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These notes refer to the Football Spectators and Sports Grounds Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 22nd January 2008 [Bill 59]
FOOTBALL SPECTATORS AND SPORTS GROUNDS BILL
1. These explanatory notes relate to the Football Spectators and Sports Grounds Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 22nd January 2008. They have been prepared by the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, with the consent of Russell Brown, the Member in charge of the Bill, in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate upon it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.
2. The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.
Part 1: Football Spectators
3. Part 1 (clauses 1 to 5) harmonises football banning order legislation across the United Kingdom by recognising orders imposed in England and Wales in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Those banned by English and Welsh courts will no longer be able to attend regulated football matches in Scotland or Northern Ireland in addition to being banned from such matches in England and Wales. The specified police stations that those subject to such orders must attend are determined by the enforcing authority or by the order and may be anywhere in the United Kingdom instead of merely in England and Wales. Offences are created in Scotland and Northern Ireland of failure by a person to comply with any condition or requirement of an order imposed in England and Wales or the related requirements of the enforcing authority, or the police at the time of the initial reporting, similar to the offences in England and Wales. It also becomes an offence in Scotland and Northern Ireland to provide the English and Welsh enforcing authority with false information when seeking exemption from reporting instructions.
Bill 59EN 54/3
4. Part 1 also improves upon recognition of Scottish football banning orders in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It enables the Scottish enforcing authority to issue reporting notices to a person subject to an order imposed in Scotland who is resident in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. It enables a person subject to an order imposed in Scotland to report to a specified police station in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. It establishes an offence in those jurisdictions, with appropriate sentencing provisions, in respect of failure to comply with a requirement imposed by the Scottish order, by the police at the time of the banned individual's initial reporting or by the Scottish enforcing authority. It also establishes an offence in those jurisdictions of providing false information to the enforcing authority in Scotland when seeking exemption from reporting instructions.
Part 2: Sports Grounds Safety Authority
5. Part 2 (Clauses 6-10) seeks to amend the Football Spectators Act 1989 relating to the Football Licensing Authority (FLA). Its purpose is to:
Part 1: Football Spectators
6. The football banning order arrangements in England and Wales were introduced by amendments to the Football Spectators Act 1989 contained in the Football (Disorder) Act 2000.
7. In England and Wales over 6,300 football banning orders have been imposed since 2000 and the number of substantive breaches has been extremely low throughout this period. Only two banning order subjects attempted to breach their orders by attempting to travel to Germany, or a transit country, during the period of the 2006 World Cup. Moreover the orders have helped deter misbehaviour and change the behaviour of individuals whose orders have expired - less than 4% of whom have been assessed by the police as continuing to pose a risk of football violence or disorder.
8. Football related violence and disorder in England and Wales has decreased with arrests for offences of violence down 46% over the past three years. The orders are individually targeted and customised and are based on the premise that the subjects of the orders dislike being denied the freedom to attend matches.
9. The orders are ECHR and EC Treaty compliant. They have been challenged and found to be a proportionate response to the menace of football violence and disorder in that they impact only on the freedom to attend football matches and provide scope for exemption on personal or work grounds.
10. When football banning orders were introduced in England and Wales there was no intention or desire to extend the arrangements to Scotland or Northern Ireland. That changed last year when the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced Scottish football banning orders based on, but not identical to, the English and Welsh model.
11. Although the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 made provision for football banning orders imposed in Scotland to cover all designated matches played throughout the United Kingdom, it was not possible for the Scottish Parliament to legislate to create offences in England, Wales or Northern Ireland if a person were to breach a Scottish football banning order in those areas. Instead, the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2007 (made under section 104 of the Scotland Act 1998) included provisions which make it an offence to breach a Scottish football banning order in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. This Order was passed in March 2007.
