Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill


The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairs: Jim Dobbin  , Sir Roger Gale 

Barclay, Stephen (North East Cambridgeshire) (Con) 

Browne, Mr Jeremy (Minister of State, Home Department)  

Champion, Sarah (Rotherham) (Lab) 

Cooper, Rosie (West Lancashire) (Lab) 

Crouch, Tracey (Chatham and Aylesford) (Con) 

Danczuk, Simon (Rochdale) (Lab) 

De Piero, Gloria (Ashfield) (Lab) 

Fuller, Richard (Bedford) (Con) 

Green, Damian (Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice)  

Hanson, Mr David (Delyn) (Lab) 

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma (South Shields) (Lab) 

Maynard, Paul (Blackpool North and Cleveleys) (Con) 

Mosley, Stephen (City of Chester) (Con) 

Paisley, Ian (North Antrim) (DUP) 

Phillips, Stephen (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con) 

Phillipson, Bridget (Houghton and Sunderland South) (Lab) 

Rutley, David (Macclesfield) (Con) 

Skidmore, Chris (Kingswood) (Con) 

Syms, Mr Robert (Poole) (Con) 

Wilson, Phil (Sedgefield) (Lab) 

Wright, Simon (Norwich South) (LD) 

Steven Mark and Georgina Holmes-Skelton, Committee Clerk s

† attended the Committee

Column number: 483 

Public Bill Committee 

Tuesday 16 July 2013

[Jim Dobbin in the Chair] 

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

8.55 am 

The Chair:  Before we formally begin the proceedings today, I point out to members of the Committee that there is a problem with one of the doors, so will they please avoid using it for the time being? We are trying to get something done about it. 

Today is the final day of consideration of the Bill in Committee. We shall be considering new clauses and schedules, some of which have already been debated and can now be subject to a separate decision by members of the Committee. As I understand it, the only new clauses that have already been debated and for which a request for a separate Division has been made are new clauses 4, 5 and 6. If that is not the case, please let me or the Clerk know. 

New Clause 9 

Appointment of chief officers of police 

‘(1) Paragraph 2 of Schedule 8 to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 (appointment of chief constables) is amended as follows.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1)(a), for “is, or has been, a constable in any part of the United Kingdom” there is substituted “is eligible for appointment”.

(3) After sub-paragraph (1) there is inserted—

“(1A) A person is eligible for appointment if the person is or has been—

(a) a constable in any part of the United Kingdom, or

(b) a police officer in an approved overseas police force, of at least the approved rank.

(1B) An “approved overseas police force” is a police force which—

(a) is in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom designated by the College of Policing, and

(b) is designated in relation to that country or territory by the College of Policing.

(1C) The “approved rank” for an approved overseas police force is the rank which is designated as the approved rank for that police force by the College of Policing.

(1D) The College of Policing must make designations under sub-paragraphs (1B) and (1C), but must not do so without the approval of the Secretary of State.”

(4) Section 42 of that Act (appointment of Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis) is amended as follows.

(5) In subsection (3), for “is, or has been, a constable in any part of the United Kingdom” there is substituted “is eligible for appointment”.

(6) After subsection (3) there is inserted—

“(3A) A person is eligible for appointment if the person is or has been—

(a) a constable in any part of the United Kingdom, or

(b) a police officer in an approved overseas police force, of at least the approved rank.

Column number: 484 

(3B) An “approved overseas police force” is a police force which—

(a) is in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom designated by the College of Policing, and

(b) is designated in relation to that country or territory by the College of Policing.

(3C) The “approved rank” for an approved overseas police force is the rank which is designated as the approved rank for that police force by the College of Policing.

(3D) The College of Policing must make designations under subsections (3B) and (3C), but must not do so without the approval of the Secretary of State.”’.—( Damian Green .)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green):  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

Choosing our police leaders is of the highest importance to the future of policing. A career in policing should be a vocation that is attractive to the brightest and best in our society. For too long, a police career that required no academic qualifications has not been viewed in the same way as other professions, such as law, medicine, finance and industry. We are therefore reforming the way in which talented people can join the police. While we will always value those who join the police as constables and work their way up the ranks, we must also ensure that new talent can be brought in at different ranks. Having people in the police with different backgrounds and who have come to the police in different ways will bring fresh thinking and encourage an open culture where challenging the status quo is welcome. 

Mr David Hanson (Delyn) (Lab):  The Minister will know that there was a consultation on the issue, which closed on 28 March. Before we discuss the new clause, will he say whether the consultation response has been published? 

Damian Green:  Our plan is to publish the consultation response in September. As the right hon. Gentleman will know, as he follows such affairs with tremendous assiduity and in detail, the consultation was on how the measure will be implemented, not whether it will be implemented. 

Mr Hanson:  If the consultation was on how the provision should be implemented, how are the Opposition supposed to scrutinise its implementation when we have not yet seen the response to the consultation, which I know has not yet been published, and which the Minister has said will not be published until September, by which time, we will have considered the new clause? 

Damian Green:  We will certainly consider the general clause that will implement what was recommended in the Tomlinson report, although not the detail. I remind the right hon. Gentleman that there are further stages of consideration of the Bill both in this House and in another place. In the extremely unlikely event that the response to the consultation inspires the right hon. Gentleman or others to table further amendments, they will have ample opportunity to do so. 

The Government are committed, as we have been throughout the process, to introducing three schemes to attract the brightest and the best to the police. We have consulted on how we can best implement a fast track to inspector programme for those who have the potential

Column number: 485 
to develop into future leaders; direct entry at superintendent rank for those who have proven success in other fields and direct entry at the level of chief constable for those who have relevant policing experience from overseas. 

Allowing those without policing experience to become chief constables would not be right. As the most senior officer in a police force, a chief constable has the operational responsibility and accountability for the force and will need to exercise clear command and control. However, allowing police and crime commissioners to choose chief constables not only from the senior ranks in the United Kingdom, but from other countries with a similar legal framework and policing model to ours, will mean that they can choose the very best person for the job. In most cases, that will be someone who is a serving police officer in the UK, but when there is someone else, who is or has been a police leader overseas and who has an exceptional record of achievement, I want PCCs to have the ability to appoint them. I also want the same freedom to be available to the Home Secretary when making a recommendation to Her Majesty for the appointment of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. 

Safeguards will be in place. Clearly, not all countries police in the way that we do, and we would not want people to be appointed from countries where, for example, there is not a tradition of policing by consent. That is why the College of Policing will make designations about the countries, police forces and ranks that will be suitable to take up the post of chief constable or Metropolitan Police Commissioner; and that will be approved by the Home Secretary.

Combined with the strong leaders already working in forces, and the improved nurturing of internal talent through the College of Policing, we will have a police force that is even better at fighting crime. 

Mr Hanson:  I may start today in a sour mood. I apologise for that, but it is the nature of the business we are in. The Minister has just confirmed that he has tabled a new clause—new clause 9—midway through the passage of the Bill. He has today answered a question for me—I searched for many hours last night and this morning: the responses to his consultation, which closed on 28 March, on the principles behind the new clause, have not yet been published, and will not be until the end of September. 

Far be it from me to be sour about such things, but it strikes me that it might help members of the Committee to be informed about the content and implications of the new clause if there were an opportunity for us to reflect here on the comments that have been made about its details. I do not know who responded, what they said, whether they agree on the issues—that is why we have not tabled any amendments—or whether people feel concerned about aspects of the new clause. However, the Minister expects us today to come along and say, “Of course we can adopt new clause 9.” 

I may, as it happens, have no problems with new clause 9, but the key point is that the Bill Committee is supposed to scrutinise legislation, and the Minister has told us, “We have had a consultation; it closed on 28 March and I will let you know the outcome in September, by which time the clause will be in the Bill, and potentially subject to further amendment downstream.” That is not the way to legislate. It is an insult to every member of

Column number: 486 
the Committee and to the people who took the time and trouble to respond to the consultation. It is not good enough—so I am a bit sour. 

I shall try to sweeten my sourness by asking the Minister some questions. I managed to print a copy of the consultation, which had two questions on the issue. Question 30 stated: 

“The review suggested that training for chief constables from overseas should be tailored to meet the needs of the individual but should include several broad areas of knowledge and expertise” 

and asked respondents whether they would strongly agree, tend to agree, tend to disagree or strongly disagree, or whether they were not sure. That is a detailed consultation question if ever there was one. 

The next question stated: 

“The review also suggested that a newly appointed chief constable should be offered contact with a chief constable as a trusted advisor during their initial first few weeks” 

and gave the options “strongly agree”, “tend to agree”, “tend to disagree”, “strongly disagree”, “not sure” and “other”. 

The consultation is not particularly detailed, because the Minister has made up his mind that he wants to open chief constable posts to whoever wants to apply. New clause 9(3) would insert a new sub-paragraph (1A) into paragraph 2 of Schedule 8 to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011: 

“A person is eligible for appointment if the person is or has been— 

(a) a constable in any part of the United Kingdom”— 

which is as things are now—or 

“(b) a police officer in an approved overseas police force, of at least the approved rank.” 

The new clause would also provide that the approved rank and the approved police force would be decided by the College of Policing; so not even today are the underlying regulations available in detail. 

To date, has any work been done and made public by the College of Policing or its chief executive, Chief Constable Alex Marshall, detailing what an approved rank would be, and the training and other requirements for someone from overseas to become part of a British police force at chief constable rank? Also, or alternatively, has any detailed work been done yet that is public or publishable, about which countries’ or territories’ police forces could be approved overseas police forces? 

Given the absence of a consultation response, we have a new clause which says that someone who is approved by the College of Policing in terms of their skills and is from an approved overseas police force could apply to be the chief constable of the Met, Durham, Lincolnshire, Kent or North Wales. Yet there is no detail behind that about what the actual criteria for training requirements are.

It might be possible for the Minister to come along and say, “Yes, somebody from Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States”—as he mentioned—“could be qualified”. However, my point is that I do not yet know what the detailed criteria are, what the training is, what the consultation responses are or, indeed, which countries are being approved by the Government through the College of Policing subject to this particular clause. 

Column number: 487 

Before I give this clause a fair wind, which I am minded to do, I would like the Minister to respond to those questions and potentially, with due respect to him, to try to calm my sour mood. 

Damian Green:  I fear that that task may not be possible. I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman if he spent hours scouring the Home Office website for a consultation response that was not there. If he had picked up the phone to me, I could have saved him a lot of time. I would also observe, in as emollient a way as I can, that I seem to remember years in opposition opposing successive immigration Bills where, in some cases, the Government introduced literally hundreds of new clauses without a whiff of consultation. There is a certain amount of faux indignation coming from the right hon. Gentleman. 

As he knows and, indeed, as he said, because he has diligently found the consultation document, which is freely available on the Home Office website, the consultation did not focus on legislative changes. The two questions about chief constable appointments were specifically on the method of training—the sort of detail about which any sensible Government would wish to consult those who would be involved in the detailed implementation of the legislation. It is a matter of implementation, which falls to the College of Policing. 

Mr Hanson:  That is the point; it falls to the College of Policing. New clause 9 defines an approved overseas police force and the approved rank. The consultation responses have not yet been published, so what if there are detailed responses about issues to do with approved rank or an approved overseas police force that impact on the new clause? That is the simple point I am making. We do not have the information from the consultation to be able to scrutinise the Bill, so it might be helpful if the Minister withdrew the motion and brought it back on Report when the consultation had been published. 

Damian Green:  That would be a wrong and, indeed, unique way of proceeding. The point that the right hon. Gentleman makes about the College of Policing—and specifically his questions about designating individual countries and wanting to know which individual countries as well as which individual ranks are designated before the Committee can study the Bill—has little validity. I cannot believe that the principle of appointing officers from outside Britain, which is what the proposed legislation does, depends on which countries they are. Quite clearly, those countries may change over time. There are countries, which have democratic traditions and common law traditions, that, most of the time, one would think of as the sort of country from where it would be entirely possible for somebody to come and make a valuable contribution to British policing. However, those countries may well become temporarily undemocratic. We can see that happening around the world, and we hope that they will go back to being fully democratic. 

There may well be countries from which, for a time, one would not wish to have police officers coming because they would have been brought up in a tradition that does not accord with the policing by consent tradition that we happily have in this country. However,

Column number: 488 
we can both hope and expect that these countries will return to policing by consent in the future, so an actual list of countries cannot be a means of deciding in principle whether one supports the new clause. Therefore, I still commend the new clause to the Committee. 

Mr Hanson:  I do not wish to detain the Committee too long. Question 30, the first one related to direct entry to chief constable rank, says:

“The review suggested that training for chief constables from overseas should be tailored to meet the needs of the individual but should include several broad areas of knowledge and expertise.” 

Comments are sought on the political and criminal justice context of policing in England and Wales; operational command in England and Wales; legal responsibilities of chief constables; managing the police and working with other agencies. 

Had I seen the responses to the consultation, I might have wished to strengthen new clause 9 by adding aspects of the responses to question 30, for example. Simply “approved rank” and “approved overseas police force” might not be sufficient for a test for approval as a designated chief constable appointed to run a force in England and Wales. It might be that we are not allowed a third criterion, for example, to have a set period of time of operational control of a police force at a rank below chief constable before appointment to chief constable. There are all sorts of variations on the theme. 

The point I am making to the Minister—and I will then let it rest, though I hope he gets the message—is that he is asking us to approve a clause on which he has not published the consultation. He has not yet teased out all the potential views. The Committee does not know what people outside think. We do not yet know what the Association of Chief Police Officers, PCCs, the public and other agencies have said about the proposal. Yet we are giving legislative function to this element under new clause 9. 

I will let the Minister have the clause, but it is a highly unsatisfactory way in which to approach the matter, and I hope that he will reflect on that. I would be grateful for the answer to one more thing. Can he ensure that the consultation is published before Report? At least we could then see what the consultation says before we complete consideration and send the Bill to another place. 

Damian Green:  I happily make that commitment, as I have already done. 

Question put and agreed to .  

New clause 9 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 10 

Retention of personal samples that are or may be disclosable 

‘(1) In section 63U of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (fingerprints and samples etc: exclusions from destruction rules)—

(a) in subsection (5) (material that is or may become disclosable to the defence), for “Sections 63D to 63Q, 63S and 63T” there is substituted “Sections 63D to 63T”;

(b) after that subsection there is inserted—

Column number: 489 

“(5A) A sample that—

(a) falls within subsection (5), and

(b) but for that subsection would be required to be destroyed under section 63R,

must not be used other than for the purposes of any proceedings for the offence in connection with which the sample was taken.

(5B) A sample that once fell within subsection (5) but no longer does, and so becomes a sample to which section 63R applies, must be destroyed immediately if the time specified for its destruction under that section has already passed.”

(2) In Schedule 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000 (detention of terrorist suspects etc), in paragraph 20I (substituted by paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) (fingerprints and samples etc: exclusion from destruction rules of material that is or may become disclosable to the defence)—

(a) for “Paragraphs 20A to 20F and 20H do not apply to paragraph 20A material” there is substituted “Paragraphs 20A to 20H do not apply to material”;

(b) at the end of that paragraph (which becomes sub-paragraph (1)) there is inserted—

“(2) A sample that—

(a) falls within sub-paragraph (1), and

(b) but for that sub-paragraph would be required to be destroyed under paragraph 20G,

must not be used other than for the purposes of any proceedings for the offence in connection with which the sample was taken.

(3) A sample that once fell within sub-paragraph (1) but no longer does, and so becomes a sample to which paragraph 20G applies, must be destroyed immediately if the time specified for its destruction under that paragraph has already passed.”’.—( Damian Green .)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Damian Green:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments 109 and 110. 

Damian Green:  As part of our coalition commitment to introduce greater safeguards in the operation of the national DNA database, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 requires biological samples taken for police investigations to be destroyed after six months. That was intended to cover samples taken so that they could be analysed to produce a DNA profile, which is a record on the DNA database representing a very small part of a person’s DNA. 

