Act 2000. Like all responsible Members of the House, from whichever party, we are passionately in favour of the control of and an end to terrorism. We certainly do not want to suggest that we are against the Government's trying to toughen up the 2000 Act. However, our concerns—the Minister has confirmed that he accepts that they are legitimate—must be taken into account on the clause.

Mr. Charles Clarke: The hon. Gentleman is right, in that the clause makes consequential amendments. I hope that the Committee will agree to let it stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 83 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 84 and 85 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 86

Establishment of the Authority

Mr. Heald: I beg to move amendment No. 279, in page 72, line 45, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 280, in page 73, line 1, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 281, in clause 87, page 73, line 8, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 282, in clause 87, page 73, line 10, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 283, in clause 87, page 73, line 15, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 284, in clause 87, page 73, line 26, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 285, in clause 87, page 73, line 34, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 286, in clause 87, page 73, line 40, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 287, in clause 87, page 74, line 5, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 288, in clause 87, page 74, line 8, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 289, in clause 87, page 74, line 17, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 290, in clause 87, page 74, line 21, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 291, in clause 87, page 74, line 23, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 292, in clause 88, page 75, line 11, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 293, in clause 88, page 75, line 12, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

No. 294, in clause 88, page 75, line 15, leave out `Authority' and insert `Agency'.

Mr. Heald: Clause 86 creates the new non-departmental public body called the central police training and development authority. Its functions are to provide and promote police training, to give advice and assistance about training and to provide advice and consultancy services to the police on best practice and other matters.

The amendment would change the name of the new body so that it was an agency rather than an authority. As the clause is the first on police training, I shall give some background. Following a thematic inspection of training by Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary, a House of Commons report by the Select Committee on Home Affairs, a report by Sir William Stubbs and two Police Federation reports, the Government issued a consultation paper in November 1999. It set out some detailed proposals to reform police training. However, as far as I can ascertain, it did not contain a proposal to set up the authority. It proposed various changes to the existing situation, which I shall explain. Police training was divided between national police training and that provided locally by the forces. All forces have their own training centres, some providing specific types of training.

Jackie Ballard: Would it help the hon. Gentleman if members of the Committee were to tell him that they had read the explanatory notes that accompany the Bill, so he does not need to waste his time in reading them to us?

Mr. Heald: The hon. Lady should know that I am not doing that. I am briefly summarising the overview of current arrangements for police training that appeared in the consultation document in November 1999. I do not intend to go on at great length, but it is worth summarising two or three of its points, as that will put the debate in context.

It is estimated that 87 per cent. of police training is delivered locally and only 13 per cent. nationally. National police training is spread over 10 sites and is responsible for the delivery of probationer constable training for all forces in England and Wales. It is funded directly as part of the Home Office, with an annual budget of £45 million.

Five main proposals formed the centrepiece of the consultation document, although there were 12 points in all. The Police Training Council was to become a smaller, reorganised and more strategic body. There was to be a new, employer-led national training organisation, a core curriculum for police training and an agreement in principle to establish cluster colleges. There was going to be a central police college, a centre of excellence to carry out leadership training and a dedicated training inspectorate within HMIC. I welcome the appointment of an inspector to lead that organisation. I have had a useful meeting with him.

Those were the proposals. Following the consultation, the Government made a statement in the House and also produced the paper ``Police Training: The Way Forward''. I will not read all of it, and I hope that the hon. Lady will admit that I have not been long-winded in setting the matter in context. As far as I can see, proposals following consultation did not include a new authority. The explanatory notes seem to suggest that the new body in some way came out of the consultation process. However, as far as I can see, it did not.

I want to ask the Minister about the nature of the body. Apparently, it will provide services to the police on behalf of the Home Office. Its budget will come from the Home Office. It may not actually provide the services itself—it may buy them in, and I have some further questions about that for later in the debate.

We need to know why the organisation is to be described as an authority. Normally, one would think of a police authority or a local authority as different from the sort of body under discussion. The agencies around Whitehall include the Passports Agency, which issues passports for the Home Office and is funded by that Department. The Benefits Agency delivers benefits. The central police training and development authority seems to be providing services on behalf of a Government Department, and I should be grateful if the Minister would explain to the Committee why it is not an agency but an authority.

When we debate schedule 4, I shall have some more detailed questions about the way in which the body is to be set up. Clearly, the Home Secretary retains the power to direct in clause 87(4). The body's objectives are in part set by the Home Secretary—he lays down performance indicators for it and takes action with respect to it when an inspection has occurred. Why, then, is the body not described as an agency—a concept that we all understand in Whitehall?

Jackie Ballard: There seems to be some logic in the hon. Gentleman's remarks. The authority created by the provision could be confused with a police authority.

The new authority is also wholly appointed by the Secretary of State, and would seem to be similar to other quangos. In passing, I note that it is not many years since the Labour party pledged to remove quangos. So far, the Government have created many more of them. It would be interesting to hear the Minister's response on the matter, but I do not think that it is a substantial point about which we should have a lengthy debate.

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