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As the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, has made plain, we have worked very hard to think of how we could accommodate this concern, which we not only accept but want to allay because it was not our intention. The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, was right to raise the concerns expressed by ACPO and the Association of Police Authorities. In all fairness, I must tell your Lordships that the two government amendments in this group provide those associations with considerable and significant reassurance. They are now both in a position to welcome the Government’s amendments.

Perhaps I may explore why they have welcomed them. Beyond choosing where to live, local people have no effective choice about the police service that they receive. The intervention powers therefore need to be in place to ensure that the Government have a means of driving performance improvement in cases where policing has fallen below an acceptable level. As I said, intervention powers are powers of last resort. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, gave exciting examples, but I think that even as she

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said them she did not suggest that they were really convincing as a basis on which a Home Secretary was likely to intervene. Her smile gave that away, as enchanting as it always is.

Our experience of last resort is borne out by the first five years or so of these powers being available to the Home Secretary. He has not needed to use them, as other non-statutory resolutions to performance issues have proved sufficient. A situation will require formal intervention only if results are not forthcoming or police forces or police authorities are unwilling to engage. The rationale for the Government’s revisions to existing powers is based on experience of dealing with performance failings gained since the inception of the original powers. The revisions are about framing the powers to provide the most focused and effective response to performance failings in police forces and police authorities.

Amendment No. 38, tabled in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, seeks to remove all the changes introduced in the Bill. We believe that the changes are necessary to better reflect how we work in practice with forces and authorities, and to ensure that they serve as an effective lever of continuous performance improvement. The Government have been concerned about the length of time that forces and authorities can take to put effective improvement plans into operation. Effective powers need to be available if performance improvements are not forthcoming. The changes to be provided by this Bill are merely intended to make the process more efficient and more in line with how they may be used in practice.

Amendments Nos. 39 and 46 propose a definition for the level of performance failing that would lead to intervention as “serious and permanent” failure. Furthermore, the intervention will occur exceptionally, only if there is no alternative. We realise that to clarify or define the type or level of failing may provide some comfort, although we are not convinced that it would be helpful to add such wording. Intervention powers are intended to be used only in the most serious cases, but it would be illogical to wait for any failing to become permanent before action was taken. It is worth reminding the House that there is no such test in the existing intervention powers approved by this House in 2002, which has not inured to our disadvantage.

There are a number of safeguards to ensure that the powers of intervention are used in only the most exceptional cases and when all other methods of achieving the necessary improvements in performance have been attempted. Most importantly, intervention will not take place unless the police force or police authority had previously been made aware of the performance failings and had been given the opportunity to remedy those failings. There is also the option of non-statutory engagement with the Police Standards Unit, which in practice is most likely to occur before any intervention is considered.

We have listened to the previous debate on the definition of a threshold that must be met before intervention powers are utilised. Moreover, we are

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aware that the removal of the inspectorate as the only trigger for the intervention powers has also raised concern. That is why government Amendment No. 45 places an obligation on the Secretary of State to consult the new Inspectorate for Justice, Community Safety and Custody—I hear what the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, says about that—in all cases where it is proposed that the powers are used, and to publish the inspectorate’s opinion on the evidence which has led to that proposed course of action. That is intended to ensure that the inspectorate’s professional, independent advice is available to the Secretary of State on whether the use of the powers is, in its opinion, the right course of action.

I listened carefully to what the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, said about police authorities. I agree that the new requirement on the Home Secretary to seek the views of the Chief Inspector for Justice, Community Safety and Custody before issuing a direction in relation to the police force should also apply before any direction is issued in relation to a police authority. That makes sense, and I can see why the noble Baroness makes that suggestion. I can therefore assure the noble Baroness that we will bring forward an appropriate amendment at Third Reading. I endorse what my noble friend Lady Henig said. Inspecting police authorities and their function gives us a good avenue through which to ensure that we respond proportionately and appropriately.

The noble Baroness, Lady Harris, also said that the Home Office basically has the skills and knowledge to intervene in this way. I of course accept that this is new territory, but that should not stop us from doing the right thing. Elsewhere this Bill provides, for the first time, for police authorities to be inspected. These amendments go hand in glove with that change.

Amendments Nos. 41 and 42 would remove the ability of the Secretary of State to intervene directly with a chief officer of a failing force rather than via the police authority. Learning through our non-statutory work with police forces has demonstrated that the best way to deal with performance problems is to go straight to those, such as the chief officer, who can implement the changes necessary to turn around performance. That is more easily achieved if direct contact is made from the start. The same is true of initial direct contact with the police authority. The change we are making in the Bill is not intended to bypass the police authority or its critical role in holding the force to account for its performance. It has always been our intention that the usual route for intervention would be through the police authority, but we recognise that there might be some occasions when the police authority may not feel able or be able to take the necessary steps.

We are, however, sensitive to the concerns that this direct intervention has raised during the passage of the Bill. Government Amendment No. 43 makes our intentions clearer and will hopefully reassure the House. The amendment provides that the powers are routed directly to the chief officer only in two specific instances: first, where the police authority has also been shown to be failing; and, secondly, where the police authority has specifically requested

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intervention by the Home Secretary as the most effective way to rectify the problems.