As the DNA profile is sufficient to match a person against DNA found at crime scenes, the rationale was that the samples should be destroyed to remove the possibility of further analysis being carried out in the future and that that should apply regardless of whether the person was convicted. The previous Administration adopted exactly the same approach in the Crime and Security Act 2010, which also provided for the destruction of samples within six months. 

In preparation for the implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act, 7.7 million samples taken to produce DNA profiles have now been destroyed. However, implementation of the provision has shown that the wording of the Act can cause practical difficulties in some cases. It requires biological samples of all types to

Column number: 490 
be destroyed, including blood, semen, urine, saliva, hair and skin swabs. That affects not only samples used for adding profiles to the DNA database, but those used for purposes such as testing for drug and alcohol use, violent and sexual contact between suspects and victims, and exposure to chemicals such as those associated with explosives, firearms or drug production. 

That means that a sample that becomes relevant to disputed issues in court proceedings may have been destroyed by the time those proceedings take place. For example, a defendant may seek to argue that his state of mind was affected at the time of the offence because he had taken a prescription drug. If the samples have already been destroyed, it would be very difficult for the prosecution to rebut that argument. 

Other types of evidence, such as DNA profiles and fingerprints, are protected by the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 as long as they are needed for investigation and prosecution. The new clause extends that protection to samples, whether taken under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 or the Terrorism Act 2000. It provides safeguards against wider use by requiring that samples protected under this measure are destroyed as soon as the CPIA no longer applies to them, and requiring that they be used only in relation to the particular offence for which disclosure as part of court proceedings might apply. The two consequential amendments to clause 140 simply provide for the territorial extent of the new clause. 

The changes made by the new clause are a sensible step to ensure that the prosecution of offences is not undermined by the premature destruction of samples. On that basis, I commend the measures to the Committee. 

9.15 am 

Mr Hanson:  We could have a very long debate about DNA, because there are real differences between the Government and the Opposition on that issue. One of our big areas of concern, both before and after the election, was the shift in responsibility for usage and retention of DNA samples. However, you will be pleased to hear, Mr Dobbin, that I will not start that debate today—I sense the disappointment in the room. We have already had that debate, and I know I am on the right side even though the votes went the other way. We will return to that broader issue at some other point. 

The new clause is a sensible proposal to tighten up legislation, and the Opposition will support it. I will therefore not detain the Committee further. 

Question put and agreed to.  

New clause 10 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 22 

Powers to seize invalid passports etc 

‘Schedule [Powers to seize invalid passports etc] (powers to seize invalid passports etc) has effect.’.—( Damian Green. .)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Damian Green:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

Column number: 491 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: 

Government new schedule 1—Powers to seize invalid passports etc.  

Government amendment 146. 

Damian Green:  The new clause and new schedule make provision to help protect our borders. They introduce two new powers of search and seizure in relation to travel documents to ensure that we are able to disrupt the travel arrangements of people who are deemed unsuitable on public interest grounds to have access to a British passport or who seek to travel on invalid documents. 

The new schedule provides an important distinction between powers exercisable at ports and powers that can be applied within the United Kingdom at places other than ports. In both cases, the schedule puts in place safeguards to ensure that relevant officials exercise the powers only when it is appropriate to do so and the public are not subject to arbitrary interference. 

Hon. Members may recall that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary issued a written ministerial statement on 25 April 2013 that updated our approach to the exercise of the royal prerogative on the issuing of passports. The changes brought clarification to parts of the prerogative and redefined the criteria for refusing or cancelling a person’s passport on public interest grounds. The public interest criterion applies where a person whose past, present or proposed activities, actual or suspected, are believed by the Home Secretary to be so undesirable that the grant or continued enjoyment of passport facilities is contrary to the public interest. The bar for refusing or withdrawing a passport on public interest grounds remains very high, and it is anticipated that the power will be used only in a very small number of cases, and will be focused on those who present a high security risk to this country and our allies. 

The royal prerogative has been updated from time to time by all Governments; in our updating of it, it became clear that there were no explicit enforcement powers to require the return of a cancelled passport. There is no power for a Crown official to search a person for the purpose of seizing a cancelled passport, even though passports remain at all times the property of the Crown; nor is there a power for a constable to retrieve a passport from a person who is seeking to travel yet is considered unsuitable to have access to a passport on public interest grounds. 

The powers set out in the new schedule seek to resolve that position. Paragraph 3 provides powers that can be used by a constable at places other than ports. A constable may search for, inspect and retain a passport cancelled on public interest grounds, where the Secretary of State has issued an authorisation in respect of that travel document. The constable must have reasonable grounds to believe that the person is in possession of a cancelled passport; since the powers are to be exercised on the grounds of reasonable belief, the police will know the person and will have knowledge about their proposed or intended travel plans. It will be an operational decision for law enforcement agencies to determine whether the intervention should take place outside a port area. 

The second set of powers provided for in the new schedule can only be used at ports. Paragraph 2 allows constables, immigration officers and certain customs

Column number: 492 
officials to search for, inspect and retain invalid travel documents. The powers at the port are not as narrowly drafted, but the schedule contains a range of criteria to ensure that they are applied to disrupt only those who seek to use invalid travel documents to enter or leave the UK. The powers are focused on enabling examining officers to intervene in defined areas when people may seek to enter or leave the UK using a document that has been cancelled, that has not been issued by the authority in whose name it purports to have been issued, that has been altered without authorisation or that has expired. 

Although officers are entitled to retain any invalid travel documents that are found, there is provision for an expired passport to be returned to the holder, as long as the examining officer considers that there is no intention for the document to be used for a purpose for which it is no longer valid. That means that, for example, a person who had an extant visa in an expired passport would have the expired passport returned. An expired passport would, however, be seized when it is being used solely for entry or departure or when it is being used fraudulently. The examining officer has to exercise those powers at the port in the belief that the person is entering or leaving Great Britain or Northern Ireland or that they are travelling by air within Great Britain or Northern Ireland. That approach achieves the key purpose of the schedule, which is to enable relevant officials who come into possession of a cancelled passport or other invalid travel document to seize and retain that document. The schedule will put beyond any doubt the powers available at ports and will bring both clarity and transparency to the public on what they can and should expect at a port. 

It is not of course a requirement to have a passport to travel within Great Britain and Northern Ireland or between the UK and Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, but many of us carry our passport or other documentation to evidence our identity on such journeys. Indeed, we are often required to do so by carriers. If that document is invalid, it is appropriate that relevant officials are able to intervene. 

Amendment 146 makes a consequential amendment to clause 140 and simply provides that the new clause and schedule will have UK extent. 

The powers in the new schedule will provide clarity for law enforcement officers and for the public. They will enhance the effectiveness of the updated royal prerogative criteria by providing an express statutory power to remove a passport cancelled by the Home Secretary on public interest grounds, and will provide clarity on the statutory powers available at ports to disrupt people travelling on invalid documents. The new powers at ports are aimed at tackling people who seek to use invalid travel documents to leave the UK to evade justice, to conceal their whereabouts from others and to circumvent immigration controls. The powers outside port areas are specific to individuals who present a serious risk to this country and our citizens. I commend the new clause to the Committee. 

Gloria De Piero (Ashfield) (Lab):  Good morning, Mr Dobbin. I put it on record that the Opposition are extremely unhappy about the incredibly short notice with which the Government have tabled amendments and new clauses. It is unfair not only on Members of Parliament and members of the Committee, but on

Column number: 493 
those who add to the scrutiny process by providing feedback, as has happened with other provisions throughout the long Committee proceedings on the Bill, which are coming to an end. I would therefore like some information from the Minister as to why the Government left the amendments and new clauses right until the last minute. 

Having put that point on the record, the Opposition support the new clause, new schedule 1 and Government amendment 146, which deal with passports and travel documents. New clause 22 and the royal prerogative and new schedule 1, which confers a statutory power on immigration, customs and police officers at ports to examine and seize cancelled passports or any other invalid travel documents, are important for disrupting the travel of individuals. I would, however, like the Minister to explain why these 17 pages of measures were tabled so late. 

Damian Green:  I can only tell the hon. Lady that I do not think that the new clause and new schedule were tabled terribly late. We have days between the tabling of amendments and the debate precisely to allow Opposition Members and outside bodies to comment, which they would have been able to do. I assume that the Opposition support the measures and I am grateful for their support. However, as I said in response to the right hon. Member for Delyn, that is as nothing compared to opposing legislation introduced by the previous Government. All I can say to the hon. Lady is: welcome to the Opposition Front Bench—that is what life is like. 

Question put and agreed to.  

New clause 22 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 23 

Proportionality 

‘(1) In section 11 of the Extradition Act 2003 (bars to extradition), in subsection (5), for “21” there is substituted “21A”.

(2) After section 21 of that Act there is inserted—

“21A Person not convicted: human rights and proportionality

(1) If the judge is required to proceed under this section (by virtue of section 11), the judge must decide both of the following questions in respect of the extradition of the person (“D”)—

(a) whether the extradition would be compatible with the Convention rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998;

(b) whether the extradition would be disproportionate.

(2) In deciding whether the extradition would be disproportionate, the judge must take into account the specified matters relating to proportionality (so far as the judge thinks it appropriate to do so); but the judge must not take any other matters into account.

(3) These are the specified matters relating to proportionality—

(a) the seriousness of the conduct alleged to constitute the extradition offence;

(b) the likely penalty that would be imposed if D was found guilty of the extradition offence;

(c) the possibility of the relevant foreign authorities taking measures that would be less coercive than the extradition of D.

Column number: 494 

(4) The judge must order D’s discharge if the judge makes one or both of these decisions—

(a) that the extradition would not be compatible with the Convention rights;

(b) that the extradition would be disproportionate.

(5) The judge must order D to be extradited to the category 1 territory in which the warrant was issued if the judge makes both of these decisions—

(a) that the extradition would be compatible with the Convention rights;

(b) that the extradition would not be disproportionate.

(6) If the judge makes an order under subsection (5) he must remand the person in custody or on bail to wait for extradition to the category 1 territory.

(7) If the person is remanded in custody, the appropriate judge may later grant bail.

(8) In this section “relevant foreign authorities” means the authorities in the territory to which D would be extradited if the extradition went ahead.”

(3) In deciding any question whether section 21A of the Extradition Act 2003 is compatible with European Union law, regard must be had (in particular) to Article 1(3) of the framework decision of the Council of the European Union made on 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant and the surrender procedures between member states (2002/584/JHA) (which provides that that decision shall not have the effect of modifying the obligation to respect fundamental rights and fundamental legal principles as enshrined in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union).

(4) In a case where the Part 1 warrant (within the meaning of the Extradition Act 2003) has been issued before the time when the amendments made by this section come into force, those amendments apply to the extradition concerned only if, at that time, the judge has not yet decided all of the questions in section 11(1) of that Act.’.—( Damian Green .)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Damian Green:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: 

Government new clause 24—Extradition barred if no prosecution decision in requesting territory.  

Government new clause 25—Hostage-taking considerations.  

Government new clause 26—Request for temporary transfer etc.  

Government new clause 27—Judge informed after extradition hearing or order that person charged with offence or serving sentence in United Kingdom.  

Government new clause 28—Consent to extradition not to be taken as waiver of speciality rights.  

Government new clause 29—Definition of “extradition offence”.  

Government new clause 30—Criminal Procedure Rules to apply to extradition proceedings etc.  

Government amendments 148 to 155, 145 and 147. 

Damian Green:  I hope that the hon. Member for Ashfield was suitably helped by the short version of these measures that I sent her and the Committee. With 17 pages, I agree that in this case there was a lot to absorb. 

Column number: 495 

The new clauses on extradition are a direct corollary of the statement on the 2014 opt-out made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary last Tuesday. As she explained to the House, the European arrest warrant has been successful in streamlining extradition processes and returning serious criminals to face justice. However, the Government are also clear that there are problems with its operation. 

Particular concerns have been raised about the disproportionate use of the EAW for trivial offences, the lengthy pre-trial detention of some British citizens overseas and the use of the EAW for conduct that is not criminalised in the UK. The new clauses will provide much needed reform of the EAW and additional safeguards for those subject to EAWs. 

New clause 23 means that UK courts will be able to deal with the long-standing issue of proportionality, which is a fundamental principle of EU law. It will require the judge at the extradition hearing to consider whether extradition would be disproportionate. In making that decision, the judge will have to take into account the seriousness of the conduct, the likely penalty and the possibility of the issuing state taking less coercive measures than extradition; for example issuing a court summons. Putting that proportionality bar in the legislation will ensure that extradition, which, of course, entails a person being sent to another country and being arrested and likely to be detained, happens only when the offence is serious enough to justify it. 

New clause 24 contains provisions to deal with pre-trial detention. UK courts will be able to bar surrender of the subject of the EAW where the issuing state has not taken both a decision to charge and a decision to try the person, unless the person’s presence in that country is required in order to do so. It will ensure that extradition takes place only where the issuing state is truly ready to prosecute and, accordingly, it will help to prevent people from spending potentially long periods in pre-trial detention following their extradition while the issuing state continues to investigate the offence. It may very well have prevented the extradition of Andrew Symeou, at least at the stage when he was extradited, and quite possibly altogether. 

In addition, under new clause 26, the requested person will now be able to speak with the authorities in the issuing state before extradition takes place, if they both consent. That will be made possible by either the temporary transfer of the person to the issuing state, or allowing the person to speak with the authorities in that state while he or she remains in the UK; for example, by video link. It could mean that in cases where extradition goes ahead, the person spends less time in pre-trial detention, as some of the processes that need to take place ahead of the trial could take place while the person is temporarily transferred to the issuing state. In some cases, the EAW may be withdrawn altogether; for example, where the issuing state decides that the requested person is not the person they seek, or that they did not in fact commit the offence at all. 

New clause 29 clarifies that where part of the conduct for which extradition is sought took place in the UK, and that conduct is not criminalised here, the judge must refuse extradition. It is important that we make

Column number: 496 
clear the requirement for dual criminality—the conduct must be criminalised in both the issuing state and the UK. 

Speciality protection, which prevents a person from being tried for offences other than those set out in the EAW, will now be retained in cases where the requested person consents to his or her extradition. That is provided for in new clause 28. It should result in more people consenting to extradition at the initial hearing, with consequent savings for the criminal justice system. 

9.30 am 

The remaining new clauses are largely technical in nature. New clause 25 will delete the hostage-taking bar from part 1 of the 2003 Act to bring our law fully into line with the EAW framework decision. At present, a person’s extradition is barred if the issuing state is a party to the international convention against the taking of hostages and the limited conditions of sections 16 to the 2003 Act are met. There is no equivalent ground for refusal in the framework decision. 

New clause 30 makes appeals to the High Court in extradition cases subject to the criminal, rather than the civil, procedure rules. That makes sense as the criminal procedure rules currently govern the main extradition hearing. New clause 27 ensures that where the judge is informed after the end of the extradition hearing that the person has been charged with an offence in the UK, extradition must be postponed until the conclusion of the UK proceedings. 

Finally, there are a number of amendments in the group to schedule 7 and clause 140. The former make consequential amendments to the 2003 Act arising from the substantive provisions in the new clauses, while the latter simply provide that the new clauses have UK extent, save for new clause 30, which will apply only in England and Wales, reflecting the jurisdiction of the High Court. 

Together, these amendments to the 2003 Act will improve the operation of the EAW in the UK, and will help to ensure that the right balance is struck between necessary law enforcement action and civil liberties. The difficulties that I have referred to with the existing arrangements are long-standing concerns, and as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said in her recent statement to Parliament, the Government are taking corrective action to address those problems. I commend the new clauses and amendments to the Committee. 

Gloria De Piero:  We support the new clauses and Government amendments concerning the EAW. However, I want to ask a few questions of the Minister. First, in new clause 23, proposed new section 21A(3) of the Extradition Act 2003 refers to 

“the seriousness of the conduct alleged to constitute the extradition offence.” 

Will the Minister explain to the Committee how a judge will make a decision based on seriousness? 

New clause 24 seeks to ensure that people are not extradited when it is not certain they will be charged, so that they do not sit in a prison for months on end. Will the Minister explain what impact that provision would have on the Julian Assange case, for example, where he argued that he could answer questions without being extradited? 