12. The Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 did not enable English and Welsh orders to be enforced in Scotland. Those subject to English and Welsh orders are therefore subject to reporting requirements, when appropriate, in relation to regulated Scottish matches (a measure usually reserved for international matches) rather than being automatically banned from attending such domestic matches. Breaches of reporting requirements outside England and Wales by those subject to English and Welsh orders are also not offences that can be prosecuted. The purpose of this Bill is to remove these anomalies and close other enforcement loopholes that either existed before, or have arisen since, the introduction of banning orders in Scotland.
Part 2: Sports Grounds Safety Authority
13. Safety at sports grounds is regulated by a number of different pieces of legislation and the Bill's provisions should be read in that wider context.
14. The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 ("the 1975 Act") applies to all open-air sports grounds with accommodation for spectators. Safety controls are imposed primarily through safety certificates issued by local authorities for sports grounds designated by the Secretary of State. Currently these comprise: those grounds with accommodation for over 10,000 spectators where sports are played (which in practice includes rugby, cricket and other football matches including internationals); and those grounds occupied by FA Premier and Football League clubs with accommodation for over 5,000 spectators.
15. Part 3 of the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 ("the 1987 Act") provides for certification by local authorities of stands which have capacity to accommodate, under cover, at least 500 spectators at sports grounds not designated under the 1975 Act.
16. Local authorities are advised to have regard to the technical advice contained in the Government's Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds, 4th Edition, The Stationery Office, 1997, ISBN 0-11-300095-2, also known as the Green Guide.
17. The FLA was established by the Football Spectators Act 1989 ("the 1989 Act"). It has two specific statutory functions:
18. The FLA also produces guidance materials on spectator safety issues and offers advice on best practice.
19. At present the FLA's role is limited to providing specific advice on spectator and venue safety advice in relation to football stadia only. Other sports are unable to benefit from the FLA's expertise in relation to particular venues or issues. The proposed amendments to the 1989 Act would allow a greater consistency to the application of sports safety advice for sports other than football. This advice would be generally given on request and not as part of a wider regulatory remit.
20. The proposed changes will not extend to the FLA's licensing functions or its local authority oversight duties under the 1989 Act to cover sports grounds for sports other than football.
21. This part of the Bill therefore:
COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES
Part 1: Football Spectators
Clause 1: Prohibiting attendance at matches in Scotland and Northern Ireland
22. Subsection (1) extends the definitions of "banning order", "external tournament" and "control period", so that those subject to English and Welsh orders will be banned from attending regulated football matches in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Reporting requirements, and related provisions, will only apply to "regulated matches" involving Scottish and Northern Irish teams when they are played outside the UK.
23. A "regulated match" means any association football match prescribed by an order made by the Secretary of State in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by sections 14(2) and 18(1) and (2) of the Football Spectators Act 1989. When a court in England or Wales imposes a football banning order the subject is prevented from attending any regulated match in England and Wales, and from attending any regulated match outside England and Wales when given notice in writing by the English and Welsh enforcing authority under section 19(2B) of the 1989 Act. Prior to commencement of Part 1 of the Bill the statutory instrument prescribing regulated matches would be amended to reflect the effect of clause 1.
Clause 2: Requirements to report at police stations
24. This clause provides that when an individual is directed to report to police by the court or by the enforcing authority the specified police station may be anywhere in the UK, and thus local to the individual's place of residence.
25. Subsection (1) provides that the police stations specified under any of the provisions listed in subsection (2) may be anywhere in the United Kingdom. The provisions are:
Clause 3: Enforcement of 1989 Act in Scotland and Northern Ireland
26. Subsection (1) provides that the following offences under the Football Spectators Act 1989 extend to Scotland and to Northern Ireland:
27. Subsection (2) provides a defence in Scotland of reasonable excuse for failing to comply with a requirement of a banning order or notice issued by the English and Welsh enforcing authority. The Football Spectators Act 1989 does not provide a statutory defence in England and Wales for failing to comply with a requirement of a banning order or notice issued by the English and Welsh enforcing authority. However section 68(2) of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 provides a defence in Scotland of reasonable excuse for failing to comply with a requirement of a banning order or notice issued by the Scottish enforcing authority. For consistency in the treatment of breaches of banning order requirements within Scotland a statutory defence is provided.
