|Serious Organised Crime And Police Bill - continued||House of Commons|
|back to previous text|
Clause 127: Anti-social behaviour orders etc.: reporting restrictions
329. This clause disapplies automatic reporting restrictions for breaches, committed by children and young persons, of Anti-social Behaviour Orders and Orders made under sections 1B and 1C of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Subsection (2) provides that in proceedings brought against a child or young person for breach of such an order, a court will not be bound by automatic reporting restrictions in section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. However, the court will retain discretion to apply reporting restrictions. Subsection (3) provides that breaches of interim anti-social behaviour orders will also be covered by this amendment.
Clause 128: Contracting out of local authority functions relating to anti-social behaviour orders
330. This clause amends Part 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c.37), by inserting a new section 1F - Contracting out of local authority functions. Section 1 of this Act provides power for a 'relevant authority' to apply for an Anti-social Behaviour Order (ASBO) in respect of any person aged over 10.
331. Subsection (1) of new section 1F enables the Secretary of State to make an order which may specify a person to whom local authorities may contract out their ASBO functions, which may be exercised by that person or employees of his.
332. Subsection (2)(a) and (b) provides that the order may specify conditions on how the local authority must make arrangements for contracting out its ASBO functions. Subsection (2)(c) also enables the Local Authority to make its own conditions when contracting out its ASBO functions.
333. Subsection (3)(a) provides that the order may specify whether the local authority may contract out all or some of its ASBO functions (under section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 - "the Act"). Subsection (3) also provides that the Order may specify whether the local authority can make arrangements, which will enable a person specified in the order to exercise its ASBO functions generally or only in specific cases, or areas.
334. Subsection (4) provides that the order may specify that the person the local authority may contract out its ASBO functions to, may be treated as if he were a public body for the purposes of section 1 of the local authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970. This may be necessary to enable the local authority to provide to the specified person any goods or services to facilitate the exercise of the contracted out ASBO function.
335. Subsection (5) requires the Secretary of State to consult prior to the making of an order the National Assembly for Wales where the order specifies relevant authorities in Wales, such representatives of local government and any other persons as it thinks appropriate.
336. Subsection (6) provides that, notwithstanding any contracting out arrangements the local authority may wish to make, the local authority still retains the power to discharge its ASBO functions (under Section 1 of the Act).
337. Subsection (7). Section 70 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act (DACO) 1994 provides that a Minister may make an order specifying those local authority functions which may be contracted out.
338. The following provisions of the DACO Act apply to contracting out of functions for the purposes of this section:
339. Subsection (8) ensures that the application of the provision mentioned in subsection (7) operates in relation to a person specified by an order under this section to whom a local authority has contracted out its functions.
340. Subsection (9) provides that the Secretary of State may issue guidance on the whole or on any part of the provisions in this section, to which local authorities and the persons to whom they may contract out must have regard. Subsection (10) enables an order to include consequential, supplemental, incidental, transitional or savings provisions. Subsection (11) defines local authorities for the purposes of this section.
341. Subsections (2) and (3) makes minor consequential amendments to the Act.
Part 5: Miscellaneous
Clause 129: Offence in respect of incorrectly registered vehicles
342. This clause inserts a new section 43C into the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. It creates a new offence of using an incorrectly registered vehicle on a public road or in a public place. A vehicle is incorrectly registered if the name and address of the keeper are not recorded on the register provided for by the Secretary of State under the 1994 Act. A vehicle is also incorrectly registered if any of the particulars on the register in respect of the vehicle are incorrect.
343. It is already an offence under the 1994 Act for the keeper of a vehicle to fail to correct these details on the register. At present, however, a person found driving such a vehicle escapes penalty if he cannot be proved to be the keeper.
344. It is a defence under subsection (2) if the user can show that there was no reasonable opportunity for the name and address of the keeper to be supplied for registration or that there was no reasonable opportunity to correct incorrect particulars on the register. It is a defence under subsection (3)(a) if the user can show that he had reasonable grounds for believing, or that it was reasonable for him to expect, that the particulars were correctly recorded. Subsection (3)(b) allows further defences to be provided by regulation.
345. A person who is guilty of an offence under this clause is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding Level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1000). An offence under clause 129 is a fixed penalty offence.