Column number: 497 

New clause 25 is about hostages. Will the Minister explain why the Government are repealing the 2003 provisions on hostage taking? 

New clause 29 deals with dual criminality. Will the Minister give a bit more detail about how it will work in practice? I will give an example. If an individual is accused of holocaust denial by the German authorities as the result of publishing a book—[ Interruption. ] The Minister is nodding, so he is obviously familiar with the example and the complications. For example, if the person went on a book tour in Germany, made the same comments, and then returned to the UK, he could be extradited. Will the Minister give a bit more detail on new clause 29? 

Damian Green:  I am grateful for the support of the hon. Lady and the Opposition for the purpose of the new clauses. I suspect the whole Committee will support them, as we have all observed problems with the European arrest warrant, and although it provides many vital safeguards for British law enforcement, we seek to address those issues with the new clauses. 

The hon. Lady asked what a judge will be required to take note of with regard to new clause 23. In deciding whether extradition will not be disproportionate, a judge will have to take into account—obviously it will be for him or her to decide—not just the seriousness of the conduct, but the likely penalty and the possibility of the issuing state taking less coercive measures, for example issuing a court summons. Those will be the suite of issues that a judge will have to take into account. A judge will look at the conduct set out in the arrest warrant. The issuing state will be represented in court and can be asked questions and to give further details if necessary. The judge will be able to look at the individual case in the round and at the issuing state as well. 

The hon. Lady asked about the international convention on hostage taking. Currently, a person’s extradition is barred if the issuing state is a party to that international convention. Clearly, it is a perverse effect of the current legislation. There is no equivalent ground for refusal in the framework decision that set up the EAW, and that is a more rational approach. We do not want to discourage countries from signing up to the international convention on hostage taking, and the new clause is simply a clearing-up measure. 

The hon. Lady’s third question was about holocaust denial. The issue is whether any part of the offence took place in this country. That will be key, because if it did, dual criminality will be required. As holocaust denial is not a crime in the UK, unlike certain other member states that use EAWs, if any part of the offence took place in this country, extradition will not be available. If a person denies the holocaust in Austria and the UK, and Austria cites conduct in both Austria and the UK in the EAW, extradition must be refused, as the whole conduct is needed to make out the offence. That is the detail of the dual criminality aspect. I hope that answers the legitimate questions that she asked. 

Gloria De Piero:  I am sorry if I have missed it, but did the Minister explain new clause 24, titled “Extradition barred if no prosecution decision in requesting territory”? [ Interruption. ] I think that may be about to arrive with him. It is the Minister’s judgment call, not mine. 

Column number: 498 

Damian Green:  I thought that I might persuade the hon. Lady, who is entertaining the Committee so royally, to continue to do so. 

New clause 24, again, deals with the technical issues that have prevented the appropriate issuing of EAWs in the past. That has been particularly emotive in the case of Andrew Symeou, who was held for many months in a foreign country. His case was the subject of a large amount of campaigning by parliamentarians in this country, and rightly so. The purpose of new clause 24 is to try to stop that. 

The hon. Lady asked specifically about Julian Assange. Obviously it is difficult to apply clauses to past cases, which her question would do. However, looking at criminal cases ahead and to answer her question directly, the new clause will ensure that, where a decision to charge and try is not taken, extradition cannot take place. People will not be left in limbo, where they have been charged but a trial is not to take place. However, if the only reason for that situation is the fact that the person is not in the issuing state, extradition can take place to allow decisions to be taken. So the effect of the clause will be to stop people being in limbo for an indefinite period. If the trial is going to go ahead, extradition can take place. If it is not going ahead, extradition cannot take place. I hope that provides a sufficiently detailed explanation. 

Question put and agreed to.  

New clause 23 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 24 

Extradition barred if no prosecution decision in requesting territory 

‘(1) In section 11 of the Extradition Act 2003 (bars to extradition), after paragraph (a) of subsection (1) there is inserted—

“(aa) absence of prosecution decision;”.

(2) After section 12 of that Act there is inserted—

“12A Absence of prosecution decision

(1) A person’s extradition to a category 1 territory is barred by reason of absence of prosecution decision if (and only if)—

(a) it appears to the appropriate judge that there are reasonable grounds for believing that—

(i) the competent authorities in the category 1 territory have not made a decision to charge or have not made a decision to try (or have made neither of those decisions), and

(ii) the person’s absence from the category 1 territory is not the sole reason for that failure, and

(b) those representing the category 1 territory do not prove that—

(i) the competent authorities in the category 1 territory have made a decision to charge and a decision to try, or

(ii) in a case where one of those decisions has not been made (or neither of them has been made), the person’s absence from the category 1 territory is the sole reason for that failure.

(2) In this section “to charge” and “to try”, in relation to a person and an extradition offence, mean—

(a) to charge the person with the offence in the category 1 territory, and

Column number: 499 

(b) to try the person for the offence in the category 1 territory.”

(3) In a case where the Part 1 warrant (within the meaning of the Extradition Act 2003) has been issued before the time when the amendments made by this section come into force, those amendments apply to the extradition concerned only if, at that time, the judge has not yet decided all of the questions in section 11(1) of that Act.’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 25 

Hostage-taking considerations 

‘(1) Section 16 of the Extradition Act 2003 (extradition to category 1 territory barred by reason of hostage-taking considerations) is repealed.

(2) In section 11 of that Act (bars to extradition), paragraph (e) of subsection (1) is omitted.

(3) In a case where the Part 1 warrant (within the meaning of the Extradition Act 2003) has been issued before the time when the amendments made by this section come into force, those amendments apply to the extradition concerned only if, at that time, the judge has not yet decided all of the questions in section 11(1) of that Act.’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 26 

Request for temporary transfer etc 

‘Before section 22 of the Extradition Act 2003 there is inserted—

“21B Request for temporary transfer etc

(1) This section applies if—

(a) a Part 1 warrant is issued which contains the statement referred to in section 2(3) (warrant issued for purposes of prosecution for offence in category 1 territory), and

(b) at any time before or in the extradition hearing, the appropriate judge is informed that a request under subsection (2) or (3) has been made.

(2) A request under this subsection is a request by a judicial authority of the category 1 territory in which the warrant is issued (“the requesting territory”)—

(a) that the person in respect of whom the warrant is issued be temporarily transferred to the requesting territory, or

(b) that arrangements be made to enable the person to speak with representatives of an authority in the requesting territory responsible for investigating, prosecuting or trying the offence specified in the warrant.

(3) A request under this subsection is a request by the person in respect of whom the warrant is issued—

(a) to be temporarily transferred to the requesting territory, or

(b) that arrangements be made to enable the person to speak with representatives of an authority in the requesting territory responsible for investigating, prosecuting or trying the offence specified in the warrant.

(4) The judge must order further proceedings in respect of the extradition to be adjourned if the judge thinks it necessary to do so to enable the person (in the case of a request under subsection (2)) or the authority by which the warrant is issued (in the case of a request under subsection (3)) to consider whether to consent to the request.

Column number: 500 

An adjournment under this subsection must not be for more than 7 days.

(5) If the person or authority consents to the request, the judge must—

(a) make whatever orders and directions seem appropriate for giving effect to the request;

(b) order further proceedings in respect of the extradition to be adjourned for however long seems necessary to enable the orders and directions to be carried out.

(6) If the request, or consent to the request, is withdrawn before effect (or full effect) has been given to it—

(a) no steps (or further steps) may be taken to give effect to the request;

(b) the judge may make whatever further orders and directions seem appropriate (including an order superseding one made under subsection (5)(b)).

(7) A person may not make a request under paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3) in respect of a warrant if the person has already given consent to a request under the corresponding paragraph of subsection (2) in respect of that warrant (even if that consent has been withdrawn).

(8) A person may not make a further request under paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3) in respect of a warrant if the person has already made a request under that paragraph in respect of that warrant (even if that request has been withdrawn).

(9) If—

(a) a request under subsection (2) or (3) is made before a date has been fixed on which the extradition hearing is to begin, and

(b) the proceedings are adjourned under this section,

the permitted period for the purposes of fixing that date (see section 8(4)) is extended by the number of days for which the proceedings are so adjourned.”’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 27 

Judge informed after extradition hearing or order that person charged with offence or serving sentence in United Kingdom 

‘(1) After section 36 of the Extradition Act 2003 there is inserted—

“36A Judge informed after extradition hearing that person charged with offence in United Kingdom

(1) This section applies if—

(a) an order has been made for the extradition of the person in respect of whom the Part 1 warrant is issued, and

(b) before the extradition order is carried out the appropriate judge is informed that the person is charged with an offence in the United Kingdom.

(2) The appropriate judge must order the extradition order not to be carried out until one of these occurs—

(a) the charge is disposed of;

(b) the charge is withdrawn;

(c) proceedings in respect of the charge are discontinued;

(d) an order is made for the charge to lie on the file, or in relation to Scotland, the diet is deserted pro loco et tempore.

(3) If a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention is imposed in respect of the offence charged, the appropriate judge may order the extradition order not to be carried out until the person is released from detention pursuant to the sentence (whether on licence or otherwise).

(4) Rules of court may provide that where there is an appeal against the extradition order —

Column number: 501 

(a) a reference in this section to the appropriate judge has effect, in prescribed circumstances, as if it were a reference to the court hearing the appeal, and

(b) this section has effect with any other prescribed modifications.

“36B Judge informed after extradition hearing that person serving sentence in United Kingdom

(1) This section applies if—

(a) an order has been made for the extradition of the person in respect of whom the Part 1 warrant is issued, and

(b) before the extradition order is carried out the appropriate judge is informed that the person is serving a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention in the United Kingdom.

(2) The appropriate judge may order the extradition order not to be carried out until the person is released from detention pursuant to the sentence (whether on licence or otherwise).

(3) Rules of court may provide that where there is an appeal against the extradition order —

(a) a reference in this section to the appropriate judge has effect, in prescribed circumstances, as if it were a reference to the court hearing the appeal, and

(b) this section has effect with any other prescribed modifications.”

(2) After section 118 of that Act there is inserted—

“118A  Judge informed after extradition order that person charged with offence in United Kingdom

(1) This section applies if—

(a) the Secretary of State has made an order for a person’s extradition under this Part, and

(b) before the extradition order is carried out the appropriate judge is informed that the person is charged with an offence in the United Kingdom.

(2) The appropriate judge must order the extradition order not to be carried out until one of these occurs—

(a) the charge is disposed of;

(b) the charge is withdrawn;

(c) proceedings in respect of the charge are discontinued;

(d) an order is made for the charge to lie on the file, or in relation to Scotland, the diet is desertedpro loco et tempore.

(3) If a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention is imposed in respect of the offence charged, the appropriate judge may order the extradition order not to be carried out until the person is released from detention pursuant to the sentence (whether on licence or otherwise).

(4) Rules of court may provide that where there is an appeal against the extradition order —

(a) a reference in this section to the appropriate judge has effect, in prescribed circumstances, as if it were a reference to the court hearing the appeal, and

(b) this section has effect with any other prescribed modifications.

118B Judge informed after extradition order that person serving sentence in United Kingdom

‘(1) This section applies if—

(a) the Secretary of State has made an order for a person’s extradition under this Part, and

(b) before the extradition order is carried out the appropriate judge is informed that the person is serving a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention in the United Kingdom.

(2) The appropriate judge may order the extradition order not to be carried out until the person is released from detention pursuant to the sentence (whether on licence or otherwise).

Column number: 502 

(3) Rules of court may provide that where there is an appeal against the extradition order —

(a) a reference in this section to the appropriate judge has effect, in prescribed circumstances, as if it were a reference to the court hearing the appeal, and

(b) this section has effect with any other prescribed modifications.”’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 28 

Consent to extradition not to be taken as waiver of speciality rights 

‘In the Extradition Act 2003 the following provisions are repealed—

(a) section 45(3);

(b) section 128(5).’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 29 

Definition of “extradition offence” 

‘(1) For sections 64 and 65 of the Extradition Act 2003 there is substituted—

“64 Extradition offences: person not sentenced for offence

(1) This section sets out whether a person’s conduct constitutes an “extradition offence” for the purposes of this Part in a case where the person—

(a) is accused in a category 1 territory of an offence constituted by the conduct, or

(b) has been convicted in that territory of an offence constituted by the conduct but not sentenced for it.

(2) The conduct constitutes an extradition offence in relation to the category 1 territory if the conditions in subsection (3), (4) or (5) are satisfied.

(3) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs in the category 1 territory;

(b) the conduct would constitute an offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom if it occurred in that part of the United Kingdom;

(c) the conduct is punishable under the law of the category 1 territory with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment.

(4) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs outside the category 1 territory;

(b) in corresponding circumstances equivalent conduct would constitute an extra-territorial offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom;

(c) the conduct is punishable under the law of the category 1 territory with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment.

(5) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs in the category 1 territory;

(b) no part of the conduct occurs in the United Kingdom;

(c) a certificate issued by an appropriate authority of the category 1 territory shows that the conduct falls within the European framework list;

(d) the certificate shows that the conduct is punishable under the law of the category 1 territory with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 3 years or a greater punishment.

Column number: 503 

(6) For the purposes of subsections (3)(b) and (4)(b)—

(a) if the conduct relates to a tax or duty, it does not matter whether the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom imposes the same kind of tax or duty or contains rules of the same kind as those of the law of the category 1 territory;

(b) if the conduct relates to customs or exchange, it does not matter whether the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom contains rules of the same kind as those of the law of the category 1 territory.

65 Extradition offences: person sentenced for offence

‘(1) This section sets out whether a person’s conduct constitutes an “extradition offence” for the purposes of this Part in a case where the person—

(a) has been convicted in a category 1 territory of an offence constituted by the conduct, and

(b) has been sentenced for the offence.

(2) The conduct constitutes an extradition offence in relation to the category 1 territory if the conditions in subsection (3), (4) or (5) are satisfied.

(3) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs in the category 1 territory;

(b) the conduct would constitute an offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom if it occurred in that part of the United Kingdom;

(c) a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 4 months or a greater punishment has been imposed in the category 1 territory in respect of the conduct.

(4) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs outside the category 1 territory;

(b) in corresponding circumstances equivalent conduct would constitute an extra-territorial offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom;

(c) a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 4 months or a greater punishment has been imposed in the category 1 territory in respect of the conduct.

(5) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs in the category 1 territory;

(b) no part of the conduct occurs in the United Kingdom;

(c) a certificate issued by an appropriate authority of the category 1 territory shows that the conduct falls within the European framework list;

(d) the certificate shows that a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 4 months or a greater punishment has been imposed in the category 1 territory in respect of the conduct.

(6) For the purposes of subsections (3)(b) and (4)(b)—

(a) if the conduct relates to a tax or duty, it does not matter whether the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom imposes the same kind of tax or duty or contains rules of the same kind as those of the law of the category 1 territory;

(b) if the conduct relates to customs or exchange, it does not matter whether the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom contains rules of the same kind as those of the law of the category 1 territory.”

(2) In section 66 (supplementary provision for the purposes of sections 64 and 65) after subsection (1) there is inserted—

“(1A) References to “conduct” (except in the expression “equivalent conduct”) are to the conduct specified in the Part 1 warrant.”

(3) In section 137 of that Act (definition of extradition offence for the purposes of Part 2 of the Act: person not sentenced for offence) for subsections (1) to (5) there is substituted—

Column number: 504 

“(1) This section sets out whether a person’s conduct constitutes an “extradition offence” for the purposes of this Part in a case where the person—

(a) is accused in a category 2 territory of an offence constituted by the conduct, or

(b) has been convicted in that territory of an offence constituted by the conduct but not sentenced for it.

(2) The conduct constitutes an extradition offence in relation to the category 2 territory if the conditions in subsection (3), (4) or (5) are satisfied.

(3) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs in the category 2 territory;

(b) the conduct would constitute an offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom punishable with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment if it occurred in that part of the United Kingdom;

(c) the conduct is so punishable under the law of the category 2 territory.

(4) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs outside the category 2 territory;

(b) in corresponding circumstances equivalent conduct would constitute an extra-territorial offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom punishable with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment;

(c) the conduct is so punishable under the law of the category 2 territory.

