Draft Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 2002

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Mr. Davidson: My background is old Labour, therefore I still have convictions.

Mr. Bradley: I shall move on rapidly. The hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Atkinson) made a point about the RSPCA. The order applies to RSPCA inspectors and other staff who are authorised to kill animals as part of their duties. It does not apply across the board to administrative staff, which the hon. Gentleman gave as an example.

Mr. Atkinson: Why would the order not apply to a vet? The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons does not have that right, as far as I know.

Mr. Bradley: I understand that vets are already covered in the exceptions order.

The introduction of the Criminal Records Bureau provided the impetus behind the selection of the categories, and we had to reflect on it from 1 March. The changes to the financial services, which we made at the end of last year, were subject to consultation because of the new legislation.However, the proposed policy changes are not out of step with previous exceptions, and so we consulted with the Departments who made the proposals.

The hon. Gentleman is right: we need to roll all that up into a coherent whole. That is the purpose of the review. I hope that the Committee will not have to sit several times between now and the completion of the review and the introduction of the legislation. It is unsatisfactory for there to be a continuous stream of exceptions because of other pressures, as there is now.

Simon Hughes: The Minister talked about continuing work on the review. I want to press him further than he can probably go. Is it the plan that the review should be completed before the summer? Is the interim report expected before then, as it was referred to last August? I assume that the responses to the consultation have been analysed, as six months have passed.

Mr. Bradley: I cannot give a specific date, but I am as anxious as other hon. Members to complete the review so that it is in the public domain, and to introduce our proposals. I want to do that in a timely way to ensure that we do not miss the opportunity of a legislative slot at the appropriate time in the autumn.

That covers most of the major points that were raised this morning, and I hope that we can approve the order. If I have missed any points, I will write to hon. Members in due course.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the draft Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 2002.

        Committee rose at three minutes past Eleven o'clock.

Column Number: 11

The following Members attended the Committee:
Roe, Mrs. Marion (Chairman)
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Best, Mr.
Bradley, Mr. Keith
Caplin, Mr.
Davidson, Mr.
Grieve, Mr.

Column Number: 12

Harris, Mr. Tom
Henderson, Mr. Ivan
Hughes, Simon
Lloyd, Mr.
Lucas, Ian
Naysmith, Dr.
Squire, Rachel

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Prepared 12 February 2002