Clause 130: Power of constables etc. to require production of registration documents in respect of a vehicle
346. This clause inserts a new section 28A into the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994. It provides constables with a power to require a person using a vehicle to produce the registration document issued in respect of that vehicle on demand. A person who does not produce the document required will be committing an offence, unless one of three conditions applies. The first is if within 7 days or as soon as reasonably practicable the person produces the document required in person at a police station nominated by him at the time of the request. The second is that the vehicle is subject to a lease or hire agreement, that the vehicle is not registered in the name of the lessee or hirer under that agreement and is not required to be and that the person likewise produces a copy of the agreement. The third condition is that any exception to the offence provided in regulations made under this section is met.
347. A person who is guilty of an offence under this clause is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding Level 2 on the standard scale (currently £500).
Clause 131: Power to seize etc. vehicles driven without insurance
348. This clause inserts new sections 165A and 165B into the Road Traffic Act 1988. It gives the police a specific power to seize immediately vehicles which are detected being used by uninsured drivers, and to release the vehicle in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State. Those regulations may require payment of prescribed charges and production of a valid insurance certificate.
349. Under subsections (1) and (2) of new section 165A the power would be exercisable by a constable in uniform who has reasonable grounds to believe that a vehicle is or had been driven by a person not appropriately insured against third party risk. Subsections (1) and (2) refer to the constable using the powers he already has under section 165 of the 1988 Act (to require the production of insurance documents) and section 163 of the 1988 Act (to stop a vehicle) respectively. Under subsection (3) the officer would have the power to seize and remove the vehicle and to enter premises to effect the seizure, if a vehicle did not stop, and a power to use reasonable force, if necessary for these purposes.
350. New section 165B allows the Secretary of State to make Regulations that set the procedures and arrangements for removal, retention, release and disposal of vehicles, including prescribed charges and periods, and arrangements for notifying the registered keeper, owner or driver. The seizure power in new section 165A will not come into effect until Regulations under new section 165B are made.
351. Subsection (3) of new section 165B excuses from any payment a registered keeper or owner who could demonstrate that he was not driving the vehicle at the time, that the seized vehicle had been used without his knowledge and consent and that he could not reasonably have prevented it from being driven.
Clause 132: Payments by Secretary of State to police authorities in relation to the prevention, detection and enforcement of certain traffic offences
352. Clause 132 allows the Secretary of State to make payments to police authorities in respect of the whole or any part of their expenditure on the prevention and detection of the motoring offences specified in subsection (3) and on enforcement action relating to such offences. This will in turn, with the agreement of the Treasury, enable money from fixed penalties for such offences to be recycled to fund such future prevention, detection and enforcement activities. In practice this will enable resources to be directed towards the deployment of police intercept teams using automatic number plate recognition technology.
353. Subsection (4) contains a power for the Secretary of State to amend the list of specified offences by Order.
Clause 133: Payments by Scottish Ministers to police authorities etc. in relation to the prevention, detection and enforcement of certain traffic offences
354. Clause 133 allows the Scottish Ministers to make payments to police authorities or joint police boards in respect of the whole or any part of their expenditure on the prevention and detection of the motoring offences specified in subsection (3) and on enforcement action relating to such offences. This will in turn, with the agreement of the Treasury, enable money from fixed penalties for such offences to be recycled to fund such future prevention, detection and enforcement activities. In practice this will enable resources to be directed towards the deployment of police intercept teams using automatic number plate recognition technology.
355. Subsection (4) contains a power for the Scottish Ministers to amend the list of specified offences by Order.
Clause 134: Publication of local policing information
356. This clause inserts new section 8A into the Police Act 1996. It places a duty on police authorities to produce a summary of information on local policing matters, specifically for members of the public, as soon as possible after the end of each financial year (31st March).
357. Subsection (3) permits the Secretary of State, by order, to specify matters that must be included in this 'local policing summary'. Examples of the types of material that may be required to be included in the summary are:
358. Subsection (4) requires police authorities to publish and then make appropriate efforts to distribute the 'local policing summary' to all households in its police area.
359. Subsection (5) requires police authorities to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State on the form and content of the local policing summary.
360. Subsection (6) requires the Secretary of State, prior to making an order under Subsection (2) or issuing guidance to consult with appropriate stakeholders - including police authority and chief officer representatives.
Clause 135: Responsibilities in relation to the health and safety etc. of police
361. This clause amends the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 ('the 1974 Act') so that any prosecution of a chief officer of police for an offence under that Act is ordinarily brought against the office of chief constable rather than against the individual incumbent. This would bring the position of a chief officer into line with that of a company who is an employer.