28. Subsections (3), (4) and (5) set out the maximum penalties for the offences described in subsection (1).
Clause 4: Enforcement of 2006 Act in England and Wales and Northern Ireland
29. This clause extends to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with appropriate sentencing provisions, the offences of failing to comply with the requirements of a Scottish banning order or a notice issued by the Scottish Football Banning Orders Authority or the offence of giving false information in connection with an application for an exemption.
30. Subsection (2) increases the maximum custodial penalty available for failing to comply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with a requirement imposed by a Scottish banning order, or a notice pursuant to one, from three months (the penalty provided by the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2007) to six months (the maximum available in Scotland). Subsections (3) - (4) set out the sentencing provisions for other offences under the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 as they apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
31. Subsection (5) revokes Articles 1(5) and 5 of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2007 which created offences in England and Wales and Northern Ireland of breaching Scottish banning orders.
Clause 5: Relevant offences for the purposes of Part 2 of the 1989 Act
32. This clause adds to the list of relevant offences convicted in England and Wales:
33. The offences listed in Schedule 1 to the 1989 Act are offences in relation to which English and Welsh courts may seek football banning orders (or the extension of existing banning orders) on conviction.
Part 2: Safety at Sports Grounds
Clause 6: Football Licensing Authority to become Sports Grounds Safety Authority
34. Clause 6 provides for the continuation of the FLA, created by the 1989 Act, but under the new name of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. Its board will continue to be appointed by the Secretary of State and will consist of a chairman and four to eight other members. Detailed provisions about the constitution of the Safety Authority are set out in Schedule 1. Schedule 2 makes amendments which are consequential upon the renaming of the FLA.
Clauses 7-10: Advisory functions of the Safety Authority
35. These clauses give the Safety Authority the power to provide advice about safety at sports grounds to certain persons or bodies seeking it, including Ministers of the Crown (Clause 7), local authorities (Clause 8) and, subject to certain conditions, foreign governments and international bodies (Clause 9). Currently the FLA has no power to do this. Clause 7 also enables any Minister of the Crown to require the Safety Authority to provide specific advice in relation to the exercise of that Minister's functions under the 1975 Act, Part 3 of the 1987 Act and the 1989 Act.
36. Clause 10 provides that the Safety Authority may, with the consent of the Secretary of State, charge a fee in respect of advice given under Clause 8 and 9. This fee must not exceed the cost of providing the advice.
FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL
37. Part 1 seeks to harmonise football banning order legislation across the UK without any corresponding increase to its financial allocations. Accordingly, Part 1 of the Bill will not entail any net additional public expenditure.
38. Part 2 seeks to extend the advisory remit of the FLA without any corresponding increase to its financial allocations. Accordingly, Part 2 of the Bill will not entail any net additional public expenditure. The Safety Authority will be given discretion to charge for its advice in the circumstances described in the Bill. A money resolution has been prepared.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SERVICE MANPOWER
39. Part 1 seeks to empower the police throughout the UK to arrest and prosecute individuals who breach their orders irrespective of the jurisdiction in which the order is imposed or breached, and to empower the England and Wales and Scottish enforcing authorities to manage orders more effectively and proportionately through requiring banning order subjects to report to a designated police station in other parts of the UK. These additional powers could help reduce costs and manpower for police and the enforcing authorities by the prevention of football-related crime and by ending the potential need to obtain a banning order in more than one UK jurisdiction against an individual.
40. Part 2 seeks only to extend the advisory remit of the FLA and will not entail any changes to the FLA's current manpower allocation. These additional functions could help reduce costs and manpower for some local authorities and bodies by reason of it gaining access to a wider range of advice from the new Safety Authority.