(5) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs outside the category 2 territory;

(b) no part of the conduct occurs in the United Kingdom;

(c) the conduct constitutes, or if committed in the United Kingdom would constitute, an offence mentioned in subsection (6);

(d) the conduct is punishable under the law of the category 2 territory with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment.”

(4) After subsection (7) of that section there is inserted—

“(7A) References in this section to “conduct” (except in the expression “equivalent conduct”) are to the conduct specified in the request for the person’s extradition”.

(5) In section 138 of that Act (definition of “extradition offence” for the purposes of Part 2 of the Act: person sentenced for offence) for subsections (1) to (5) there is substituted—

“(1) This section sets out whether a person’s conduct constitutes an “extradition offence” for the purposes of this Part in a case where the person—

(a) has been convicted, in the category 2 territory to which extradition is requested, of an offence constituted by the conduct, and

(b) has been sentenced for the offence.

(2) The conduct constitutes an extradition offence in relation to the category 2 territory if the conditions in subsection (3), (4) or (5) are satisfied.

(3) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs in the category 2 territory;

(b) the conduct would constitute an offence under the law of the relevant part of the United Kingdom punishable with imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 12 months or a greater punishment if it occurred in that part of the United Kingdom;

(c) a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 4 months or a greater punishment has been imposed in the category 2 territory in respect of the conduct.

Column number: 505 

(4) The conditions in this subsection are—

(a) the conduct occurs outside the category 2 territory;

(b) in corresponding circumstances equivalent conduct would constitute an extra-territorial offence under the relevant part of the United Kingdom punishable as mentioned in subsection (3)(b);

(c) a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 4 months or a greater punishment has been imposed in the category 2 territory in respect of the conduct.

(5) The conditions in this subsection are that—

(a) the conduct occurs outside the category 2 territory;

(b) no part of the conduct occurs in the United Kingdom;

(c) the conduct constitutes, or if committed in the United Kingdom would constitute, an offence mentioned in subsection (6);

(d) a sentence of imprisonment or another form of detention for a term of 4 months or a greater punishment has been imposed in the category 2 territory in respect of the conduct.”

(6) After subsection (7) of that section there is inserted—

“(7A) References in this section to “conduct” (except in the expression “equivalent conduct”) are to the conduct specified in the request for the person’s extradition”.’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 30 

Criminal Procedure Rules to apply to extradition proceedings etc 

‘(1) In section 68 of the Courts Act 2003 (Criminal Procedure Rules: meaning of “criminal court”), at the end there is inserted—

“(c) the High Court in relation to its jurisdiction under the Extradition Act 2003.”

(2) In section 1 of the Civil Procedure Act 1997 (Civil Procedure Rules), in subsection (1)(b), after “the High Court” there is inserted “except in relation to its jurisdiction under the Extradition Act 2003”.

(3) In section 157 of the Extradition Act 2003 (production orders), after subsection (8) there is inserted—

“(9) Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about applications under this section to a circuit judge.”

(4) In section 160 of that Act (warrants: special procedure material and excluded material), after subsection (9) there is inserted—

“(10) Criminal Procedure Rules may make provision about applications under this section to a circuit judge.”’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 2 

Legal highs—offence 

‘(1) It is an offence for a person to supply, or offer to supply, a psychoactive substance, including but not restricted to—

(a) a powder;

(b) a pill;

(c) a liquid; or

(d) a herbal substance with the appearance of cannabis,

which he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, to be so acting, that the substance is likely to be consumed by a person for the purpose of causing intoxication.

Column number: 506 

(2) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(3) This section does not apply to alcohol, tobacco, or any drug currently scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Medicines Act 1968.—(Mr Hanson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Mr Hanson:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss: 

New clause 3—Review of effect of legal highs on anti-social behaviour  

‘The Secretary of State shall carry out a review no more than 12 months following Royal Assent to this Act to assess the effect of legal psychoactive drugs on—

(a) anti-social behaviour offending rates; and

(b) NHS, policing and local authority resources dedicated to tackling anti-social behaviour.’.

New Clause 21—Consultation on proposals for reform of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971  

‘(1) The Secretary of State, no more than six months following Royal Assent of this Act, shall publish proposals for reforms to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and other relevant legislation, for consultation, to reduce the evidential burden placed on prosecuting authorities when demonstrating that a psychoactive substance has been supplied, or offered to be supplied, for the purposes of causing intoxication.

(2) Within three months of the consultation exercise referred to in subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall lay before both Houses of Parliament an analysis of the consultation responses and legislative proposals they consider necessary to improve the operation of the 1971 Act and other relevant legislation in relation to the evidential burden in cases relating to the supply of psychoactive substances.’.—(Mr Woodcock.)

Mr Hanson:  New clauses 2 and 3 were tabled by me, and new clause 21 was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (John Woodcock), supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham. The new clauses are designed to look at the issue of legal highs and to tease from the Government some strategy about how the Government will be dealing with that issue. Even if new clauses 2, 3 and 21 do not meet the Government’s wishes, I hope that they will reflect on the issues and make some progress on Report or in another place at a later date. 

New clause 2 would make it illegal for traders to sell items that can be used as legal highs if the trader believes the items will be used for the purposes of intoxication. If adopted, it would have the effect of tightening up the sale of legal highs in the high street. Such substances mimic the effect of drugs controlled under schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, such as cocaine, ecstasy and LSD, but they are currently legal to possess and to supply. New clause 21, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness, asks for a review of the Misuse of Drugs Act. It wants the issue to be examined with a view to potential policy objectives. I think that is worthy of consideration by the Government. 

Why are we concerned about legal highs? My hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness tabled a question on 20 May 2013. He asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office, 

Column number: 507 

“how many deaths in the UK were attributed to legal highs in each of the last five years.”—[Official Report, 20 May 2013; Vol. 563, c. 471W.] 

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, the hon. Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (Mr Hurd), supplied the figures, which are worrying, and the Committee needs to examine them in detail, because we need an effective response in relation to the proposals before us today. In 2007, there were nine deaths as a result of legal highs. In 2008, there were 25; in 2009, 33; in 2010, 35; and sadly, in 2011, the figure had risen to 41 deaths. That indicates the level of concern. Over the past five years there has been a fourfold increase in the number of deaths attributed to the use of legal highs. 

9.45 am 

New clause 2 will affect the high-street trade, which is currently legal, and the internet trade, which is substantially larger. My view, which I think would be shared by my hon. Friends the Members for Rotherham and for Barrow and Furness, and others, is that the sale of dangerous substances in an everyday retail environment normalises their use, encourages experimentation, particularly among people under the age of 16, and potentially exposes people to more powerful psychoactive drugs downstream. New clause 3 would require there to be a review, as would new clause 21, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness. The purpose of new clause 2 is to look at what we can do to check the substantial increase in the number of outlets for legal highs and effectively cease the trade of untested psychoactive substances in existing outlets. 

Since 2009, we have had 33 deaths, and the number of outlets selling legal high products in the UK has risen dramatically. The trend began with the introduction of legal mephedrone to the UK from China in 2008-10. Some of these drugs come under the control of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, but they continue to be misused. A large variety of new legal substances—synthetic cannabinoids—continue to be sold in retail shops as research chemicals. There have been many incidences of hospitalisation, as well as the sad incidences of death to which I referred in my introductory remarks, particularly when these substances are mixed with alcohol, which I understand they often are. 

Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) (Con):  The right hon. Gentleman is quite right to raise the issue of deaths from legal highs. Is he also aware of the increase in hospital admissions we are seeing across the country as a consequence of people taking these drugs? In my area, the Medway Maritime hospital is seeing at least one to two people admitted each week as a result of taking legal highs. 

Mr Hanson:  The hon. Lady makes a valid point. Deaths are very tragic—they are at the sharpest end of misuse of these products. However, last month, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that the number of young people aged 15 to 24 in the United Kingdom who have taken a legal high is 670,000. Within that number, because of the lack of regulation of these products, there are people who will misuse either by taking too much or by mixing with alcohol,

Column number: 508 
resulting in hospitalisations. That affects their health, but in a wider context also affects the role of accident and emergency and GP surgeries, and has a cost to the state. The products are effectively legal, but are being misused for purposes that must be examined in detail, hence the reviews under new clauses 3 and 21. We could also use the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 as a model, as new clause 2 effectively does. 

I am not an expert in such matters, but I am told by those who are that legal highs are actively marketed under a number of brand names, such as China White, Banshee Dust and Clockwork Orange. Such products carry no list of ingredients, no warnings of likely effects, no advice on dosage and no advice on the potential dangers of mixing with alcohol or other drugs. To evade prosecution under the Medicines Act 1968, they are invariably billed as “not for human consumption.” However, ultimately, they are used for human consumption. They often contain unknown, untested ingredients or sets of ingredients. Their psychoactive effect is therefore unpredictable, and in the long term leads to potential hospitalisation or ill health, as the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford mentioned. 

It is interesting that not only are 670,000 young people in the UK estimated by the UN to use legal highs—that is 8.2% of people in that age range, which is the highest proportion in Europe—but there is also a great growth in the number of websites and formal retail outlets selling these products. The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction estimated that there were 170 websites in 2010, in itself a considerable number, but by 2012 the number was 690. Half of those are UK-based websites. There is no register of the retail shops that sell these items but the Angelus Foundation, which examines this matter in some detail and was set up after the tragedy of a family death, is compiling a list. It is expected to show that there are several hundred retail shops. As an illustration, UK Skunkworks has 14 shops in and around the M25. Another outlet, Dr Herman, has six shops in the north of England. 

Those are retail outlets and it is perfectly legal at the moment to sell those legal highs. The model that I have put forward for the Committee to consider is based on the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985. It regulates the sale of solvents, butane gas, glues and other substances that are used for a range of legitimate purposes but which in some cases have been misused by individuals and have caused many hundreds of deaths over many years. It was a private Member’s Bill promoted by the then Member for Tynemouth, Neville Trotter, and supported by the Conservative Government. It effectively said that retailers could sell the products for legitimate uses but if they sold them in the knowledge that they were being bought for the purposes of abuse they were committing an offence that is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. 

The Act has stood the test of time. It has been enforced by the police and trading standards officers over the past 28 years. There are regular prosecutions. More importantly, it has led to a greater understanding among retailers of the harmful effects of these products if misused. The number of deaths has fallen from a high of around 150 per year 25 years ago down to a still difficult 40 to 60 a year now. On average, 100 young

Column number: 509 
people a year are alive because of that Act and because retailers are under pressure not to sell for the purposes of abuse. 

New clause 2 establishes that it is an offence to supply, or offer to supply, a psychoactive substance including, but not restricted to, a powder, a pill, a liquid or a herbal substance with the appearance of cannabis, which is likely to be used for the purpose of intoxication. It would still be legal to sell any of these products if they were to be used for non-intoxicating purposes, but if they were being used for intoxication then an offence would be committed with a prison sentence not exceeding six months and a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale of fines. This does not apply to alcohol, tobacco or any drug currently scheduled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Medicines Act 1968. I think that is a reasonable model and I hope that the Minister will support it, given that such a model already operates effectively under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985. That has raised awareness, secured prosecutions, reduced abuse and led to fewer deaths. 

New clause 3 is a standard measure through which I am trying to get the Government to commit to a review. It is important that in the next 12 months the Government review the impact of psychoactive drugs on antisocial behaviour offending rates and, as the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford mentioned, the impact on the national health service, policing and local authority resources. Not only would such a review provide the bland definitive statistics, which are appalling in themselves, on the number of deaths and the level of usage, but it would allow us to assess more widely the impact of legal highs on our communities. 

New clause 21, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness with the support of my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham, states: 

“The Secretary of State, no more than six months following Royal Assent of this Act, shall publish proposals for reforms to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and other relevant legislation, for consultation, to reduce the evidential burden placed on prosecuting authorities when demonstrating that a psychoactive substance has been supplied, or offered to be supplied, for the purposes of causing intoxication.” 

Taken as a package, new clauses 2, 3 and 21 would provide a model for legislation under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985; establish a review of such a model in 12 months; and establish a review of the evolution of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, all of which would help the situation. 

The Angelus Foundation, led by Maryon Stewart, has developed resources for young people and their parents to help them understand the dangers of legal highs, and those resources are being tested. Resources and awareness alone will not help to reduce the level of usage of legal highs and the level of deaths, however. We need to challenge the source of the substances that are being misused, which means that we need to challenge the websites and retail outlets. The Bill gives us an opportunity to legislate to do just that. 

I urge the Minister to consider new clauses 2 and 3. My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham may contribute further on new clause 21, and we will listen carefully to the Minister’s response. We all have a common interest in finding a way to reduce usage and death, to raise awareness and to help to control the growing epidemic of legal highs in this country. 

Column number: 510 

Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab):  I want to speak about new clause 21, which stands in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness. I support the comments made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn, and I want to build on them. My hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness has campaigned tirelessly on the matter, but the problem is not confined to Barrow; it is a nationwide issue that has an impact on all our constituencies. 

My hon. Friend was moved to table the new clause after hearing the testimony of a constituent, who spotted not only how legal highs were turning her son into, in her own words, “a zombie”, but the prevalence of the problem in her own school. She was able to work with her son to break his dependency on legal highs, but we cannot rely on every young person having such perceptive parents, so we must act to do something about the problem. 

The scale of the problem in my hon. Friend’s constituency was underlined by the police superintendent, who told him that legal highs represented the 

“greatest clear and present danger to young people’s lives in the area”, 

eclipsing even the dangers of alcohol and illegal drugs. Such is the scale of the problem in the town that the local paper, the North West Evening Mail, has launched a campaign and a petition to tackle the dangers of legal highs. 

The use of legal highs not only causes short-term health problems and damages prospects in education and employment, but increasingly leads to deaths. Figures obtained by my hon. Friend have shown that in the past five years, the number of deaths attributed to the four most common drugs used in legal highs rose fourfold—from nine deaths in 2007 to 41 deaths in 2011. That is why we urge the Government to do something. 

The trend is genuinely worrying and reflects the increased ease with which legal highs can be obtained and the ever-growing range of such products. It is a clear indicator that the current system of regulation and control is simply not working and that we need to look urgently at how we can produce a system that truly protects people from these dangerous substances. 

New clause 21 is straightforward. It seeks to concentrate the Government’s mind on how to deal with a genuinely difficult issue. Control of illegal drugs is hard enough, and in those instances we are dealing with a relatively narrowly defined range of substances. Legal highs, on the other hand, are constantly evolving—new highs are constantly being developed and entering the market. So we accept that the effective regulation of such substances under the current legislative framework is very difficult. 

10 am 

New clause 21 provides for amendment to the evidential burden placed on police and the prosecuting authorities in relation to offences of supplying legal highs. As well as there being an ineffective regulatory and control regime, police officers who attempt to bring prosecutions face a genuine difficulty. Many hours of police time is taken up attempting to prove that substances being sold as “plant food” or “bath salts”—the most common disguises for legal highs—are in fact intended for human consumption as psychoactive substances. We need to

Column number: 511 
make it easier to bring prosecutions where the law is clearly being flouted. As well as improving the actual law, we have to ensure that the law is a deterrent and not so easily bypassed. 

Legal highs are blighting lives in my constituency, in that of my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness, in whose name these amendments stand, and in constituencies across the country. The trend of deaths and health problems is clear: this is a growing danger. I hope, given the urgency of the situation, that the Minister will agree that urgent action is needed to change how we regulate and control these substances and that he will accept the tight timetable that the new clauses propose. 

The Minister of State, Home Department (Mr Jeremy Browne):  I agree with the thrust of both the speeches that have been made. Legal highs are a growing social problem; the consumption of them has led in some cases to tragic consequences, which, obviously, we all deplore and regret. 

The question is how, as a Government and a Parliament, we can best respond to this rapidly evolving social problem, as the hon. Lady the Member for Rotherham called it, and how we can frame the law in a way that best protects our constituents. I welcome this contribution to the ongoing debate about the policy framework that can best achieve those objectives. 