Finally, Amendment No. 44 seeks to remove the Secretary of State’s ability to intervene without delay when he is satisfied that the chief officer or the police authority have, in respect of the police force or police authority, failings, having been given sufficient information and time to remedy those failings. Again, these revisions to the Police Act are not about removing safeguards, but reflect our experience of working with underperforming forces and what is needed to enable us to get to the heart of the problem quickly. Where a new performance issue arises, of course the expectation is that the force and the authority will be given the time and opportunity to address it, and we would work to help them were such a request for assistance to be made. However, when the force or authority has failed to address problems it has been made aware of and on which it has been given ample time to act, for example via an engagement with the Police Standards Unit or an earlier inspection report, a different solution would need to apply. We feel that it would be illogical, where a longstanding and known performance issue had persisted and gone unresolved, for our response at that point to be to hand back the problem to the force or authority without any stronger and more immediate requirement for its resolution. These provisions will ensure that the necessary action can be taken to address serious failings which have gone unattended.

In conclusion, we have listened very carefully to the concerns about these provisions and we believe that the government amendments meet them. We believe, too, that we have satisfied the concerns raised by the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers, both of which have welcomed our amendments. In those circumstances, we invite noble Lords also to welcome them and ask the noble Baroness not to press her amendments.

Baroness Harris of Richmond: My Lords, first I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and Members on the Conservative Benches for their support. I have listened carefully to the Minister and I am grateful for her long clarification. I acknowledge that she has given some reassurance about the role of HMIC in determining whether a force is failing. I also acknowledge that an authority must be failing before the Secretary of State can intervene in a force, or that the authority must first request such an intervention. Again, I agree that that is a significant step forward. However, having considered this carefully, and given the constitutional importance of this part of the Bill, I think that more is needed.

I have already rehearsed my fundamental objections to these proposals so I shall not dwell on them again, but these are matters of significant constitutional importance that, if implemented as they stand, could unbalance the tripartite relationship through which our policing in this country is governed. They also go to the core of the balance that needs to be achieved between central prescription and local determination in order to safeguard the interests

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of our communities. In this Bill, and especially in this schedule, we have seen clause after clause giving additional powers to the Secretary of State to determine through regulation many aspects which until now have been set out in primary legislation, particularly in respect of the role of police authorities. I am delighted that, as a result of our arguments and debates in this House, at least some of these provisions will now be put back into primary legislation, but much is left which represents a charter to micromanage significant elements of policing if the Secretary of State is so minded. Does he not have enough to do at the moment?

We all want to ensure that the policing of this country is the most effective we can make it, but driving a cart and horse through key constitutional safeguards is not the way to go about it. I believe that this is a step too far in the direction of central prescription and direction. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

6.16 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 38) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 144; Not-Contents, 125.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alliance, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Best, L.
Blaker, L.
Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury, B.
Bradshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Burnett, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chidgey, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cotter, L.
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Cumberlege, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
De Mauley, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dykes, L.
Erroll, E.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Fearn, L.
Fookes, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Freeman, L.
Garden, L.
Geddes, L.
Glasgow, E.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Greenway, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Henley, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howard of Rising, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Jacobs, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laird, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.

9 Oct 2006 : Column 71

Mackie of Benshie, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mawhinney, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Neuberger, B.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Noakes, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Palmer, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rennard, L.
Rix, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Roper, L.
Rotherwick, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L. [Teller]
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stern, B.
Stewartby, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Holbeach, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Tonge, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trimble, L.
Tyler, L.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Waddington, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Windlesham, L.


Acton, L.
Adonis, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Boyd of Duncansby, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Carter, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Cunningham of Felling, L.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Donoughue, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L. [Teller]
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Filkin, L.
Ford, B.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Jones of Whitchurch, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Layard, L.
Lipsey, L.

9 Oct 2006 : Column 72

Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Low of Dalston, L.
McDonagh, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Handsworth, L.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prosser, B.
Puttnam, L.
Quin, B.
Radice, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

6.26 pm

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 49:

(a) make provision supplementing that made by this section (or by regulations under paragraph (b)); (b) make provision applying in place of subsection (2) in relation to the City of London police area. (a) provision requiring a police authority to review arrangements made under this section from time to time; (b) provision (further to that made by subsection (2) or by regulations under subsection (6)(b)) as to persons whom a police authority is to consult in making or reviewing the arrangements; (c) provision as to matters to which a police authority is to have regard in making or reviewing the arrangements; (d) provision for the Secretary of State, if not satisfied with the adequacy of arrangements made under this section by a police authority, to require the authority- (i) to submit reports to him concerning the arrangements; (ii) to review the arrangements. (a) the Association of Police Authorities, (b) the Association of Chief Police Officers, and (c) such other persons as he thinks fit.

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 50 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 51:

“POWER TO MERGE POLICE PENSION SCHEMES Introduction “the 1976 Act” means the Police Pensions Act 1976; “1976 Act scheme” means a pension scheme established by regulations under section 1 of the 1976 Act (pensions for police in Great Britain); “the 1998 Act” means the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998; “1998 Act scheme” means a pension scheme established by regulations under section 25(2)(k) of the 1998 Act (pensions for members of Police Service of Northern Ireland) or section 26(2)(g) of that Act (pensions for members of Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve); “police pension scheme” means a 1976 Act scheme or a 1998 Act scheme; “police pensions regulations” means- (a) regulations under section 1 of the 1976 Act; (b) regulations under section 25(2)(k) or 26(2)(g) of the 1998 Act. Power to merge police pension schemes (a) revoke those provisions of the police pensions regulations that apply to persons who became members of a police pension scheme before 6th April 2006, and (b) make equivalent provision establishing a single pension scheme for the benefit of those persons. (a) are made as a result of consolidating the provisions of the different police pensions regulations into a single pension scheme, and (b) do not make the scheme less beneficial to any member of it than the police pension scheme of which he was previously a member. Exercise of power to establish merged scheme Exercise of power to amend merged scheme (a) any provision of the 1976 Act applying to regulations under section 1 of that Act, (b) any provision of Northern Ireland legislation applying to regulations under section 25(2)(k) of the 1998 Act, and
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