362. Subsection (1) inserts new subsections (2A) to (2F) into section 51A of the 1974 Act (which applies Part 1 of that Act to the police). New section 51A(2A) provides that a chief officer shall be treated as a corporate sole for the purpose of the application of Part 1 of the 1974 Act to the police. Accordingly, any prosecution under the Act would be pursued against the office of chief constable rather than against the office holder for the time being. However, the chief officer for the time being may also be prosecuted in a personal capacity if it can be shown that he personally consented to the commission of an offence or personally connived in its commission, or was personally negligent (new section 51A(2B) and (2C)).
363. New section 51A(2D) and (2E) makes it clear that in relation to contraventions of the 1974 Act, it is the corporation sole who is treated as the employer of officers rather than the chief officer in person who would otherwise be vicariously liable for unlawful conduct of officers under his direction and control. New section 51A(2F) adapts new section 51A(2A) to (2C) to Scotland which does not have the concept of a corporate sole.
364. Subsection (2) repeals provisions in the Police Reform Act 2002 relating to health and safety. These provisions have not been brought into force.
365. Subsection (3) backdates the effects of the amendments to the 1974 Act to 1 July 1998 for the purpose of any legal proceedings commenced on or after the commencement of this clause which, by virtue of clause 154, will be the date the Bill receives Royal Assent. The effect of subsection (4) is that anything done by a chief officer before the commencement of this clause shall be deemed to have been done by him in his capacity as a corporation sole for the purposes of any proceedings under the 1974 Act.
366. Subsection (5) provides that the individual liability conferred by new section 51A(2B) of the 1974 Act does not apply in respect of anything occurring before the passing of the Bill.
Clause 136 and Schedule 11: Investigations: accelerated procedure in special cases
367. Clause 136 introduces Schedule 11 which makes amendments to Schedule 3 of the Police Reform Act 2002 to enable disciplinary proceedings to be brought earlier than currently possible where certain 'special' conditions are met. Those conditions are met where there is good evidence that the police officer has committed a criminal offence that would justify dismissal and the appropriate authority considers that it is in the public interest for the person to cease to be a member of a police force or be a special constable without delay.
368. Currently, the provisions in Schedule 3 to the 2002 Act prevent the bringing of criminal or disciplinary proceedings in relation to any matter which is the subject of an investigation until the investigation has been completed and a report has been submitted to the Independent Police Complaints Commission or to the appropriate authority. Furthermore, they prevent the bringing of disciplinary proceedings until any criminal proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.
369. Where the special conditions are met, the amendments made by this Schedule allow a report to be submitted before the investigation has been completed and for disciplinary proceedings to be brought earlier than would otherwise have been possible. The disciplinary proceedings may also be brought before any related criminal proceedings (the appropriate authority would consult the Director of Public Prosecutions before proceeding in this way). The Director of Public Prosecutions may request that the investigation be continued, notwithstanding the commencement of disciplinary proceedings.
Clause 137 and Schedule 12: Investigations: deaths and serious injuries after contact with the police
370. This clause gives effect to Schedule 12 which amends Part 2 of the Police Reform Act 2002 to bring a new category of cases under the jurisdiction of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The new category, 'deaths and serious injury matters', will cover cases where persons have died or been seriously injured following some form of direct or indirect contact with the police and there is reason to believe that the contact may have caused or contributed to the death or serious injury. They will be cases that do not involve a complaint or a conduct matter when first identified and categorised. Such cases may relate to the direction and control of a police force, which would normally be excluded by section 14 of the Act.
371. Paragraph 12 amends Schedule 3 to the 2002 Act to ensure that this new category of cases is recorded and referred to Independent Police Complaints Commission for a determination regarding investigation under paragraph 15 of Schedule 3. On completion of the investigation, a final report into a death or serious injury matter will be submitted and the Independent Police Complaints Commission may make recommendations or give advice under section 10(1)(e) of the 2002 Act (paragraph 22). Where the investigation reveals a conduct matter (a criminal or disciplinary offence), the matter will immediately be treated as a conduct matter from that point forward under Schedule 3. Thus, disciplinary proceedings may be brought.
Clause 138: Abolition of Royal Parks Constabulary
372. This clause abolishes the RPC and provides that RPC constables' appointments as constables will terminate on an appointed day. This does not affect their employment as Crown servants. It also gives effect to Schedule 13.