The three new clauses seek to address the open sale of new psychoactive substances, which are often marketed under misleading descriptions but are ultimately for the purpose of intoxication, and their potential harms. 

I start by saying that, as is obvious, there is no simple solution to the fast-moving drugs landscape around the “legal high” trade. Countries such as ours around the world are wrestling with the same issues. Successive Governments in this country, with the support of Parliament, have taken the view that our legislative response to drugs should be informed by the evidence of the harms caused by these substances and the advice given by our independent scientific experts, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. I pay tribute to the ACMD for its work on a whole range of drugs, which has informed Government policy under successive Governments for a number of years. 

That legislative approach has enabled us to take action on a large number of substances: hundreds of new psychoactive substances have been banned in the last few years. I would not want the Committee to have the impression that we have been inactive in this area. The United Kingdom has already banned 80% of the substances recorded in the three main groups of drugs that have emerged across Europe. We should also reflect that, of the 73 new drugs seen in Europe last year, only 18 have been seen in the UK. There are different threats in different countries, but a lot of action has been taken here in the United Kingdom. 

The legislative approach that we have taken is to ban whole families of drugs; that approach has been enhanced in the past year or so by the temporary drug control legislation that has allowed us to act more swiftly. In effect, we now have two systems with the ACMD: the traditional system, which allowed for extensive and deliberative consideration about the harms caused by drugs before the giving of advice to the Home Secretary—that still exists—and a parallel fast-track process, which

Column number: 512 
has been introduced precisely to enable the ACMD to provide scientific advice on these fast-evolving problems but to retain a scientific dimension. 

We are therefore now able to ban drugs for a year, with a view to a permanent ban being put in place when the ACMD is able to undertake a process of more thorough consideration. Many countries have adopted the broad approach that we have taken, so I would not wish Members to think that we are back markers. A lot of countries feel that the United Kingdom has made substantial progress in this area. 

Law enforcement agencies are also working hard to disrupt the trade in legal highs and to make the most of the legislation that we already have. For example, I understand that the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 was recently successfully used in circumstances where legal highs were sold to under-18s for the purposes of intoxication. However, I do understand the concerns of the right hon. Member for Delyn and other Members about this issue. We know that the legal high trade is resilient and evolving, and I see it in my constituency, as I am sure other Members see it in theirs. 

The right hon. Gentleman may recall that last year we published an action plan on new psychoactive substances. We committed to keep the effect of that and the impact of our laws under review. Specifically, that included continuing to respond with evidence-based drug control under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, using effectively the temporary class drug orders that I just described, and fast-tracking amendments to existing generic definitions of controlled drugs, following advice from the ACMD. It also included a commitment to 

“review new evidence on what works in other countries and what we can learn from it, including the use of different types of legislation.” 

So this problem is clearly not unique to the United Kingdom. 

That work of making international comparisons is being undertaken, and I have spoken to a number of people from other countries. For example, last week I had a conversation that lasted for over an hour with the Health Minister of New Zealand, where some interesting, innovative policy changes are being made. I am not saying that we would necessarily look to adopt them, but we should understand them better and learn from them. 

By the end of this year, we expect to complete a study on drugs policies in other countries more generally, but the most dynamic aspect of the debate on drugs is not the drugs with which we are most familiar, such as heroin and crack cocaine, but the faster-evolving and mutating social and medical threat posed by legal highs, so-called. 

I understand what the right hon. Member for Delyn and the hon. Member for Rotherham are seeking to achieve with their new clauses, and I am sympathetic to their objectives; I think anyone would be. New clause 2 is to some degree similar to our existing provisions in the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, which has already been mentioned, and it is also similar to the new legislative models that we have seen in Ireland and Poland, but at present we only have limited short-term evidence available to determine the impact of that type of legislation. However, as I said, we continue to look at what we can learn from the experiences in other countries. 

Column number: 513 

Mr Hanson:  I appreciate that in other legislative contexts there is, as yet, no evidence on this matter. But the Minister can look at the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985, and its impact over 28 years on the number of deaths and usage and the wider understanding among retailers, parents and others. I urge him to do so in relation to solvents and volatile substances. 

Mr Browne:  I take the right hon. Gentleman’s point. I will take it away. Let me look more at what we can learn specifically on that. 

However, I would inject a word of caution. Drugs are taken to a disproportionate degree by young people and, partly for that reason, they are prone to changes in fashions and trends; sometimes a fall in the consumption of one drug will simply be a displacement, as the consumption of another drug rises. People can attribute such changes to a whole range of factors—police or Government activity, for example—but the consumers of drugs may not necessarily be changing their consumption patterns as a direct result of action taken by Parliament, the police or other people in positions of authority. 

Nevertheless, the right hon. Gentleman makes an entirely reasonable point, which we should consider. As I said, we will continue to look at countries—I cited Ireland and Poland—where changes have been made, although sometimes there can be a change in the law and prosecutions without there necessarily being an underlying change in consumption patterns. Again, we have to be careful about how we study and weigh up the evidence. 

I acknowledge that the new clauses present opportunities and that on one level their catch-all nature is attractive, but we have to be cautious about some of their implications. If we move away from an evidence-based approach, that will be a big change in Government drugs policy, which has been followed by successive Governments. The possible unintended consequences need to be fully examined and understood. 

For example, there are legitimate concerns about the new clauses’ use of the broad term “psychoactive substance”. Our current approach provides a high level of legal certainty about which substances are restricted under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Parliament legislates on those. If we have a temporary banning order, I will move it in a Statutory Instrument Committee in a room along the Committee corridor. That prevents the judiciary from having to make a finding in every case on the effects of a given substance, which would require expert scientific evidence, as well as on disputes between the prosecutors and defence over whether the substance was sold for recreational use. 

There is a danger that we would take scientific responsibility away from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, with its high degree of expertise and experience, and make the decision dependent on the wranglings in each court case about whether the drug sold had psychoactive properties. In effect, the scientific burden would move from the council to the courtroom; not only the motives of the retailer but the toxicity of the product that he or she was selling would have to be proven. That would be a big change away from evidence-based, scientific, informed Government drugs policy. 

So I have these words of caution: we should not adopt such a dramatic change in this Committee without thinking about the consequences in much greater detail.

Column number: 514 
Although the new clauses have attractive elements, there are profound consequences that Committee members would also wish to consider. 

Of course, we will want to ensure that our legislative response continues to restrict the supply of harmful new psychoactive substances, both in our communities and online, providing UK law enforcement with robust and practical powers to tackle the trade. Although I do not believe that the approach taken by new clauses 2 and 21 is appropriate at this time without a lot more consideration about the potential effects and downsides, we genuinely have an open mind about how we can continue to make improvements in this area. 

Mr Hanson:  I am grateful to the Minister. To help him reflect on the issue, I should say that we do not intend to press the new clauses to a Division. However, I would be grateful if he gave some indication about the time scale over which he will consider these matters, about whether he believes he can complete those investigations prior to the conclusion of the Bill’s passage and about whether he aims to bring back proposals with legislative capacity to meet our joint objectives and those of my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness (John Woodcock). 

10.15 am 

Mr Browne:  Let me make two brief points on that. One is that the right hon. Gentleman’s intervention might imply that the Government are inactive. I am not saying he meant that. However, there is work going on constantly in this area. 

As I said earlier, hundreds of new psychoactive substances have been banned in the past few years, including two temporary class banning orders introduced last month in Parliament. Indeed, 80% of the substances recorded in the three main groups that have emerged across Europe have already been banned in the UK. There is a danger of painting the Government as more passive on this issue than they are. The issue is receiving a considerable amount of attention and legislative changes are being made. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is working on an ongoing basis. 

I said earlier that we hope to have a report looking at lessons from comparable countries by the end of the calendar year. That is not quite within the scope of this legislation, but it is only months away. That is also an ongoing process, including looking at the changes in New Zealand, which are often cited as an example. We are not committed to following that path, but it is interesting. The legislation has only just finished going through the New Zealand Parliament. Even by the end of the year there will be a limited body of evidence on how it has worked in practice. We constantly study examples from other countries. 

In new clause 3, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to legislate for the Government to review the social harms associated with non-controlled new psychoactive substances. I understand that is linked to new clause 2 and an attempt to assess the impact that restricting the sale of all legal highs could have on societal harms, including their impact on local services. 

It is not the Government’s policy to fetter or unnecessarily duplicate the statutory role of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which is to advise the Government

Column number: 515 
on drug-related matters, including giving advice on health and social harms if appropriate. We will continue to look to our experts for the provision of scientific advice on harms of drugs of misuse. 

The right hon. Gentleman does not intend to press the new clauses, so I will conclude with two brief remarks. One is that I hope I have reassured members of the Committee, who see in their constituencies the social and medical threat posed by legal highs, that the Government are energetic and active in that area. We are constantly looking at what more we can do, how we can extend legislation, and we are genuinely creative and open about further measures. 

My second point is that we acknowledge, as was mentioned in the two speeches, that this is a new area of drugs policy. There is a lot of familiarity with drugs policy towards drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine. Their use is falling year on year in the UK, which is very encouraging. The number of people dying from consuming heroin is falling. The average age of heroin addicts in the UK is now over 40. Substantial good progress is being made. 

I believe everyone on the Committee would understand that the big, fast-mutating, evolving area is that of legal highs. We are open to ideas and suggestions, but it would not be appropriate at this stage to accept the new clauses, which would be a big departure from a lot of tried and tested drugs work that successive Governments have undertaken. They would not be the right approach at this time. We are, however, open to having this debate and will no doubt continue to have it. I am open to receiving representations from right hon. and hon. Members to further our progress. 

Mr Hanson:  I thank the Minister for his response. I want to place on the record my thanks to my hon. Friends the Members for Barrow and Furness and for Rotherham for their support for new clause 21. Both that new clause and new clause 3 indicate that we need to examine the issue. That is not to say that the Government are not doing things, but they need not only to look at the situation but to come up with a policy solution. New clause 2 offered a potential policy solution, which is based on existing policy that has been proven to work over time. 

Sarah Champion:  I listened with interest to what the Minister said, and he clearly recognises that there is a growing problem. I heard him say that he hoped to have a report that looked into possible ways forward, that he was constantly looking at things to do and that he was open to making changes. Does my right hon. Friend agree that we need action, because young people are dying and the problem is getting worse? 

Mr Hanson:  I agree, which is why, although I will not press the new clauses today, I want to follow up with the Minister on the suggestions that we have discussed and I hope that he will look at the model of the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985. The Minister and his officials need to reflect on the fact that we will return to the matter during the later stages of the Bill, either on Report or in the other place. We expect the Minister to bring forward policy solutions before the Bill’s passage is completed. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.  

Column number: 516 

New Clause 4 

Dog control notice 

‘(1) Where an authorised officer has reasonable cause to believe that a dog is not under sufficient control and requires greater control in any place, as a preventative measure to protect the public, the dog itself, or another protected animal, he or she may serve on the owner, and if different, person for the time being in charge of the dog a written control notice which—

(a) states that he or she is of that belief;

(b) specifies the respects in which he or she believes the owner, and if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog is failing to keep the dog under sufficient control;

(c) specifies the steps he or she requires the owner, and if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog to take in order to comply with the notice;

(d) specifies the date by which the terms of the notice must be complied with; and

(e) specifies the date that the notice expires which will not be for a period which exceeds six months.

(2) In a control notice pursuant to subsection (1)(c) an authorised officer must require a dog to be microchipped (if not already done so) and the owner, and if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog, register the dog with a microchip database, and may require the following steps, where appropriate, but is not limited to—

(a) keeping the dog muzzled as directed;

(b) keeping the dog on a lead when in public or under control as directed;

(c) requiring the owner, and if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog, to seek and implement expert advice about training and behaviour for the dog;

(d) having the dog neutered where appropriate; and

(e) keeping the dog away from particular places or persons.

(3) Failure to comply with the steps required in a control notice within the time period specified, to the satisfaction of the authorised officer may lead to a complaint to a Magistrates Court under section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871.

(4) The provisions of section 2 of the Dogs Act 1871 shall have effect if the owner, and if different, the person for the time being in charge of a dog fails to comply with the steps required in a control notice within the time period specified in accordance with subsection (3) above as they would apply if a dog was dangerous and not kept under proper control.

(5) An “authorised officer” is a person that has been appointed by the local authority or police for the purposes of this Act.

(6) A “protected animal” is one that is commonly domesticated in the British Islands, is under the control of man whether on a permanent or temporary basis, or is not living in a wild state.’.—(Mr Hanson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Committee divided: Ayes 9, Noes 10. 

Division No. 13 ]  

AYES

Champion, Sarah   

Cooper, Rosie   

Crouch, Tracey   

Danczuk, Simon   

De Piero, Gloria   

Hanson, rh Mr David   

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma   

Phillipson, Bridget   

Wilson, Phil   

Column number: 517 

NOES

Barclay, Stephen   

Browne, Mr Jeremy   

Fuller, Richard   

Green, rh Damian   

Maynard, Paul   

Mosley, Stephen   

Phillips, Stephen   

Rutley, David   

Skidmore, Chris   

Syms, Mr Robert   

Question accordingly negatived.  

New Clause 5 

Firearms licences—assessing public safety 

‘(1) The Firearms Act 1968 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 28A (Certificates: supplementary) insert—

28B Assessing public safety

(1) When assessing the threat to public safety under sections 27, 28, 30A, 3 0B or 30C the Chief Police Officer must ensure that a range of background checks are performed.

(2) Where these checks uncover substantiated evidence of violent conduct, domestic violence, mental illness or drug or alcohol abuse, the presumption is that the Chief Police Officer should refuse the licence application unless exceptional evidence can be brought forward by the applicant as to their suitability to possess a weapon.

(3) When assessing public safety within this section the Chief Police Officer must follow any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”.’.—(Mr Hanson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 11. 

Division No. 14 ]  

AYES

Champion, Sarah   

Cooper, Rosie   

Danczuk, Simon   

De Piero, Gloria   

Hanson, rh Mr David   

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma   

Phillipson, Bridget   

Wilson, Phil   

NOES

Barclay, Stephen   

Browne, Mr Jeremy   

Crouch, Tracey   

Fuller, Richard   

Green, rh Damian   

Maynard, Paul   

Mosley, Stephen   

Phillips, Stephen   

Rutley, David   

Skidmore, Chris   

Syms, Mr Robert   

Question accordingly negatived.  

New Clause 6 

Firearms: power of Secretary of State to alter fees 

‘(1) Section 43 of the Firearms Act 1968 (power of Secretary of State to alter fees) is amended as follows.

(2) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) Before making an order under this section the Secretary of State must consult with chief police officers to ensure the level of fees collected by the police under sections 32 and 35 are sufficient for the police to recoup the costs they incur through the administration and assessment of firearms licences made under this Act.”.’.—(Mr Hanson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 11. 

Column number: 518 

Division No. 15 ]  

AYES

Champion, Sarah   

Cooper, Rosie   

Danczuk, Simon   

De Piero, Gloria   

Hanson, rh Mr David   

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma   

Phillipson, Bridget   

Wilson, Phil   

NOES

Barclay, Stephen   

Browne, Mr Jeremy   

Crouch, Tracey   

Fuller, Richard   

Green, rh Damian   

Maynard, Paul   

Mosley, Stephen   

Phillips, Stephen   

Rutley, David   

Skidmore, Chris   

Syms, Mr Robert   

Question accordingly negatived.  

New Clause 14 

Female genital mutilation review of legislation 

‘The Secretary of State must carry out an assessment of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, and must lay a copy of the assessment before Parliament within 12 months of this section coming into force.’.—(Stephen Phillips.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham) (Con):  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Dobbin. The new clause, which I will not be pressing to a Division, is concerned solely with female genital mutilation, which, as the Committee will be aware, is a criminal offence and is the subject of a specific piece of legislation. The House seems to have had difficulty in framing that legislation: despite the fact that female genital mutilation continues across the United Kingdom, affecting hundreds, if not thousands, of girls every year, who are being mutilated by those whom they most trust, there has never been a single prosecution of the offence in this country. 

