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31 Mar 2003 : Column 689continued
Mr. Jamieson: I do not think that it is the RAIB's job to do that. Its proper role is to investigate specific accidents or incidents that could have led to accidents, and the lessons learned will, I hope, lead to greater public confidence. However, it is for the rail safety and standards board to have general oversight of implementation and thereby to increase the travelling public's confidence in the rail system.
Mr. Don Foster: The Minister is being most helpful and encouraging about the likely contents of the report, which is all the more reason why we should be given an absolute assurance that we will get draft copies of the regulations before the Bill completes its passage. As for the point he has just made, other bodies, such as the British Transport police, will examine incidents that could have led to an accidentfor example, incidents of vandalismand comment on them. Does he expect the RAIB's annual report to include reference to matters such as the BTP's comments on vandalism?
Mr. Jamieson: That would be a matter for the chief inspector to put in his or her report. That is, those matters that were relevant to the task in hand. I do not think that issues relating to the British Transport police would routinely be included in the report. If lessons were to be learned from specific issues, perhaps inclusion would be the most appropriate course. In the end, that is a matter for the good sense of the chief inspector.
'(1) This section applies to action of any of the following kinds
(a) the making by the Authority of regulations under section 34, 35 or 36 about the conditions of service of constables, special constables or cadets,
(b) the making by the Secretary of State of regulations under section 40 about the conditions of service of constables, special constables or cadets,
(c) the issuing by the Secretary of State of a document under section 27,
(d) the taking by the Authority of a decision about the conditions of service of constables, special constables or cadets, and
(e) the taking by the Secretary of State of a decision about the conditions of service of constables, special constables or cadets.
(2) Before taking action to which this section applies the Authority or the Secretary of State shall invite the British Transport Police Federation to nominate a number of individuals, not fewer than two nor more than five, to meet with an equal number of individuals nominated by the Authority to discuss the action proposed.
(3) Where a group is nominated under subsection (2) the person proposing to act shall, before acting
(a) give the group an opportunity to make recommendations about the proposed action, and
(b) have regard to any recommendation made.
(4) Where the person proposing to act thinks that a group nominated under subsection (2) is unable to agree recommendations about the proposed action he shall, before acting
(a) give the group an opportunity to nominate an individual who is not part of the group to make recommendations about the proposed action,
(b) give any person nominated by the group an opportunity to make recommendations about the proposed action, and
(c) have regard to any recommendation made.
(5) Where the person proposing to act thinks that a group nominated under subsection (2) is unable to agree a nomination under subsection (4)(a)
(a) the Secretary of State may nominate a person to make recommendations about the proposed action, and
(b) the person proposing to act shall, before acting
(i) give any person nominated under paragraph (a) an opportunity to make recommendations about the proposed action, and
(ii) have regard to any recommendation made.
(6) In subsections (4) and (5) a reference to agreement of a group nominated under subsection (2) is a reference to the agreement of
(a) a majority of the individuals nominated by the British Transport Police Federation, and
(b) a majority of the individuals nominated by the Authority.
(7) In this section a reference to conditions of service includes a reference to any terms and conditions of employment (including pay and hours of duty).'.[Mr. Spellar.]
'The Secretary of State shall issue a code of practice setting out the relationship between the British Transport Police, airport police, and Home Office police forces and security officers operating at airports and seaports.'.
'The Secretary of State shall authorise the reimbursement of the costs arising from the extended jurisdiction for the British Transport Police provided in the AntiTerrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.'.
'.The Secretary of State may permit the British Transport Police Authority to contract with transport operators to provide services in respect of nonrail transport modes, including airports and bus routes.'.
'(g) to the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy'.
'and on direction by the Secretary of State other transport undertakings, including sea ports and airports.'.
'( ) and, on direction by the Secretary of State, on any other transport undertakings including sea ports and airports.'.
'( ) anywhere within the United Kingdom in the absence of a constable of the territorial force;
( ) in support of any other police officer.'.
'(e) have regard to the Mayor of London's Transport Strategy.'.
'( ) other persons and bodies with an interest in the transport undertakings including sea ports and airports where the Secretary of State has issued a direction extending the jurisdiction of the British Transport Police.'.
'( ) trades unions representing employees of organisations providing railway services.'.
'(n) Transport for London'.
'( ) a person nominated by Transport for London.'.
'( ) at least four persons who have a knowledge of and experience in relation to the interests of persons employed in the provision of railway services and who are members of a trade union.'.
'(g) a person with an association with, either by ownership or career experience, with the industry, transport undertaking, or port or airport where the Secretary of State has, by direction, extended the jurisdiction of the British Transport Police.'.
Mr. Spellar: The new clauses and amendments all refer to the part of the Bill that concerns the British Transport police. New clause 7 would retain the existing BTP conference. The hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) raised this important issue in Committee, and I was happy to give her an assurance that the Government would bring forward an amendment to address the matter.
We are not talking about the British Transport Police Federation conference, which is an excellent body that I addressed in Peterborough last week. We are talking about a meeting between management and the federation, and the conference has an important role. It allows discussions on conditions of service, such as pay and hours of duty, to take place between the Strategic Rail Authority, as the current employer of the force, and the British Transport Police Federation as representative of the federated ranks of the BTP. The new clause ensures that the conference will continue to meet to discuss issues relating to conditions of service of BTP constables with the Strategic Rail Authority's role replaced by the British Transport Police authority.
We have already discussed these provisions with the BTP. Our officials have met and corresponded with the federation, senior management of the force and the BTP committee. They are all content that the provisions are both correct and allow the existing conference to continue to perform its role.
Government amendments Nos. 16 to 18 reflect the fact that special constables with the BTP should not be classed as employees of the authority. They are, of course, volunteers and so should not be legally defined as employees. That is the existing position of special constables in both the BTP force and of local Home Office police forces as well. The amendments ensure that the British Transport police special constables remain in line with their Home Office counterparts. As hon. Members who served on Committee will be aware, it is to harmonise arrangements between British Transport police and the Home Office forces that we have introduced a number of provisions.