Police Reform Bill [Lords]

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Clause 79

Expenses of members of police authorities etc.

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

Mr. Hawkins: Once again, the Police Federation has been in touch with my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Cambridgeshire and myself. It believes that, as a matter of principle, the rules governing the reimbursement of expenses of members of police authorities should not be substantially more favourable than those governing the reimbursement of expenses incurred by police officers. As an example, it quotes from the recent police negotiating board agreement on police pay and conditions of service:

    ''refreshment and subsistence allowances are due to be replaced by reimbursement of actual expenses incurred evidenced by receipts.''

The Police Federation believes that the same change should be made to the expenses arrangements for members of police authorities. On reading that, I decided that it was at least a legitimate matter to ask the Minister about, although I shall not vote against the clause, and I anticipate that the Minister may say that the rules have to be slightly different for various reasons.

Mr. Denham: It involves slightly different matters of substance. As the hon. Gentleman will know, the changes in the PNB regulations were part of a wider attempt to remove at least some of the multiplicity of individual allowances, leads and payments in the police pay system. It is a sensible approach to the expenses of police authority members, but there is no need for us to make detailed regulations nationally in relation to allowances that have previously been deregulated. We are now doing the same for

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expenses, which has generally been welcomed by police authorities.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 79 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 80

President of ACPO

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

Mr. Hawkins: In this case, the Police Federation has written to my hon. Friend and myself to say that it agrees with what is proposed in clause 80, although it says—and I share this opinion—

    ''we are intrigued as to the intentions behind it.''

It is intrigued about whether there is any special significance in introducing a special measure in an Act of Parliament to provide that the president of ACPO shall continue to hold the rank of chief constable. I am equally puzzled and intrigued about that, so I am interested to know what the Minister has to say.

Mr. Denham: The underlying policy is to enable the creation of a full-time presidency of ACPO, because it is becoming increasingly demanding for someone to

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act as chief constable of a force and as the professional leader of the whole police service. We were first persuaded of the need to create a full-time presidency of ACPO. Then the organisation persuaded us that the person who acts, in effect, as the leader all chief constables would need to have the same professional status. There are some additional functions that go with the presidency, such as activities related to the work of the police national co-ordinating centre, which come into play to deal with floods and similar events. ACPO argued that in those situations where there is something of an operational crossover, it would be necessary for the person in office to be a chief constable, and because otherwise they would have to forego that office when they left the force to become full-time president.

Mr. Hawkins: That seems very sensible. I am happy with that answer.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 80 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 81 to 84 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, THE CHAIRMAN adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Widdecombe, Miss Ann (Chairman)
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Borrow, Mr.
Brooke, Mrs.
Challen, Mr.
Denham, Mr.
Follett, Barbara
Gillan, Mrs.
Hawkins, Mr.
Heppell, Mr.
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Kumar, Dr.
Lucas, Ian
MacDougall, Mr.
Mercer, Patrick
Munn, Ms
Osborne, Mr. George
Paice, Mr.
Prentice, Ms Bridget
Stinchcombe, Mr.
Stoate, Dr.

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