|Police And Justice Bill - continued||House of Commons|
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Paragraph 34: Accounts
55. This paragraph imposes duties on the Agency governing the keeping of proper accounts and records in relation to those accounts, the preparation of a statement of those accounts for each financial year, and the sending of copies of that statement to the Secretary of State and the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Comptroller and Auditor General is required to examine, certify and report on the Agency's statement of accounts. The report is laid before Parliament.
Paragraphs 36 to 40: Property rights and liabilities
56. These paragraphs allow for a scheme to provide for the transfer to the Agency or the Secretary of State of property, rights, and liabilities of the Central Police Training Development Authority, the Police Information Technology Organisation and the Secretary of State.
Paragraph 41: Effect of transfer of employees
57. This paragraph applies if a scheme under paragraph 36 provides for the transfer of rights and liabilities under a contract of employment and provides for the transfer of existing contracts of employment to the Agency subject to the right of staff to object to the transfer.
Paragraph 42: Staff on secondment
58. This paragraph allows for a scheme to make provision for a secondment to the Central Police Training and Development Authority or the Police Information Technology Organisation to continue for the remainder of its duration as a secondment to the Agency, subject to the right of a secondee to object.
Paragraph 43: Deciding matters under a scheme
59. This paragraph allows the Secretary of State, or any person he nominates, to adjudicate on any matters requiring decision under a scheme, and receive for a nominated person payment for any associated fees and expenses.
Paragraph 44: Supplementary provision
60. This paragraph provides for schemes made under the Schedule to contain supplementary, incidental, transitional, or consequential provision.
Paragraph 45: Interpretation
61. Paragraph 45 sets out definitions used in the Schedule.
Paragraph 46: Power to modify objects, functions and structure of the Agency
62. This paragraph provides an enabling power which will allow amendment, by affirmative procedure secondary legislation, to enable changes in the objects, functions, name, structure, accountability and management practices of the Agency.
Paragraphs 47 to 74: Consequential amendments
63. These paragraphs make consequential amendments to other legislation in consequence of the creation of the Agency and the abolition of the Central Police Training and Development Authority and the Police Information Technology Organisation.
Clause 2 and Schedule 2: Amendments to the Police Act 1996
64. This clause gives effect to Schedule 2.
Paragraphs 1 and 2: Basic Command Units
65. Paragraphs 1 and 2 amend the Police Act 1996 by inserting a new section 1A and Schedule 1A which place Basic Command Units (BCUs) on a statutory footing. Police force areas are divided into two or more BCUs (sometimes known as 'Divisions' or 'Operational Command Units') for operational purposes. BCUs are headed by a BCU Commander, typically holding the rank of Chief Superintendent or Superintendent. There are some 225 BCUs in England and Wales.
66. Paragraph 1 inserts new section 1A into the 1996 Act. This provides that every police force area must be divided into two or more BCUs (there is no requirement on forces to use the term 'Basic Command Unit' to describe these operational units).
67. Paragraph 2 inserts new Schedule 1A into the 1996 Act. Paragraph 1 of new Schedule 1A provides that, except where the Secretary of State consents, BCUs must be co-terminous with local authority boundaries. BCU and local authority areas are not required to match each other on a one to one basis: it will be permissible either for two or more local authority areas together to form one BCU area (as is often the case in many two-tier shire counties) or for a number of BCUs, taken together, to match one local authority area (as is sometimes the case with large metropolitan local authorities). It is for the chief constable of a force to determine the number and area covered by each BCU (paragraph 1(2) of new Schedule 1A), but he must consult the police authority, local authorities, and the constituent members of the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships in the police area and of the Local Criminal Justice Board before doing so (paragraph 2(1) of new Schedule 1A).
Paragraphs 3 to 8: Membership etc of police authorities
68. Paragraphs 3 to 5 makes new provision for the membership of police authorities. Under the Police Act 1996 (section 4 and Schedules 2 and 3) most police authorities outside London (section 5C of and Schedules 2A and 3 to the 1996 Act makes separate provision for the membership of the Metropolitan Police Authority) consist of 17 members comprising 9 councillors, 3 magistrates and 5 independent members. The Act makes detailed provision for the selection and appointment of police authority members.
69. Paragraph 3 amends the 1996 Act so as to provide that the detailed provisions for the composition of police authorities, the selection and appointment of members, the appointment of a chairman and vice-chairman and the remuneration of members are set down in regulations rather than, as now, on the face of the Act. It substitutes a new section 4 into the 1996 Act which contains the regulation-making power in respect of police authorities outside London, while Paragraph 5 substitutes a new section 5C which makes parallel provision for the Metropolitan Police Authority. The regulations in both cases are subject to the negative resolution procedure. The regulation-making powers include a requirement that the majority of members of a police authority must be local authority councillors (or, in the case of the Metropolitan Police Authority, in addition members of the London Assembly or the Mayor of London). In accordance with the proposals in the White Paper 'Building Communities, Beating Crime' (paragraph 5.105), the regulation-making powers make no provision for a separate category of magistrate members on police authorities.