That seems a disgraceful tragedy to me—I hope it seems so to other members of the Committee—and informs me that we are not doing enough as legislators to tackle a very serious problem. Whether there is something wrong with the legislation, I know not; how it can be improved, I know not. What I do know is that it is time for the Secretary of State to carry out an assessment of the legislation introduced by the previous Government—I give them enormous credit for introducing it—to see if it can be improved, so that we can begin to prosecute this crime and stamp out this vile practice once and for all. 

Gloria De Piero:  The Opposition support requesting the Secretary of State to carry out an assessment of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and to put that assessment before Parliament within a year. The Government estimate that up to 20,000 girls under 15 could be at risk, which would mean more than 50 young female victims every day. There has never been a single prosecution under the Act, as the hon. and learned Gentleman says. I would therefore like to put on record that the Opposition support this measure. 

Column number: 519 

10.30 am 

Mr Browne:  The new clause offers a welcome opportunity for me to explain in slightly greater detail the approach the Government are taking to an extremely harrowing and distressing area of criminal activity. We take this matter seriously, and I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for giving us the opportunity to have this discussion. 

New clause 14 would place a duty on the Secretary of State to carry out an assessment of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 and place it before Parliament within 12 months of commencement. I shall start by saying that the Government’s main focus in this area is prevention: prosecution after the act does not relieve the victim of female genital mutilation from a lifetime of pain and discomfort, so ideally we want to prevent the mutilation from happening in the first place. A great deal of cross-Government work is being taken forward with that in mind, involving professionals in many different spheres, far removed from the law, but that is a separate debate from today’s. I appreciate that prosecutions would send an important signal that could well have a preventive effect in other cases, but we are keen to see this policy in the round, including what can be done to prevent the mutilation taking place in the first place. 

Bridget Phillipson (Houghton and Sunderland South) (Lab):  The Minister is right that prevention is incredibly important, and the hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham made a compelling case for the new clause. I again make the parallel with forced marriage, which we debated earlier. Making it a criminal offence, clearly in the case of female genital mutilation and quite possibly in the case of forced marriage, may not in itself be enough to prevent the practice and the distress that results, but what work is the Minister doing with the Department for Education? Schools are important when it comes to tackling female genital mutilation and forced marriage, but, unfortunately, what we are hearing from many people working in the sector is that the Department for Education is the weakest link in much of this work. 

Mr Browne:  I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her intervention, and I am more than happy to allow her to intervene again, but a later passage of the speech I have prepared deals with what we are trying to do across Government, beyond the immediate focus of the new clause, which is 2003 Act. I hope that will be of interest to hon. Members. 

I fully understand and am sympathetic to the motivation behind the new clause. The absence of any prosecution for this dreadful crime under the 2003 Act or the legislation it replaced, the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985, has long been a source of great concern. However, the lack of prosecutions is not necessarily a reflection of the effectiveness of the law or the adequacies or inadequacies of Parliament. The law is capable of dealing with perpetrators if cases come to court, but cases can only come to court if offences are reported to the police and the evidential and public interest tests for prosecution are met. That is where the difficulty primarily lies: the willingness of victims and others to come forward and report an offence, and to give evidence in court, is obviously crucial. 

Column number: 520 

Research suggests that the most likely barrier to prosecution is pressure from the family or wider community to remain silent, which leads to cases going unreported. The age at which girls undergo female genital mutilation varies, but the majority of cases are thought to take place between the ages of five and eight. So at the time of mutilation, many victims may be too young and vulnerable or too afraid to report offences, or simply not know how to do so. In addition, they may be reluctant to implicate family members, especially when put under pressure. Therefore, we need to find alternative sources of evidence. 

To that end, in January this year I co-hosted, with the NSPCC, a meeting with representatives from the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and health, education and social services, amongst others, to discuss how relevant professionals can better identify and report potential and actual cases of female genital mutilation. The Committee will be interested to know that the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), who has the public health portfolio, and the Under-Secretary of State for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mr Timpson), who is the Minister for children, were also present. The focus of that meeting and the actions resulting from it were very much on prevention, and in terms of prosecution, on how to build a case that does not necessarily rely on the testimony of child victims. 

On Thursday this week, I will be hosting a follow-up meeting with ministerial colleagues, the Director of Public Prosecutions and others to discuss progress on cross-governmental work to tackle female genital mutilation, both domestically and overseas. I assure the Committee that there is no lack of appetite on the part of the CPS to prosecute, if it feels that there is a reasonable chance of success. 

Simon Danczuk (Rochdale) (Lab):  It would be remiss of me not to speak briefly in support of the new clause. I urge the Government to push forward with having a review. The issue has been raised many times in my constituency because of the demographics in Rochdale, where FGM is a serious issue. I urge the Government to support the review. 

Mr Browne:  I understand the powerful point that the hon. Gentleman makes with regard to his constituency. To broaden the matter a bit further, I was talking about a cross-Government approach involving Health Ministers and Education Ministers, but given the strong links— 

Gloria De Piero:  Data collection is important. What conversations has the Minister had, given the Department of Health’s recently expressed concerns that collecting FGM data would breach patient confidentiality? 

Mr Browne:  Data collection is important, but there is a danger of unintended consequences. As I understand it—it would be better to have a Health Minister speak directly to this issue—concerns have been raised that people would be deterred from going to the doctor or taking their daughters to the doctor for unrelated conditions. I think that hon. Members will understand that we do

Column number: 521 
not want to create a situation in which people feel unable to access the health service for other serious medical conditions because they feel that it is there primarily to compile data on them. That is a perennial difficulty where safeguarding concerns are involved. We are keen to improve data. We have the ability to collect data when women give birth, for example, although in almost all cases, for obvious reasons, it happens many years after the act of genital mutilation took place. There is a process for compiling data and we would like to know more than we do, but we must ensure that we improve our understanding of the scope and scale of this terrible problem in a way that does not have unforeseen detrimental consequences. 

I was talking about a cross-Government approach, and I wanted to inform the Committee about an important additional area of work. Given the strong links between diaspora communities and their countries of origin, the Government also regard tackling female genital mutilation overseas as key to ending the practice here. That is why on 5 March this year, the Under-Secretary of State for International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), announced that the Department for International Development would provide up to £35 million over the next five years to support work to end female genital mutilation internationally. I know, not least because I met my hon. Friend and the police yesterday evening to talk about FGM, that she has been encouraged by the progress made in meetings and discussions when she has visited Africa. She hopes that that will lead in time to cultural and social shifts in attitude both in those countries and back here in the United Kingdom. As well as working with Government, traditional leaders and local communities to help end the practice in other countries, DFID will also support diaspora communities in the UK to help change practices in their countries of origin. We see that as a powerful example of joined-up government, in this case between the Home Office and the Department for International Development. 

Separately, the Director of Public Prosecutions published in November 2012 a CPS action plan on female genital mutilation with a view to bringing a successful prosecution. As part of that plan, the CPS has identified cases referred to the police and examine why they did not proceed. It has also explored whether evidence to prosecute female genital mutilation may be possible and easier to support under other legislation, and is looking to other jurisdictions, especially common law jurisdictions, where successful prosecutions have been brought to see what lessons may be learned from that. The director has indicated in his action plan that if, following that further work by the CPS, he identifies any gaps or difficulties with the current legislation, he will report that fact to the Government. In that event, we will of course give careful and urgent consideration to any recommendations the DPP makes. I wish to assure the Committee that the CPS is restless in its pursuit of progress in this area. 

Stephen Phillips:  That is fine as far as it goes, but my understanding is the police have not sent a single file of papers to the CPS; therefore the CPS cannot identify how the legislation can be improved because the papers do not reach it. Will the Minister tell the Committee how the DPP will pass on his concerns, given that he has not even seen any files? 

Column number: 522 

Mr Browne:  It is precisely because the pipe of prosecution cases has not produced cases at the end of the process that we are looking at what is causing the blockages. I started my remarks by saying that most, if not all, members of the Committee would accept that the biggest blockages are the problems that are caused, first, when small children are the victims of the crime, and, secondly, when the parents are the perpetrators of the crime or are involved in some way. 

Another big issue is that there is often a sort of cultural cover-up. When family members or next-door neighbours know that a crime is being perpetrated, their cultural reflex is to cover it up. It might be even more profound than that: they might not accept that the act is a crime, or they might accept that it is a crime in the sense that it breaks the law, but do not regard it as morally unacceptable behaviour and do not believe that the law ought to exist in the form that it does, so they might feel that they have strong moral, cultural or historical reasons to disregard the law, even when they know that somebody has broken it. All those things cause problems. It is then about who brings the matter to the attention of the police and how we can do more for people who come across vulnerable girls who have been or could be victims. The Crown Prosecution Service must then put a successful prosecution in place. 

With the police, the CPS, the Department for International Development and other Government Departments, we are looking at how we can unblock the system right along that pipe. The reasons I gave show that there is no absence of good will on the part of the Crown Prosecution Service, and were we to change the law, the cultural issues would remain, so legislative change might not be the primary hurdle we need to overcome. 

On 24 June, the NSPCC launched a UK-wide helpline aimed at anyone concerned that a child’s welfare was at risk because of female genital mutilation. Callers can remain anonymous, but information on children at risk will be passed to police and social services. As well as providing a safe space for those who are aware that a child is to be mutilated but feel powerless to stop it, I hope the helpline will help to generate information that leads to a prosecution. In the few weeks since the helpline was launched, several cases have been referred to the police—my note says 16 cases, but the police officer in the meeting I held yesterday evening said it was 18 cases. When I asked him yesterday whether that means anonymous tip-offs on names, he said that the concerns are rather more generic than anything as specific as that. The NSPCC helpline is an important new service and, of course, we are in the very early stages so we cannot draw firm conclusions. We hope that it will lead to information being supplied. 

10.45 am 

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham for the chance to debate this important and sensitive issue. Legislation alone cannot eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation, which has been deeply ingrained in the culture of the practising communities for centuries, but I assure him that the Government share his objectives to see the 2003 Act used to bring perpetrators of this abhorrent crime to justice. The legislation is not there just to send a message, although sometimes Members of

Column number: 523 
Parliament talk about legislating to send a powerful message to the public. I hope the Act sends a message to the public, but it is not just symbolic; the Government see it as a practical tool, and we wish to see it used. 

Bridget Phillipson:  I listened to what the Minister said about work across Government, particularly with the Department for International Development and what is happening with the CPS, but unfortunately he had very little to offer from the Department for Education. Yet again, the Department for Education seems to think that this is none of its business and nothing to do with the Department—whether it is female genital mutilation, forced marriage, sex and relationships education, domestic violence or child abuse; the list goes on. Will the Minister have conversations with Ministers in that Department? The Department for Education is vital because of the access it provides to children and young people. Unfortunately, Ministers in that Department do not seem to prioritise issues relating to child well-being. 

Mr Browne:  I hear the hon. Lady’s point. If an Education Minister were here, I think he or she would say that schools have the ability and power to teach their pupils and to be active in that area, but increasingly the overall direction of Government policy in the Department for Education is to allow greater discretion for head teachers and other senior staff to make judgments about what is most suited to their school. Members of the Committee will recognise that although there is no harm in the public, including children, being widely informed of any number of issues, female genital mutilation is a practice that is overwhelmingly prevalent among quite a small percentage of the overall population of the United Kingdom; the hon. Member for Rochdale alluded to that when he said that it is a particular issue in his constituency. The issue may lend itself to a more targeted geographic approach to the schools best placed to put greater emphasis on it, rather than an overall, generic set of guidelines that would apply nationally. 

I have just been passed a note in response to the question put by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham: we believe that cases have been referred to the CPS, but I will find out the precise numbers—the numbers will not be big, but I will find out how many and let him know. Clearly, the numbers have not resulted in the outcome that we would wish, assuming there was guilt in the first place. 

As I hope I have been able to demonstrate, the barriers to prosecution for female genital mutilation are well understood, and a great deal of energy is currently focused on breaking down those barriers to ensure that robust legislation can finally be used. I am happy to update the House on the progress of our work in due course. Given the current work that is being undertaken across Government, I am not convinced that a one-off statutory assessment of how the Female Genital Mutilation Act is working is necessary. The requirement to assess the Act within 12 months of the commencement of the relevant section, which will take us into 2015, could be seen as detracting from the momentum that we hope we have managed to start in addressing this important issue. We need to concentrate on the practical application of the law and to work now to improve the prospects for securing successful prosecutions, rather than waiting for Royal Assent to undertake a statutory review. 

Column number: 524 

I share the desire of all members of the Committee to see accelerated progress in this area, and we would like to see prosecutions. We are keen to remove any barriers that exist to the law being applied. We are also working—I hope, more widely, imaginatively and creatively—on how to deal with some of the deeper seated, underlying, cultural and historical factors that are relevant to such an appalling practice. I hope that I can convince the Committee that the Government are highly active in such matters. The fact that we have not achieved the outcome that we would all like to see is not due to lack of application on our behalf. We hope that further and dramatic progress will be made much sooner than a particular timetable, but obviously that is dependent on a range of factors, which is what has made the problem perennially difficult, and one that we are determined to continue to address with resolve and energy. 

Stephen Phillips:  I am extremely grateful to the Minister for his comments. All members of the Committee know that the problem is serious and that we have to deal with it. I understand that my hon. Friend will return to the House—I hope in the current Session—to say what can be done and is being done as a result of the reviews that are being conducted at the Department. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn. 

New Clause 15 

Powers of community support officers 

‘(1) Part 1 of Schedule 4 to the Police Reform Act 2002 (powers exercisable by community support officers) is amended as follows.

(2) After section 1(2)(b) insert—

“(ba) the power of a constable in uniform to give a person a fixed penalty notice under section 54 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (c. 53) (fixed penalty notices) in respect of an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 c.53 (Breach of other construction and use requirement) as specified by Table III (Pedal cycle) of Schedule 1 (Obligatory Lamps, Reflectors, Rear Markings and Devices) of the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989/1796;”.’.

(3) In section 7B(1) after “sub-paragraphs” insert “(1A),”.

(4) After section 7B(1) insert—

“(1A) Where, in the exercise of the power referred to in paragraph 1A or paragraph 3, a CSO has required a person to give his name and address, and has reasonable grounds to suspect that person is in possession of a controlled drug in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or of any regulations (or orders) made thereunder, the CSO may—

(a) search that person, and detain him for the purpose of searching him;

(b) search any vehicle in which the constable suspects that the drug may be found, and for that purpose require the person in control of the vehicle to stop it.”.

(5) In section 11A(2) after “footway)”, insert “or an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 c.53 (Breach of other construction and use requirement) as specified by Table III (Pedal cycle) of Schedule 1 (Obligatory Lamps, Reflectors, Rear Markings and Devices) of the Road Vehicles (Lighting Regulations 1989/1796.”.’.—(Stephen Barclay.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Column number: 525 

Stephen Barclay (North East Cambridgeshire) (Con):  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The purpose of the new clause is to draw the Minister’s attention to the lack of logic in the existing boundaries of the powers that apply to police community support officers. It draws attention to two examples, although more could be illustrated, where the boundary powers of PCSOs do not seem to make sense. The first is that a PCSO can stop a cyclist for cycling without lights on a towpath, but not for cycling without lights on a highway. That is a strange distinction to draw in the exercise of an officer’s powers. 

The second example relates to drugs and the powers of search. PCSOs can search for alcohol, and if during the search they detect cannabis, they can confiscate it. However, if when approaching an individual, they smell cannabis, they do not have the power to search for it. Both restrictions on the powers of PCSOs highlight the fact that warranted officers’ time has to be diverted from more value-added tasks to those that a PCSO could perform straightforwardly. It is not my intention to press the new clause, but I hope that my right hon. Friend the Minister can reassure the Committee that the two specific issues will be examined in more detail and that the wider matter of the boundaries of the powers of PCSOs and how they can take on more responsibilities from warranted officers will be considered. 