41. The purpose of Part 1 of the Bill is harmonisation of banning order arrangements throughout the UK. Consequently its provisions extend variously to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
42. The provisions of the Bill extend to Scotland the following reserved matters:
43. The Bill also extends the effect of orders imposed in Scotland, so that reporting and passport surrender requirements may have effect throughout the UK, not just in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament's consent is being sought for the provisions in the Bill that trigger the Sewel Convention. The Sewel Convention provides that Westminster will not normally legislate with regard to devolved matters in Scotland without the consent of the Scottish Parliament. If there are amendments relating to such matters which trigger the Convention, the consent of the Scottish Parliament will be sought for them.
44. The provisions of Part 1 of the Bill extending to Northern Ireland are "reserved" (under the Northern Ireland Act 1998) and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is content. The Northern Ireland administration has been consulted. The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure in the Northern Ireland Executive is supportive of extending the scope of orders imposed in England and Wales to prohibit attendance at matches played in Northern Ireland when designated by statutory instrument, and making the conditions of such orders enforceable by police in Northern Ireland through creating offences in Northern Ireland law of breach in Northern Ireland of an order imposed in England and Wales (and related offences) as offences already exist in relation to breaches in Northern Ireland of Scottish imposed orders (and related offences).
45. Part 2 and Schedule 1 (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) extend to England and Wales only.
46. Bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be able to access the expertise of the new Sports Grounds Safety Authority on request. Approval of these arrangements has been obtained from the Scottish Executive and the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Northern Ireland.
SUMMARY OF REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
47. Part 1 proposals do not create any additional regulation or create any new burdens on business, charities or the voluntary sector and therefore are not regarded as coming within the remit of the Local Regulatory Office process.
48. Part 2 proposals do not create any additional regulation on the part of the FLA or create any new burdens on business, charities or the voluntary sector and therefore are not regarded as coming within the remit of the Local Regulatory Office process.
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
49. Part 1: The ECHR compatibility of football banning orders has already been approved by the courts and the leading case remains Gough v Chief Constable of Derbyshire [2001 EWHC Admin 554]. These clauses do little more than harmonise across the UK the effect and enforceability of these English, Welsh and Scottish orders in relation to domestic regulated football matches. Indeed, the Scottish legislation already bans attendance at matches across the UK and is supported by offence provisions in the relevant jurisdictions; these clauses put the English and Welsh legislation on the same footing.
50. These preventative orders generally engage subjects' article 8 rights by preventing them from attending regulated football matches and requiring them to report in relation to foreign matches. As a result of the clauses those subject to English and Welsh orders will be banned from attending Scottish regulated matches and will not be required merely to comply with reporting requirements, at the discretion of the enforcing authority, in relation to such matches. Those subject to English, Welsh or Scottish banning orders but resident in another part of the UK from the jurisdiction in which the order was made might also find themselves more likely to have to comply with reporting requirements in respect of foreign matches. This is because the reporting requirements will be enforceable across the UK and thus more likely to be imposed.
51. Any increased interference to the individual is justified in the interests of the prevention of crime and disorder under article 8(2). Banning orders are only available when someone is convicted of a football related offence or has contributed to violence and disorder, and where the court finds that the order would help prevent football related violence or disorder. The court, police and enforcing authority are all bound to act compatibly with ECHR in imposing requirements. In fact, these clauses are considered to be proportionate in that it will be possible for courts and enforcing authorities to specify that those subject to these orders can report to police stations anywhere in the UK instead of just in the jurisdiction where the order was made. A Scottish resident subject to English and Welsh order might only have to report to a local police station to comply with the law rather than one in England or Wales.
52. Part 2 does not give rise to any ECHR issues.
53. Parts 1 and 2 and the Schedules will come into force on the date specified by the Secretary of State in the statutory instrument.
54. Before making such an order relating to clauses 2 or 3 the Secretary of State must consult the Scottish Ministers.
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