70. Paragraphs 6 to 8 make minor consequential amendments to the Police Act 1996 as a consequence of the changes made to the 1996 Act by paragraphs 3-5 above.
Paragraphs 9 and 10: Functions of police authorities
71. Paragraph 9 adds to the general functions of a police authority set out in section 6 of the Police Act 1996. Under section 6(1), a police authority's primary function is to 'secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force for its area'. New subsection (1)(b), inserted by paragraph 9(2), provides that it shall also be a duty of a police authority to hold the chief officer of the force to account for the exercise of his functions and those of the police officers and police staff under his direction and control. A similar duty is already placed on the Northern Ireland Policing Board in relation to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (see section 3(3)(a) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000).
72. Paragraph 10 inserts new section 6ZA into the 1996 Act. This new section confers a power on the Secretary of State to confer additional functions on police authorities by order (subject to the negative resolution procedure). Paragraph 5.110 of the White Paper 'Building Communities, Beating Crime' set out proposed additional functions for police authorities. Such functions may include, but are not limited to, a requirement:
73. The Secretary of State must consult with persons representing the interests of police authorities and chief officers (currently the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers respectively) before making any order under new section 6ZA.
Paragraphs 11 to 15: Police authorities: objectives, plans and reports
74. Paragraph 11 inserts a new section 6ZB into the Police Act 1996. This new section confers an order-making power (subject to the negative resolution procedure) on the Secretary of State to require police authorities to determine objectives, and to issue plans and reports, concerning the policing of their areas. The order-making power replaces existing provisions in the 1996 Act which require police authorities to prepare a three-year strategy plan (section 6A); set local policing objectives (section 7); issue a local policing plan (section 8); and issue an annual report (section 9). The Secretary of State must consult with persons representing the interests of police authorities and chief officers (currently the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers respectively) before making any order under new section 6ZB.
Paragraphs 16 and 17: Civilian employees of police authorities
75. Section 15 of the Police Act 1996 enables police authorities to employ people to assist their police force or to enable the authority to discharge its functions. People so employed are under the direction and control of the chief officer of the force concerned except where the chief officer and the police authority agree otherwise or, in the absence of such an agreement, the Secretary of State determines that a person employed by the authority need not be under the direction and control of the chief officer. Paragraph 16 amends section 15 to provide that only those persons who are employed by the police authority solely to assist its police force must be under the direction and control of the chief officer of that force; persons who are employed by the police authority to enable it to discharge its functions need not be.
76. Section 24 of the Police Act 1996 enables the chief officer of any police force
Paragraphs 18 to 20: Jurisdiction of special constables
77. Paragraph 18 - the provision amends section 30 of the Police Act 1996 by inserting a new subsection (2) allowing special constables to use their constabulary powers in forces throughout England and Wales. At the moment they have the powers and privileges of a constable only in the force area for which they are appointed and any other contiguous police area. Subsections (3) and (4) of section 30 are therefore redundant and are omitted.
78. These amendments will bring special constables in line with regular officers. The effects of lifting the restriction include specials being able to carry out prisoner escorts when prisoners are being collected from other forces and allowing specials to make an off-duty arrest in another force area.
79. Paragraph 19 - This provision amends section 24 of the Police Act 1996, which allows a chief officer to provide constables or other assistance to another police force to meet special demands on its resources. Section 24(3) provides that while a constable is provided to another force under these mutual aid arrangements then he is under the direction and control of the chief officer of that other force. The amendment to section 24(3) clarifies that this is also the position if the constable is provided from the metropolitan police force.
80. Paragraph 20 - The provision amends section 27(2) of the Police Act 1996 and has the effect of clarifying that there is an exception to the general position whereby special constables appointed for a police area are under the direction and control of the chief officer of the force for that area. The exception is if special constables are provided to another force under the mutual aid arrangements in section 24, in which case the specials will for that time be under the direction and control of the chief officer of that other force.
81. The amendment also has the effect of clarifying that the reference to a constable in section 24(3) includes a reference to a special constable.
Paragraphs 21 to 23: Secretary of State's strategic functions in relation to police authorities
82. Paragraph 21 repeals Sections 36A (under which the Secretary of State is under a duty to issue an annual National Policing Plan) and 37 (under which he may determine objectives for police authorities by order) of the 1996 Act.