Prior to my involvement with these issues, I thought that there was reluctance within the police for PCSOs to take on more powers, but representations from my local police inspector have drawn my attention to the frustration that is currently felt by senior police officers that officer time is being diverted to tasks that PCSOs could perform perfectly satisfactorily. I hope that the Minister can provide reassurance that where the boundaries for PCSOs sit will be considered in more detail, and that firm proposals will be brought forward. 

Damian Green:  As my hon. Friend says, the new clause would introduce two additional powers that chief constables could confer on PCSOs. The first is a power to stop a cyclist and issue them with a fixed penalty notice for riding without the lights required under road traffic legislation; the second is a power allowing them to search individuals and vehicles for controlled drugs. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for the work that he has done on the issue, which I know has been a matter of particular concern to him for some time. His new clause gives rise to an entirely legitimate debate about how PCSOs’ powers should evolve as they bed down in the wider policing world. 

Let me set out some of the context for the important work that PCSOs do. We have already implemented significant reforms to ensure that the police respond to the concerns of their communities, and that communities can support and challenge the police. Obviously, locally elected police and crime commissioners are one way of achieving that. We are also ensuring that the police engage directly with local communities through regular beat meetings, and we are publishing street-level crime and antisocial behaviour information through the police.uk website. 

PCSOs are a key part of that approach; they provide a valuable uniformed presence in our communities, with a focus on understanding and identifying local priorities,

Column number: 526 
solving local problems and low-level crime, and engaging with the community. They bring key skills, values and diversity to policing. The discretionary nature of the powers given to PCSOs ensures that they are able to respond to the individual and specific needs of the community that they serve. We want to make sure that they retain that flexibility. 

My hon. Friend raised important points about the powers that PCSOs can use, and about whether there is an overall coherence in those powers. He asked whether it is logical that they are unable to issue a fixed penalty notice for using a bicycle without lights when they can issue a penalty notice for riding on a footway; similarly, he asked whether it is right that they cannot search someone for drugs when they can retain controlled drugs found in a person’s possession, and can detain if an individual fails to provide their name and address. I am sympathetic to the arguments that he put forward. Clearly, we must be careful to ensure that any decision to introduce additional powers enhances, rather than undermines, PCSOs’ important role. In particular, it is possible that giving them the power to search for drugs would involve them in more confrontational situations than they deal with at present, and I would want to look very carefully at the implications that could have for their wider role in engaging with local communities. 

Stephen Barclay:  I thank my right hon. Friend for the constructive way in which he is addressing the issues. Does he accept that when being searched, an alcoholic or someone who is drunk may be as violent, if not more so, than someone who is in a more relaxed state due to cannabis? 

Damian Green:  We can all give individual examples of cases where violence might ensue, and the example that my hon. Friend gives is a perfectly fair one, but a serious, serial drug dealer is likely to be much more violent in a cold-blooded way than someone who is simply drunk. Clearly, neither situation would be desirable for a PCSO, but that is just an illustration of the wider point, which is that we need to think through the implications of the changes, which, as he says, would be permissive; the powers could be conferred by chief constables. 

Over the summer, I would like to look further at the possible revision of PCSO powers. Obviously, I cannot give any guarantees at this stage that there will be a Government amendment on Report, but I absolutely commit to giving serious consideration to the matters that my hon. Friend raises, and to the wider point about PCSOs. On that basis, I hope that he is prepared to withdraw the new clause. 

Stephen Barclay:  On the basis of the Minister’s assurance that he will look at the matter over the summer, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.  

New Clause 16 

Assault of workers 

‘(1) A person, being a member of the public, who assaults a worker—

(a) in the course of that worker’s employment, or

(b) by reason of that worker’s employment,

commits an offence.

Column number: 527 

(2) No offence is committed—

(a) under subsection (1)(a) unless the person who assaults knows or ought to know that the worker is acting in the course of the worker’s employment,

(b) under subsection (1)(b) unless the assault is motivated, in whole or in part, by malice towards the worker by reason of the worker’s employment.

(3) In this section—

“worker” means a person whose employment involves dealing with members of the public, to any extent, but only if that employment involves—

(a) being physically present in the same place and at the same time as one or more members of the public, and

(b) (either or both)—

(i) interacting with those members of the public for the purposes of the employment, or

(ii) providing a service to either particular members of the public or the public generally,

“employment” in this context means any paid or unpaid work whether under a contract, apprenticeship, or otherwise.

(4) Evidence from a single source is sufficient evidence to establish for the purpose of subsection (1) whether a person is a worker.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this Act is liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.’.—(Mr Hanson.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

11 am 

Mr Hanson:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The new clause is designed to allow us to discuss with the Government aspects of sentencing policy regarding people who suffer serious assaults during the course of their daily employment. The new clause focuses on defining a worker’s employment and defining whether an offence has taken place if an individual is attacked while they are engaged in that employment. Although the matter needs to be looked at in more detail, I hope that the new clause will spark the Government to respond by reviewing aggravating factors when individuals are assaulted during the course of their employment. 

Assaulting a police constable while they are discharging their duty is a separate offence that carries an additional sentence. Sentencing guidelines are explicit that an aggravating factor in determining a sentence for common assault should be whether the offence was committed against an individual working in the public sector or providing a service to the public. An attack on those in public sector employment, such as nurses or those who work behind counters at the Department for Work and Pensions, is an aggravated offence. I want to prompt the Minister to examine whether an attack on an individual who is involved in their daily work should be an aggravating factor. 

There is real concern, particularly in the retail sector, about the level of attacks on employees. The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, of which I declare that I am a member, and the British Retail Consortium support the Freedom From Fear campaign regarding physical attacks on people in the workplace. Among those who work in the retail sector, 4% said that they

Column number: 528 
had been physically attacked during the past 12 months. Statistics consistently indicate that 10% of those who work in the retail sector have been attacked by a customer at some point in their career, and at least once a month nearly one in 10 people who work in the retail sector report to their superiors threats of violence. Such violence is under-reported; on many occasions, physical violence occurs but is not reported to management. 

I will not press the new clause to a Division, but I want to put on the agenda the fact that we need to look seriously at the problem of physical attacks on people at work, and I want the Minister to consider whether we need to send a signal. Although the new clause is mostly focused on those who work in the retail sector, it applies equally to those who work on public transport, as street cleaners or in a whole range of jobs where they come into contact with the public and face the threat of intimidation and attack every day. Five years ago, the rate of physical attacks on shop workers was 16 per thousand, but the Freedom From Fear campaign—led by USDAW and the British Retail Consortium and organised by workers in the industry, both in management and in the wider work force—has, thankfully, led to a fall in the number of attacks, as a result of greater awareness and a wide range of preventive measures including CCTV and training. Despite that campaign, however, the rate of incidents is still 12 per 1,000 workers, and physical attacks are a common feature of shop life. Last year, 30,000 attacks on shop staff were reported. Taking into account the under-reporting of such incidents, the issue is clearly one that the Committee must address. 

The new clause provides an opportunity for the Minister to consider whether attacking an individual in the course of their employment should be considered an aggravating factor, as is the case with hospital workers and others in the public sector. There are many triggers for such attacks. An independent assessment indicates that refusal to sell age-restricted products such as cigarettes and alcohol accounts for approximately 30% of attacks. Shop theft and its prevention—an issue we discussed last week, which might involve apprehending people—account for about 15% of attacks, and around 7% of attacks arise from a refusal to serve alcohol to people who are drunk at a retail establishment. Self-scanned tills are increasingly the norm in many supermarkets, and 6% of attacks on shop workers happen when they spot people who are not scanning items—effectively, stealing. Those are the day-to-day shop attacks, but there are more severe attacks, which I will come to in a moment. 

Chris Skidmore (Kingswood) (Con):  I seek clarification to understand the new clause. Surely a physical attack is already a criminal offence. Is the right hon. Gentleman asking for a specific, separate form of assault on shop workers to be defined? All the examples he has given would be classed under an existing offence, such as physical assault. 

Mr Hanson:  I appreciate that, but I am trying to consider parity. If an individual assaults a nurse at a hospital or a DWP worker behind the counter at a DWP establishment, that is an aggravated offence. The purpose of the new clause, which might need to be revisited and re-examined, is to consider whether people

Column number: 529 
in the private sector—predominantly shop workers, but also transport workers and others who work with the public—should be brought within the agreement that operates for those in the public sector. For example, an assault on a police officer represents a severe aggravated offence. 

We have tabled the new clause to test the Committee and to put the item on the agenda. Although such matters are covered by the offence of assault, the issue is whether there is parity between those in the public sector and those in the private. Someone working in a betting shop, an off-licence or a supermarket, or on a bus run by a private company, does their job in the same way as a nurse or another public sector worker. An attack on a nurse or a public sector worker would be an aggravated offence under sentencing guidelines. The purpose of the new clause is to generate discussion and, I hope, secure a response from the Minister. 

The more serious examples would, I concede, receive a custodial sentence. Some such examples have been in the news. Just this week, an attack on a betting shop worker was caught on CCTV cameras. It was an unprovoked attack that left the victim injured and shaken. The impact of such attacks on people in the workplace should not be underestimated. These are people going about their daily work—serving in a betting shop in this case—but facing physical attack, which, if caught, is subject to penalties. There is a difference between someone in a hospital and someone in a betting shop. I think that the protection, if it applies, is for someone doing their job, so should we have parity? That is the question I put to the Minister. 

To give further examples, there was a machete raid on a corner shop in which an individual suffered severe lacerations to his hand. That theft happened in Oldham, not too far from your constituency, Mr Dobbin. Only £150 was stolen from the till, but that machete raid caused fear and intimidation—potentially aggravating factors that could be taken into account. There is also CCTV footage showing a shopkeeper losing fingers in a samurai sword attack at a convenience store, and if the perpetrator is caught there will be a conviction, but I think that that is similar to an attack carried out in a hospital. I could list many incidents whereby individuals doing their job—filling shelves, serving customers—have been attacked or intimidated because of that job. We need to reflect on that and I want to hear from the Minister. 

The British Retail Consortium estimates that 35,000 staff have suffered physical or verbal abuse and threats in the past year. Although it is taking welcome steps and has recently issued guidelines to retailers to look at training, behaviour and CCTV, attacks on staff are at such a significant level that the matter needs to be addressed. 

In moving the new clause, I simply wish to place the item on the agenda, so that we can get some flavour from the Government and an indication of whether consideration could be given during the passage of the Bill to offering legislative support to the “Freedom from Fear” campaign,—which is backed, particularly, by the retail industry across the board, unions and management—to try to send signals, but also to have an aggravating offence and thereby reduce attacks on people working in the private sector. 

Column number: 530 

Damian Green:  I thank the right hon. Gentleman for bringing an important issue to the Committee’s attention. Everyone should be able to carry out their day-to-day work without fearing violence, threatening behaviour or any form of abuse. There are, as he says, many people in both the private and public sectors whose daily work brings them face to face with the public. It is essential that we are satisfied that the law adequately addresses acts of violence against those people. 

There is already a range of offences that have general application that criminalise violent behaviour, which would apply in the cases raised by the right hon. Gentleman. Those offences cover the full spectrum of unacceptable behaviour, from using abusive language to the more serious and violent offences featured in the newspaper reports he referred to. Where an offence results in severe injuries, the offender is likely to face charges of actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm, for which substantial custodial sentences are available. 

The key point is that sentencing guidelines already specify that an offence committed against those working in the public sector or providing a service to the public is an aggravating factor, resulting in a more severe sentence within the maximum set by Parliament. For common assault, the maximum custodial sentence is effectively six months’ imprisonment, which is the maximum for a summary offence. For actual bodily harm, the maximum is five years’ imprisonment. For wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, it is life imprisonment. 

As the right hon. Gentleman explained, the new clause would duplicate existing offences. That is not only unnecessary, but would risk creating difficulties for prosecutors when deciding which offence to prosecute. Practically, it would not further the aim of criminalising unacceptable conduct against those whom the new clause aims to protect. 

The right hon. Gentleman made the point that people in the private sector should be protected as well as those in the public sector, which I completely agree with. Sentencing guidelines ensure that a range of aggravating factors may be taken into account, and I hope they would be in cases of the sort he mentioned. 

There is no evidence to suggest that courts find their powers to sentence for assault inadequate, and higher penalties are available for incidents that cause more serious harm. Although the right hon. Gentleman and those bodies in the retail world are right to make this suggestion—I welcome the campaign that he mentioned to try to make workers in those industries safer—I can find no evidence that the courts, or the criminal justice system more widely, have gaps in their armoury for dealing with such extremely reprehensible behaviour. I hope he is reassured that the law, in respect of the offences and the sentencing powers, is in the right place to protect those whose work brings them into contact with members of the public. 

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for raising that important issue, but hope he feels reassured enough to withdraw the new clause. 

11.15 am 

Mr Hanson:  As I said, I do not intend to press the new clause to a Division; I simply wanted to raise the serious issue of attacks at work on people who are

Column number: 531 
not in the public sector. That, predominantly, is in the retail sector, because of the nature of retail business. There is still a discrepancy in the legislative capacity to take on board the issues I have mentioned. 

There is a presumption in public sector guidelines about aggravated offences in relation to attacks on people at work in the public sector, most notably attacks on police. An individual serving in a shop, on private sector public transport, in a betting shop or in other similar settings is undertaking their work in just the same way as someone in a local hospital’s accident and emergency department, or in the local jobcentre, where some people lose their temper and behave aggressively. I am seeking parity in those matters. 

Because of the time, and given that we want to complete our proceedings shortly, I have discussed the matter briefly, but I hope that the Minister and his officials will examine the issues in detail. We may return to the matter in due course, in this House or another place, but for the moment I am content to hear what the Minister says, and to thank him for his response. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.  

New Clause 19 

Irregular rendition 

‘(1) A person who conducts, participates in or facilitates the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one country to another commits an offence.

(2) An offence is committed under subsection (1),

(a) whether the apprehension of the person takes place in the United Kingdom or not,

(b) whether the transfer of the person is to or from the United Kingdom or not.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction on indictment to a term not exceeding life imprisonment.’.—(Stephen Phillips.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Stephen Phillips:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

It is not my intention to press the new clause to a Division. As the Committee will have seen, it would create a specific offence in relation to irregular or extraordinary rendition, which, perhaps bizarrely—certainly surprisingly—is not already a specific offence in the United Kingdom. I shall not detain the Committee long, but I want to draw the Minister’s attention to that. 

There are, of course, other offences that may be committed during such rendition—an appalling practice of which we heard much in the past decade or so. However, I understand that no offence at all is committed when someone facilitates an irregular or extraordinary rendition of a national, whether they are passing through the United Kingdom or not. 

No doubt the Government are already aware of that situation, but it seems to me that they should be thinking about how they will tackle it. Similarly, they will no doubt want to consider, on the back of this debate, or otherwise, whether the existing plethora of criminal offences that might be committed when irregular rendition takes place would be sufficient deterrence against something that is an attack on any civilized society. 

Column number: 532 

Damian Green:  As my hon. and learned Friend said, the new clause would create a broad new offence, which would criminalise the transfer of detainees between jurisdictions in the absence of judicial authorisation, as well as acts supporting or facilitating such transfers. The offence would be universal in its jurisdiction, so it would capture any act falling under its terms carried out by any person anywhere in the world, and would be punishable by a sentence up to life imprisonment. 

My hon. and learned Friend has explained that he does not intend to press the clause to a vote, so I shall not go into great detail about the problems that I feel it might create, but I will respond to his main point, which is an extremely good one. It goes without saying that the Government stand firmly against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. We do not do it or condone it, and we do not ask others to do it on our behalf. 

That includes what is commonly known as extraordinary rendition, which I understand would come within the term “irregular rendition” that my hon. and learned Friend has used. It is not a defined term in either UK or international law, but it is widely understood to refer to the extra-judicial transfer of a detainee from one country to another, for the purpose of detention and interrogation outside the normal legal system, where there is a real risk that the detainee will be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. That is the definition suggested by the Intelligence and Security Committee in its 2007 report on rendition. 

