Railways and Transport Safety Bill

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Linda Perham (Ilford, North): The hon. Lady mentioned a matter spoken of by my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, North and Leith (Mr. Lazarowicz) on Second Reading, which was the extension of the jurisdiction of the British Transport police under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. I spoke last week with the chief constable of the British Transport police, who is extremely supportive of the Bill, but that was his main worry. That Act contains a sunset clause, but it must be reviewed by the end of this year. I seek an assurance from the Minister, as did the hon. Lady, about the extension of jurisdiction, because the British Transport police wants to keep those powers.

Mr. Foster: I have no intention of holding the baton at the end of our proceedings, so I shall be brief. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Linda Perham). I hope that we get a clear answer to that question. I support the clause, because it establishes something that the Government said that they would do back in 1998.

During our debate on schedule 4, I shall raise a number of questions, not least about the notion that the Secretary of State should be responsible for the appointment of the chairman of the authority when all other chairmen are appointed by the authorities themselves.

Mr. Spellar: The hon. Member for Bath slightly anticipates a later debate. It is not the case that all police authorities elect their own chairmen, but we will

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come to that detail in due course. It seems that I may be left holding the baton; perhaps the hon. Gentleman is going to another of his lunches and is not sure whether he will be here in time for this afternoon's sitting.

I join the hon. Member for Vale of York in paying tribute to the management and the officers of the British Transport police for the extremely effective job

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that they do. I say that not only because of the way in which they deal with the public, but because statistics show where they stand in the league of county police forces.

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:
Hurst, Mr. Alan (Chairman)
Bacon, Mr.
Cairns, David
Clapham, Mr.
Foster, Mr. Don
Hopkins, Mr.
Jamieson, Mr.
Lazarowicz, Mr.
McIntosh, Miss
Mahmood, Mr.
Murrison, Dr.
Perham, Linda
Ryan, Joan
Spellar, Mr.
Watts, Mr.

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Prepared 11 February 2003