83. Paragraph 22 inserts a new section 37A into the Act. New subsection (1) gives the Secretary of State the power to determine the strategic priorities for police authorities. New subsection (2) sets out that the APA and ACPO must be consulted before the Secretary of State can determine the strategic priorities. New subsection (3) makes provision for the Secretary of State to publish the priorities in an appropriate manner. Subsection (4) provides that the strategic priorities will apply to
the police authorities established by section 3 of the 1996 Act and the Metropolitan Police Authority.
84. Paragraph 23 makes consequential amendments to section 38 of the 1996 Act, under which the Secretary of State may direct police authorities to establish levels of performance in relation to the strategic priorities set under the new section 37A.
Paragraphs 24 to 26: Power to give directions to police authority or chief officer of police
85. Paragraphs 24 to 26 of Schedule 2 insert new sections 40A and 40B into the Police Act 1996, replacing the intervention powers in sections 40, 40A and 40B which were introduced by the Police Reform Act 2002 and which made provision for the making of directions where the whole or any part of a police force is considered to be under-performing or at risk of under-performing. They also bring under-performance by police authorities within the scope of these powers. The amended powers widen the sources of information which the Secretary of State can draw upon in deciding whether to exercise these powers.
New section 40 of the Police Act 1996: Power to give directions in relation to police forces
86. Subsections (1) and (2) of new section 40 provide that the Secretary of State may direct the chief officer of the force, the police authority responsible for maintaining the force, or both of them to take specified measures for the purpose of remedying a failure of that police force to discharge any of its functions in an effective manner or for the purpose of preventing such a failure occurring where the Secretary of State is satisfied that the force will fail without remedial measures.
87. This amendment widens the sources of information which the Secretary of State can draw upon in deciding whether to exercise these powers. Previously, the only source of information which could be considered was a report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. The new threshold for these powers is one where the Secretary of State is satisfied that the whole force or a part of a force is failing or will fail to discharge any of its functions in an effective manner, whether generally or in a particular respect. The Secretary of State may still call upon the advice of the new Chief Inspector of Justice, Community Safety and Custody but other wider sources of information could include the findings of a public inquiry, or the national performance assessments of police forces which are now produced.
88. Subsection (3) of new section 40 provides that the Secretary of State may, when directing specified measures under subsection (1) or (2), specify the submission to him of an action plan setting out the measures to be taken to remedy the failure or to prevent the failure (as the case may be). This short clause replaces the longer and more protracted existing sections 41A and 41B of the Police Act 1996 which are repealed by paragraph 26 of Schedule 2 to this Bill. Experience since the 2002 Act has shown that in most cases where serious underperformance has arisen, there have been opportunities for improvements, and non-statutory plans intended to address underperformance have already been drawn up. However, this measure could be specified as part of the direction if no action plan had existed.
89. Subsection 4(a) to (d) of new section 40 is intended to ensure that the power to give directions is only used as a last resort. A duty is placed on the Secretary of State to put to the chief officer and police authority the evidence that the force or part of the force is failing, and afford them the opportunity to make representations and any such proposals for the taking of remedial measures that would make the giving of the direction unnecessary. The Secretary of State will be under a duty to consider any such representations and any such proposals.
90. Subsection (5) of new section 40 provides that if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the police authority and chief officer of police had already been made aware of the matters which give rise to the need for a direction to be given, had sufficient information to identify the remedial measures to address this without the need for a direction, and had a reasonable opportunity to take such measures, then the obligation on the Secretary of State to give the police authority and chief officer further opportunities to deal with the issues at hand and to make representations on them (i.e. subsection 4 (a) - (d)) shall not apply).
91. Subsection (6) of new section 40 provides that, where a police authority of a force requests the Secretary of State to make a direction under section 40 to the chief officer of police of the police force for which that authority is responsible and the Secretary of State refuses to do so, the Secretary of State must give reasons to the police authority for his decision.
92. Subsection (7) of new section 40 requires that a chief officer of police or police authority that is given a direction under that section shall comply with it.
93. Subsection (8) of new section 40 prevents the Secretary of State from requiring a police force to do anything in a particular case or in relation to a particular person. This reinforces the operational independence of chief officers.
New section 40A of the Police Act 1996: Power to give directions in relation to police authority
94. New section 40A of the Police Act 1996 is in similar terms to new section 40.
95. Subsections (1) and (2) of new section 40A provide the same intervention trigger as that for directions in relation to police forces. Where the Secretary of State is satisfied that a police authority is failing to discharge any of its functions effectively, whether generally or in particular respects, or where he is of the view that a police authority will so fail unless remedial measures are taken, he may direct the police authority to take specified measures to remedy that failure or to prevent that failure, as the case may be.