Schedule 13: Abolition of Royal Parks Constabulary: Supplementary
373. Part 1 provides for the establishment of eligibility for transfer of park constables to the Metropolitan Police Authority by regulation and a power to terminate Crown employment.
374. Part 1 also provides for the Secretary of State to make schemes to transfer constables, property, rights and liabilities from the RPC to the MPA. The Schedule sets out the provisions which a transfer scheme may include. In particular, it may provide for RPC constables who wish and are eligible to do so, to become attested as MPS constables. Alternatively, the scheme may provide for them to transfer as CSOs or administrative staff, if they are eligible and wish to do so. The scheme may provide for the continuity of employment of transferred constables and for periods of service as a RPC constable to count towards benefits available as an MPS constable which are dependent of length of service.
375. Part 2 makes amendments to primary legislation. Most amendments are consequential on the abolition of the RPC. However, paragraph 11 amends the Police Reform Act 2002 so as to add breaches of park regulations to the list of "relevant offences" in relation to which CSOs have limited powers of detention as set out in paragraph 2 of Schedule 4 to that Act.
Clause 139: Regulation of specified Parks
376. This clause disapplies the Parks Regulation Act 1872 from parks specified by Order by the Secretary of State. In practice this means the Royal Parks. The clause preserves the power of the Secretary of State to make regulations in respect of the specified parks. Subsection (3) re-enacts in updated form the requirement in section 10 of the Parks Regulation Act 1872 in relation to the display of park regulations in the specified Parks.
Clauses 140 to 144: Criminal record checks
377. These clauses make a number of amendments to Part 5 of the Police Act 1997. They improve the effectiveness of the Disclosure service provided by the Criminal Records Bureau's (CRB) (and its counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland) which provides criminal record certificates and enhanced criminal records certificates about convictions and related information in response to applications from persons seeking posts and positions within the scope of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 or in relation to Scotland the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Order 2003).
Clause 140: Criminal record certificates
378. This clause replaces sections 113 and 115 of the Police Act 1997 which deal with criminal record certificates and enhanced criminal record certificates respectively. These new provisions, which will become new sections 113A - 113F consolidate the existing provisions, which have been subject to a number of amendments under earlier legislation, and make some changes to existing arrangements.
379. New section 113A consolidates the provisions for criminal records certificates, and new section 113B for enhanced criminal records certificates. New section 113B also extends the range of police forces and other organisations from whom the CRB (and disclosure bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland) can seek non-conviction information for the purposes of enhanced criminal records certificates to include bodies such as the British Transport Police and Revenue and Customs (new section 113B(11)). This is in response to part of recommendation 31 of the report of the Bichard Inquiry.
380. New section 113C consolidates the provisions for criminal records certificates relating to searches done when the applicant wants to work with children. It also gives the CRB access to additional lists maintained in Scotland and Northern Ireland which are comparable to the lists maintained in England and Wales of people who are unsuitable to work with children, and an order-making power to allow the Secretary of State to add more such lists in the future (subsection 113C(3)). This gives effect to the remainder of recommendation 31 of the Bichard Inquiry report. (Access to lists maintained in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland would be provided for Disclosure Scotland.) The section also brings a child's prospective special guardian and other people living in the same household within the scope of the categories of people in relation to whom criminal or enhanced criminal record certificates can include information in relation to matters specified in section 113C(1).
381. New section 113D consolidates the provisions for criminal records certificates relating to searches done when the applicant wants to work with vulnerable adults. In a similar way to section 113C, it also gives the CRB access to additional lists maintained in Scotland and Northern Ireland comparable to the lists maintained in England and Wales of people who are unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults, and an order-making power to allow the Secretary of State to add more such lists in the future (subsection 113D(3)). Disclosure bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland will also be given access to all specified vulnerable adults' lists.
382. New section 113E sets out the arrangements for the conduct of initial checks against lists of people unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults in exceptional circumstances, so that a person may be permitted to start work in advance of the CRB's certificate being issued. It also allows the CRB to make a charge for this additional service. New section 113F contains supplementary provisions and is part of the consolidation of the previous provisions. It also contains references to relevant legislation from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
383. Subsection (4) of the clause enables the Secretary of State to make transitional arrangements for checks on persons seeking to become children's special guardians if the provisions of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 which establish such guardians are brought into force before this clause.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2004||Prepared: 24 November 2004|