We do not co-operate with other countries on any transfer of an individual where we believe there is a real risk of such mistreatment, and we condemn any extraordinary rendition. Our international partners are well aware of our position, and the guidance issued to intelligence and military personnel on how to deal with detainees held by other countries is published for all to see. That makes it clear that, first, personnel must never take any action where they know or believe torture will occur, and secondly, if personnel become aware of abuses by other countries, they should report it to the UK Government so that we can try to stop it. There is clear guidance out there.

A key fact to which it is worth drawing the Committee’s attention is that a police investigation is currently under way into allegations that the UK was unlawfully involved in the rendition of a number of Libyan nationals in 2004. That is exactly the type of activity that I understand my hon. and learned Friend’s new clause to be aimed at. The fact that such an investigation is currently taking place is compelling evidence that the police are able to investigate suspected offences under the existing legal framework. The conduct and the outcome of such investigations are entirely a matter for the police, but I can confirm that the Government are co-operating fully. 

I hope that that reassures my hon. and learned Friend that such matters are taken seriously, although he is already aware of that, and that the powers are not only there, but are currently being used by the police to investigate a practical case in which such an activity is alleged to have happened. He has indicated that he does not intend to move the new clause, but I hope that I have been able to provide him with some reassurance, at least. 

Column number: 533 

Stephen Phillips:  I think I have already moved it, but I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.  

New Schedule 1 

powers to seize invalid passports etc 

Interpretation

1 (1) In this Schedule “examining officer” means—

(a) a constable,

(b) a person appointed as an immigration officer under paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971, or

(c) a general customs official designated under section 3(1) of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009.

(2) In this Schedule “travel document” means anything that is, or appears to be, a passport or other document which—

(a) has been issued by or for Her Majesty’s Government, or the government of another state, and

(b) enables or facilitates travel from one state to another.

(3) For the purposes of this Schedule a travel document is “invalid” if—

(a) it has been cancelled,

(b) it has expired,

(c) it was not issued by the government or authority by which it purports to have been issued, or

(d) it has undergone an unauthorised alteration.

(4) In this Schedule “port” means—

(a) an airport,

(b) a sea port,

(c) a hoverport,

(d) a heliport,

(e) a railway station where passenger trains depart for, or arrive from, places outside the United Kingdom, or

(f) any other place at which a person is able, or attempting, to get on or off any craft, vessel or vehicle in connection with entering or leaving Great Britain or Northern Ireland.

Powers of search and seizure etc: ports

2 (1) An examining officer may exercise any of the powers under this paragraph in the case of a person at a port whom the officer believes to be there in connection with—

(a) entering or leaving Great Britain or Northern Ireland, or

(b) travelling by air within Great Britain or within Northern Ireland.

(2) The powers are—

(a) to require the person to hand over all travel documents in his or her possession for inspection by the examining officer;

(b) to search for travel documents and to take possession of any that the officer finds;

(c) to inspect any travel document taken from the person and to retain it while its validity is checked;

(d) (subject to paragraph 4) to retain any travel document taken from the person that the examining officer believes to be invalid.

(3) The power under sub-paragraph (2)(b) is a power to search—

(a) the person;

(b) anything that the person has with him or her;

(c) any vehicle in which the examining officer believes the person to have been travelling or to be about to travel.

Column number: 534 

(4) An examining officer may stop a person or vehicle for the purposes of exercising a power under this paragraph.

Powers of search and seizure etc: constables

3 (1) A constable may exercise any of the powers under this paragraph, at a place that is not a port, in the case of a person whom the constable reasonably believes to be in possession of a passport to which this paragraph applies.

(2) This paragraph applies to a passport if—

(a) the passport was issued by or for Her Majesty’s Government,

(b) the Secretary of State has cancelled the passport on the basis that the person to whom it was issued has or may have been, or will or may become, involved in activities so undesirable that it is contrary to the public interest for the person to have access to passport facilities, and

(c) the passport is specified in an authorisation issued by the Secretary of State for the use of the powers under this paragraph.

(3) The powers are—

(a) to require the person to hand over all travel documents in his or her possession for inspection by the constable;

(b) to search for travel documents and to take possession of any that the constable finds;

(c) to inspect any travel document taken from the person and to retain it while its validity is checked;

(d) (subject to paragraph 4) to retain any travel document taken from the person that the constable believes to be invalid.

(4) The power under sub-paragraph (3)(b) is a power to search—

(a) the person;

(b) anything that the person has with him or her;

(c) any vehicle in which the constable believes the person to have been travelling or to be about to travel;

(d) any premises on which the constable is lawfully present.

Retention or return of documents seized

4 (1) If a travel document is retained under paragraph 2(2)(c) or 3(3)(c) while its validity is checked, the checking must be carried out as soon as possible.

(2) If it is established that a travel document taken from a person under paragraph 2 or 3—

(a) is valid, or

(b) is invalid only because it has expired,

it must be returned to the person straight away.

(3) A travel document taken from a person under paragraph 2 or 3 must be returned to the person before the end of the period of 7 days beginning with the day on which it was taken, unless during that period it is established that the document is invalid for some reason other than expiry.

(4) A requirement under sub-paragraph (2)(b) or (3) to return an expired travel document does not apply where the officer concerned reasonably believes that the person from whom he or she took the document, or some other person, intends to use it for purposes for which it is no longer valid.

(5) A requirement under sub-paragraph (2) or (3) to return a travel document has effect subject to any provision not in this Schedule under which the document may be lawfully retained.

General

5 (1) An examining officer may if necessary use reasonable force for the purpose of exercising a power under paragraph 2 or 3.

(2) An examining officer may authorise a person to carry out on the officer’s behalf a search under paragraph 2 or 3.

Column number: 535 

Offences

6 (1) A person who is required under paragraph 2(2)(a) or 3(3)(a) to hand over all travel documents in the person’s possession commits an offence if he or she fails without reasonable excuse to do so.

(2) A person who intentionally obstructs, or seeks to frustrate, a search under paragraph 2 or 3 commits an offence.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph is liable on summary conviction—

(a) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or

(b) to a fine, which in Scotland or Northern Ireland may not exceed £5,000,

or to both.

7 An examining officer, other than a constable, exercising a power under paragraph 2 has the same powers of arrest without warrant as a constable in relation to an offence under—

(a) paragraph 6, or

(b) section 4 or 6 of the Identity Documents Act 2010.’.—(Damian Green.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

Clause 137 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Schedule 7 

Minor and consequential amendments 

Amendments made: 112, in schedule 7, page 146, line 16, at end insert— 

‘( ) In paragraph 20A(4), at the end there is inserted “, but this is subject to paragraph 19ZD (restriction on disclosure of sensitive information)”.

( ) In paragraph 20C(4)—

(a) the words from the beginning to “sub-paragraph (3),” are omitted;

(b) at the end there is inserted “, except so far as—

(a) regulations made by virtue of sub-paragraph (3) provide otherwise, or

(b) the Commission is prevented from doing so by paragraph 19ZD (restriction on disclosure of sensitive information).”

( ) In paragraph 20H(5)—

(a) the words from the beginning to “sub-paragraph (4),” are omitted;

(b) at the end there is inserted “, except so far as—

(a) regulations made by virtue of sub-paragraph (4) provide otherwise, or

(b) the Commission is prevented from doing so by paragraph 19ZD (restriction on disclosure of sensitive information).”

( ) In paragraph 23(12)—

(a) the words from the beginning to “sub-paragraph (11),” are omitted;

(b) at the end there is inserted “, except so far as—

(a) regulations made by virtue of sub-paragraph (11) provide otherwise, or

(b) the Commission is prevented from doing so by paragraph 19ZD (restriction on disclosure of sensitive information).”

( ) In paragraph 24A(3), after “a report” there is inserted “to the Commission”.’.

Amendment 148, in schedule 7, page 148, line 3, at end insert— 

‘ In section 11 of the Extradition Act 2003 (bars to extradition), in subsection (1A), for “by reason of forum only” there is substituted “by reason of—

(a) absence of prosecution decision, or

(b) forum,

only”.’.

Amendment 149, in schedule 7, page 148, line 3, at end insert— 

Column number: 536 

‘ (1) Section 21 of that Act (human rights) is amended as follows.

(1) For the heading there is substituted “Person unlawfully at large: human rights”.

(2) In subsection (1) the words “11 or” are omitted.’.

Amendment 150, in schedule 7, page 148, line 6, at end insert— 

‘ In section 35 of that Act (extradition where there is no appeal), after subsection (4) there is inserted—

“(4A) If the day referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (4) is earlier than the earliest day on which, by reason of an order under section 36A or 36B, the extradition order may be carried out (“the postponed date”), that paragraph has effect as if it referred instead to the postponed date.”

In section 36 of that Act (extradition following appeal), after subsection (3) there is inserted—

“(3A) If the day referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (3) is earlier than the earliest day on which, by reason of an order under section 36A or 36B, the extradition order may be carried out (“the postponed date”), that paragraph has effect as if it referred instead to the postponed date.”’.

Amendment 151, in schedule 7, page 148, line 6, at end insert— 

‘ In section 66 of that Act (supplementary provision for the purposes of sections 64 and 65), in subsection (1), for “(2)” there is substituted “(1A)”.’.

Amendment 152, in schedule 7, page 148, line 12, at end insert— 

‘ In section 117 of that Act (extradition where there is no appeal), in subsection (2), for the words after “28 days” there is substituted “starting with—

(a) the day on which the Secretary of State makes the extradition order, or

(b) if an order is made under section 118A or 118B, the earliest day on which the extradition order may be carried out.”

In section 118 of that Act (extradition following appeal), after subsection (2) there is inserted——

“(2A) But if the day referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3) is earlier than the earliest day on which, by reason of an order under section 118A or 118B, the extradition order may be carried out (“the postponed date”), the required period is 28 days beginning with the postponed date.”’.

Amendment 153, in schedule 7, page 148, line 12, at end insert— 

‘In section 137 (definition of extradition offence for the purposes of Part 2 of the Act: person not sentenced for offence) subsection (9) is repealed.

In section 138 (definition of extradition offence for the purposes of Part 2 of the Act: person sentenced for offence) subsection (9) is repealed.’

Amendment 154, in schedule 7, page 148, line 12, at end insert— 

‘ (1) Section 197 of that Act (custody) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1), at the end there is inserted—

“This is subject to the power to order the temporary transfer of a person under section 21B.”

(3) After subsection (6) there is inserted—

“(6A) An order for a person’s temporary transfer under section 21B is sufficient authority for an appropriate person—

(a) to receive him;

(b) to keep him in custody until he is transferred in accordance with the order;

(c) to convey him to and from the territory to which he is to be transferred;

(d) on his return from that territory, to keep him in custody until he is brought back to the institution to which he was committed.”’.

Column number: 537 

Amendment 155, in schedule 7, page 148, line 29, at end insert— 

‘ In Part 1 of Schedule 1 to that Act (re-extradition: category 1 territories), in paragraph 3, after “21(3)” there is inserted “and section 21A(5)”.’.—(Damian Green.)

Schedule 7, as amended, agreed to.  

Clause s 138 and 139 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Clause 140 

Extent 

Amendments made: 109, in clause 140, page 107, line 30, at end insert— 

‘() section [Retention of personal samples that are or may be disclosable](1);’.

Amendment 145, in clause 140, page 107, line 31, at end insert— 

‘() section [Criminal Procedure Rules to apply to extradition proceedings etc];’.

Amendment 146, in clause 140, page 108, line 2, at end insert— 

‘() section [Powers to seize invalid passports etc] and Schedule [Powers to seize invalid passports etc];’.

Amendment 110, in clause 140, page 108, line 2, at end insert— 

‘() section [Retention of personal samples that are or may be disclosable](2);’.

Amendment 147, in clause 140, page 108, line 4, after ‘11’, insert 

‘, except section [Criminal Procedure Rules to apply to extradition proceedings etc]’.—(Damian Green.)  

Cla use 140, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Clauses 141 and 142 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

 

The Chair:  The question is that the Chair do report the Bill, as amended, to the House. 

Mr Hanson:  On a point of order, Mr Dobbin. 

The Chair:  I was in full swing there, David. 

Mr Hanson:  You were indeed. I was in discussion with the Minister on an area of mutual co-operation: how best to thank—and who first does so—you and Sir Roger as Chairs of the Committee. On behalf of the official Opposition, I thank you and Sir Roger for your patience in dealing with members of the Committee during our debates. 

I extend those thanks to the Clerks, who have been extremely helpful in our discussions on tabling amendments. As usual, I thank the Badge Messengers, and Hansard for eternally turning my gibberish into something reasonable. 

I thank our colleagues, the Ministers, who have answered our questions, but will, I hope, also reflect on some of the points made in Committee. In particular, I thank my hon. Friends on the Opposition Benches for their contributions. Some have attended a Committee for the first time and I hope that they have found it useful, although I am sure that it will be a long time before they attend a Committee for a second time. 

I especially thank the Government Whip and my hon. Friend the Member for Sedgefield for their co-operation, and I thank the Government Back Benchers, who have provided some useful and challenging scrutiny, as well as loyally voting with the Government on some of the issues that divide us—[Hon. Members: “In some

Column number: 538 
cases.”] In some cases. They have provided a function, about which, as a Minister, I would have been annoyed, but which has genuinely helped make the debate a much more interesting experience than it otherwise would have been. I hope that the Minister will reflect on some of those matters. Lastly, I thank the outside bodies that have given advice and support on some of the amendments. 

In Committee, I have got to know some Members better than I did beforehand, and I have learned a little about some of the issues that we face. The official Opposition will certainly return to some of those matters, so I hope that we get some traction and movement on them before the Bill completes its passage through both Houses. 

Damian Green:  Further to that point of order, Mr Dobbin. On behalf of Government Members, I thank you, Mr Dobbin, and Sir Roger, not only for keeping the Committee under control, but for speeding the debate through appropriately. 

The Bill leaves the Committee in a better state than it arrived, so the entire Committee, whether Government or Opposition Members, can feel proud that they have done their job and scrutinised it well. I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Delyn and the hon. Member for Ashfield, in her first outing in a Bill Committee, for their largely constructive approach. It is understandable that we do not agree on all aspects of the Bill, but, as the right hon. Gentleman says, we will take some things away to think about. 

I, too, thank the Government and Opposition Whips, not least for achieving the smoothness of business that has allowed us to take the odd afternoon off in the many months that the Bill seems to have been going through the House—[ Interruption. ] Not of course, as was said from a sedentary position, that that was in any way their primary motivation. 

I extend my thanks to all Committee members, in particular those who have enjoyed this especially life-enhancing experience for the first time. I know that they will all be back for more shortly. 

I join the right hon. Gentleman in thanking the Clerks, Hansard, the Doorkeepers and all those who ensure that the Committee runs smoothly. I add thanks to our officials from the Home Office and, for a short period, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for attempting to make Ministers appear more knowledgeable and coherent than they might do if left to their own devices. 

I am conscious that we are now going into extra time, so we can all wish each other a good summer holiday. 

The Chair:  On behalf of Sir Roger Gale, I thank all members of the Committee—Government and Opposition —for their discipline, for the humour that was sometimes introduced into a very serious subject and, of course, for the very high quality of the debates. I thank Steven Mark, his team and all the officials who have been present during the Bill Committee. I have enjoyed it excessively, so thanks very much to everybody. Enjoy the afternoon. 

Bill, as amended, to be reported.  

11.29 am 

Committee rose. 

Column number: 539 
Written evidence reported to the House

ASB 45 The Kennel Club 

ASB 46 Vera Baird, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria 

ASB 47 Home Office, Damian Green MP, Minister of State, to Stephen Phillips QC, MP 

ASB 48 Home Office, Jeremy Browne MP, Minister of State, to Stephen Phillips QC, MP 

ASB 49 Living Streets 

ASB 50 The Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management 

Column number: 540 

ASB 51 Leeds City Council 

ASB 52 Angelus Foundation 

ASB 53 The British Horse Society 

ASB 54 Play England 

ASB 55 CHP 

ASB 56 The Motoring Organisations’ Land Access & Recreation Association 

ASB 57 Skills for Justice on behalf of the JSSC group 

ASB 58 Inspector Jim Tyner 

ASB 59 Victim Support 

Prepared 17th July 2013