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26 Mar 2003 : Column 312—continued

Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords]

As amended in the Standing Committee, considered.

[Relevant documents: The Third Report of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, The Police (Northern Ireland) Bill, HC 233, and the Government's response thereto, Second Special Report, HC 555.]

New Clause 1

Independent Members: Declaration Against Terrorism


'(1) Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c.32) (district policing partnerships) is amended as follows.
(2) In paragraph 1 (interpretation) after subparagraph (3) insert—
"(3A) In this Schedule a "declaration against terrorism" means a declaration in the form set out in Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Elected Authorities (Northern Ireland) Act 1989, with the substitution of the words "if appointed" for the words "if elected"."
(3) In paragraph 5 (council's nominations of independent members) in subparagraph (4) after "if" insert "(a)" and after "the DPP" insert—
", or
(b) he has not made a declaration against terrorism".
(4) In paragraph 7 (removal of members from office) in subparagraph (1) after paragraph (a) insert—
"(aa) in the case of an independent member, he has acted in breach of the terms of a declaration against terrorism;".
(5) In paragraph 7 after subparagraph (2) insert—
"(3) Section 6 of the Elected Authorities (Northern Ireland) Act 1989 applies to determine whether an independent member has acted in breach of the terms of a declaration against terrorism as it applies to determine whether a person who has made a declaration required for the purpose of section 3, 4 or 5 of that Act has acted in breach of the terms of the declaration.
(4) As applied by subparagraph (3), section 6 of the Elected Authorities (Northern Ireland) Act 1989 applies with the following modifications—
(a) in subsection (1), for the words from "after" to "the Assembly" substitute "when he is an independent member of a district policing partnership";
(b) omit subsection (4);
(c) in subsection (5), in the definition of "public meeting" after paragraph (c) insert—
"(d) any meeting of a district policing partnership or a committee of a district policing partnership (whether or not a meeting which the public is permitted to attend), and
(e) any meeting of a subgroup established under section 21 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 or a committee of such a subgroup (whether or not a meeting which the public is permitted to attend), and".
(6) Subsections (1) to (5) come into force in accordance with provision made by the Secretary of State by order.'.—[Mr. Paul Murphy.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Paul Murphy) : I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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Mr. Speaker : With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Government new clause 2—Independent members: disqualification—and amendments (a) and (b) thereto. New clause 9—Independent members of district policing partnerships


'(1) Paragraph 4 of Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (independent members) is amended as set out in subsections (2) and (3).
(2) After subparagraph (1) insert—
"(1A) No person may be appointed an independent member pursuant to subparagraph (1) above unless the Board make a declaration that the Board is satisfied that the person is not involved in any paramilitary organisation or in organised crime."
(3) After subparagraph (1A) insert—
"(1B) Before making a declaration under subparagraph (1A) above the Board must consult the district commander for the local policing district.".'. New clause 10—Political members of district policing partnerships—
'(1) Paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (political members) is amended as set out in subsections (2) and (3).
(2) After subparagraph (1) insert—
"(1A) No person may be appointed a political member pursuant to subparagraph (1) above unless the Board make a declaration that the Board is satisfied that the person is not involved in any paramilitary organisation or in organised crime."
(3) After subparagraph (1A) insert—
"(1B) Before making a declaration under subparagraph (1A) above the Board must consult the district commander for the local policing district.".'. New clause 11—Removal from office of members of district police partnerships—
'(1) Paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (removal of members from office) is amended as set out in subsection (2).
(2) After subparagraph (1) insert—
"(1A) The Board must remove a person from office as an independent member of a DPP if at any time after their appointment the Board is no longer satisfied that the person is not involved in any paramilitary organisation or in organised crime and would not make a declaration pursuant to paragraph 4(1A) in respect of that person.
(1B) The council must remove a person from office as a political member of a DPP if at any time after their appointment the Board recommend to the council that it is no longer satisfied that the person is not involved in any paramilitary organisation or in organised crime and would not make a declaration pursuant to paragraph 3(1A) in respect of that person.".'. New clause 13—Disqualification of independent members of district policing partnerships—
'(1) Paragraph 8 of Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In subparagraph (2) the words after "offence" shall be omitted.
(3) After subparagraph (2) there shall be inserted—
"(3) The Secretary of State may exempt a person from disqualification under the provisions of subparagraph (2) if, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the offence of which the person was convicted was not such as to render the person unsuitable for membership.".'.

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New clause 18—Disqualification from independent membership of a DPP—
'In paragraph 8 to Schedule 3 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (disqualification) for subparagraph (2) substitute—
"(2) A person is disqualified from being an independent member of a DPP if he has at any time been convicted in Northern Ireland or elsewhere of any offence and has had passed on him a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) of more than twelve months.
(2A) A person is disqualified from being an independent member of a DPP if, in the opinion of a police officer of superintendent rank or above, he is connected with a paramilitary organisation listed in Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
(2B) A person is disqualified from being an independent member of a DPP if, in the opinion of a police officer of superintendent rank or above, he is connected with a paramilitary organisation specified under section 3(8) of the Northern Ireland Sentences Act 1998.".' New clause 19—Police consultation over eligibility of independent members of a DPP—
'In paragraph 4 of Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (independent members) after subparagraph (1) insert—
"(1A) Before approving the appointment of an independent member of a DPP from among persons nominated by the council in accordance with paragraph 5 the Board shall consult a police office of superintendent rank or above as to the eligibility for membership of any individual so nominated.
(1B) If a police officer makes a determination as set out in paragraph 8(2A) or (2B) to Schedule 3 the Board must not approve the nomination.".' New clause 23—Disqualification—
'In paragraph 8 of Schedule 3 to the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (disqualification for membership of a district policing partnership), after subparagraph (1) insert—
"(1A) A person removed from office under paragraph 7(1) is disqualified for membership of a DPP for five years following his removal.".'. Amendment No.77, in page 10, line 19, leave out Clause 14. Government amendments Nos. 34 and 35.

1.39 pm

Mr. Murphy: We had a flavour of what the debate may be like in points of order—all of us will have become aware of that flavour over the past few months. What we are considering in this batch of new clauses and amendments is nothing new. We talked in the autumn about—ugly phrase—"texts for consideration", and referred to discussions held in August 2001 which resulted in the publication of the implementation plan for the Patten report. If aficionados turn to page 11 of the plan, which deals with recommendations 27 and 28 of the report, they will see that the district policing partnerships and the sub-groups in Belfast have to be considered in detail, as the House is going to do this afternoon.The plan was followed by a review of policing, which was introduced by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office. Again, reference has been made to those issues. On 25 November 2002, the texts for consideration were published alongside the draft Bill. I know that when the House discussed clause 14, such issues were debated. The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) referred in his point of order to the Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, which has also discussed and debated those issues.

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Why, on 25 November 2002, was it decided to separate texts for consideration from the Bill itself? It was not simply because it happened to be my birthday—


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