96. Subsection (3) provides that directions to police authorities may specify the submission to the Secretary of State of an action plan setting out the measures which are intended to remedy the failure in question or (as the case may be) prevent such a failure occurring.
97. Subsections (4) and (5) of new section 40A provide the same opportunity for police authorities to be given the relevant information and make representations and remedial measures as are set out for police forces in new section 40(4) and (5).
98. Subsection (6) of new section 40A requires that a police authority that is given a direction under this section shall comply with it.
99. Subsection (7) of new section 40A confirms that the Secretary of State may exercise his powers in both new section 40 and new section 40A in respect of the same or different matters at the same time or at different times.
New Section 40B of the 1996 Act: Procedure for directions under section 40 or 40A
100. New section 40B reproduces much of existing section 41B of the Police Act 1996, which is repealed by paragraph 26 of Schedule 2. It provides the Secretary of State with a power to make further provision in regulations as to the procedure to be followed where a proposal is made for the giving of a direction under new section 40A or 40B in relation to a police force or police authority.
101. Subsection (2) of new section 40B provides that before making any regulations, the Secretary of State shall consult with persons whom he considers to represent the interests of police authorities, the chief officers of police and any such other persons as he thinks fit. Such regulations may make different provision for different cases and circumstances (subsection (3) of new section 40B). Regulations made under this section are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure (subsection (4) of new section 40B).
102. Subsections (5) and (6) of new section 40B require the Secretary of State to notify a chief officer of police of a direction issued to the police authority which has responsibility for his force and to notify a police authority of a direction issued to a police force for which it has responsibility.
103. Subsections (7) and (8) of new section 40B provide that the Secretary of State must lay a copy of the direction, in relation to a force or police authority, and a report about it before Parliament. The report shall be prepared at an appropriate time and may relate to more than one direction.
104. Paragraph 25 amends section 41 of the Police Act 1996 to ensure that the power the Secretary of State has under that section to include in a direction to a police authority that its budget requirement for any financial year is not to be less than a
specified amount covers a direction under new section 40A as well as under new section 40.
105. The powers to give directions in relation to police forces and police authorities are dealt with separately in the legislation. The sections relating to them both are broadly the same, except that for powers in respect of the force can be directed to the chief officer, police authority or both whilst the powers in respect of the authority are directed to the police authority alone.
Paragraph 27: Arrangements for obtaining the views of the community on policing
106. Paragraph 27 substitutes a new section 96 in the Police Act 1996 for the existing one. This new section confers an order-making power (subject to the negative resolution procedure) on the Secretary of State to require police authorities to make arrangements for obtaining the views of people in the police force area about the policing of that area, and for obtaining their cooperation in the prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour. Such requirements currently appear on the face of section 96 of the 1996 Act. The Secretary of State must consult with persons representing the interests of police authorities and chief officers (currently the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers respectively) before making any order under new section 96.
Clause 3: Police authorities as best value authorities
107. Clause 3 amends section 1 of the Local Government Act 1999 to limit the extent to which the best value provisions of that Act apply to police authorities.
108. Subsection (1) provides that a police authority is not a best value authority for the purpose of certain provisions in Part 1 of that Act. Those provisions are;
109. The other best value provisions in the 1999 Act will continue to apply to police authorities.
110. Subsection (2) clarifies that references in other Acts to best value authorities will, if the context allows, continue to include police authorities.
Clause 4: Standard powers and duties of community support officers
111. This Clause amends the Police Reform Act 2002 ("the 2002 Act") in relation to the powers that can be conferred on community support officers ("CSOs"). Subsection (1) inserts new subsection (5A) into section 38 of the 2002 Act so that a person designated as a CSO automatically has a set of standard powers and duties in addition to any additional powers conferred on him through a designation by his Chief Officer under section 38.
112. Subsection (2) inserts new section 38A into the 2002 Act which enables the Secretary of State to confer by order a set of standard powers, on all CSOs. Only a power that is set out in Schedule 4 to that Act as being exercisable by CSOs can be conferred as a standard power.
113. New section 38A(3) sets out the consultation requirements which apply before the Secretary of State may make an order. New section 38A(4) requires that the list of powers that the Secretary of State intends to standardise be approved by affirmative resolution in Parliament.
114. New section 38A(5) provides that CSOs may have powers conferred on them concurrently through an order under section 38A and through a designation by their Chief Officer. This would allow CSOs to continue to rely on their designation if the standard powers order was varied or revoked, and vice versa. New section 38A(6) places a duty on the Chief Officer to ensure that if any additional powers or duties are imposed on CSOs under his control, he must ensure they receive adequate training in the exercise of those powers.
115. The proposed list of standard powers is listed at Annex A of these notes.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2006||Prepared: 25 January 2006|