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Baroness Hayman: My Lords, with regard to the latter point, I am sure that the veterinary associations will note what the noble Countess has said. We have had a very good response. The size of the State Veterinary Service has effectively doubled during the present outbreak as a result of temporary veterinary inspectors coming in to assist. I know that discussion is taking place about the level of fees.

With regard to the issue of recordkeeping, almost by definition, one cannot be aware of non-existent, or sometimes bad, recordkeeping. The main problem has occurred at markets where out-of-ring transactions have taken place. Clear records exist of transactions that take place under the auspices of auctioneers and valuers. In the case of out-of-ring transactions, although both the purchaser and the vendor may have kept their own appropriate movement records, no central list is available, which has undoubtedly created tracing difficulties.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, returning to the question of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Hereford, will my noble friend tell me a little more about the movement of pregnant ewes in infected areas? I understand what is to happen in areas that are not infected. I hate to return again to the problem in Radnor, but some farmers there cannot move their pregnant ewes one mile to a field in their own ownership, and that is causing a certain amount of stress. I should be grateful if my noble friend would assure me that there will be some flexibility in that regard.

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I can assure my noble friend that we shall do everything possible to facilitate

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movements which do not increase disease risk. Until now, we have allowed very short movements in infected areas. Under the new scheme that we propose to put into effect, it may be possible to allow longer movements. The difficulty occurs in allowing any movement from an infected area into an area that is currently clean, which will be the case when some ewes need to return to west Wales, which is clean, from the South West, where there is infection. However, we should be able to solve the problems that exist in infected areas.

Lord Palmer: My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether she is completely convinced that her department is right in not telling the horse racing industry that horse racing should for the moment be completely banned?

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I am convinced that my department's responsibility is to give veterinary risk-assessment advice. We have taken very firm action to ban the highest risk; namely, the movement of susceptible livestock. We have taken action to provide veterinary advice, whether to associations of walkers, to the horse racing board or to tourism, about the risk assessment. We cannot take decisions in respect of every activity or sporting event. On veterinary advice, we have to ensure that if there is no argument for banning an event, we allow the risk-minimisation and risk-management advice to be given, on which people will take their own decisions.

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I have to declare an interest as a dairy farmer in Suffolk--a county which to my knowledge, thank God, has not yet been affected. Despite the good work being done by the Minster's department, there is, as she probably knows, increasing criticism of the length of time taken to dispose of corpses. Will the Minister consider handing over that responsibility to the Army, especially to the Royal Engineers, who have the equipment, the ability and the discipline to deal with it? This morning I talked to two Cumbrian farmers who are very worried that the disease may be spread by carrion, birds, foxes and rats from corpses that may take four or five days to dispose of.

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, I take the noble Lord's point about the importance of ensuring a speedy destruction of corpses. We shall take advice from the logistical unit of the Ministry of Defence as to the best mechanism for achieving that, whether it be by a private contractor or the Army. As I said on Tuesday, I quite understand the distress that is caused by the problem. In terms of disease control, however, the priority is the slaughter of the animals. Following slaughter, the animals cannot exhale the virus, they are sprayed with disinfectant and their decomposition changes the pH levels in the meat. The risk of transmission of the disease is therefore minimised to

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an insignificant level. However, we recognise that the disposal of corpses is still enormously distressing, and we want to deal with it as quickly as possible.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I believe that there is confusion in some people's minds about the contradiction between allowing stock to remain on a farm once it is dead, which the Minister told us on Tuesday was acceptable because of the minimal risk, and transporting the same stock to a rendering plant with the significantly greater protection of disinfection and containment in a sealed lorry. If stock has to go through that amount of additional protection, why is it still safe to leave it on a farm for days after its death?

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, we need to understand the distances with which we are dealing and the amount of movement involved. We also need to understand that, in some cases, as has been pointed out, lorries are being taken through non-infected areas. Rightly, everyone wants to ensure that our approach in that respect is as precautionary as possible. That is why we are taking precautions in relation to lorries.

Equally, we need to ensure the rapid disposal of animals on farms, and we are doing everything that we can to speed that up. I was simply trying to explain to the House that the risks of animals remaining on farms after slaughter are much lower than those of having diseased live animals on farms. We do not want any risk at all and we are doing everything to speed up disposal.

Criminal Justice and Police Bill

Brought from the Commons; read a first time, and to be printed.

Private Security Industry Bill [H.L.]

4.31 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 3 [Conduct prohibited without a licence]:

Lord Thomas of Gresford moved Amendment No. 1:

    Page 3, line 46, at end insert ("; or

("( ) he is required in the course of his employment to engage in licensable conduct falling within paragraph (b)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I must apologise for returning once again to the question of in-house employees and, in particular, to whether they should be licensed under the provisions of this Bill.

I do so for a number of reasons. First, I have been sent some correspondence between Mr Ian Goswell, who describes himself as "of the private security industry authority"--interestingly enough, because we have not set up that organisation--and the business law committee of accountants, I believe. In that e-mail, dated 23rd February last, he deals with the issue of students and those who are under secondment to accountancy firms. He says that the licensing

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requirement applies only to those whose main employment is concerned with the activities listed in Schedule 2 and as supplied under contract. Students or secondees employed by an accountancy firm would be in-house employees and would not, therefore, require a licence.

To my mind, that indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of the term "in-house employee". That expression would be correct only if, in the context in which it was being written, a student or secondee carried out private investigations for those who employed him; in other words, for the accountancy firm itself. Just as a doorkeeper is an in-house employee when he works for the firm that employs him, so a private investigator can be described as "in-house" only if he is engaged to investigate for the accountancy firm itself. However, as soon as clients enter into the equation--I imagine that that is the purpose of this correspondence--such people would cease to be in-house employees. I should like the Minister to consider whether the people within his department who are engaged with this Bill have dealt with the concept correctly.

I turn to the second reason why I raise this issue again. The Minister will recall that at Second Reading I indicated my opposition and the opposition of my party to the use of private security firms in carrying out police activities. Indeed, the noble Lord was kind enough to give assurances both to me and to the noble Lord, Lord Cope, that this was not a precursor to privatisation within the police service. He said:

    "That is not our intention in bringing forward the Bill. We have no great desire to contract out core police tasks. We believe that the police service is properly in the public sector. As many of your Lordships will know, we have spent extra resources and put more money into the police service. We want to shore it up. We do not want to hack away at it for fundamentals".--[Official Report, 18/12/00; col. 600.]

That was followed by the publication of the White Paper, Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead. In paragraph 3.158 of that paper it was indicated that experiments were to take place with the private security industry in carrying out core police functions. The White Paper states:

    "The private security industry will be subject to regulation under the Private Security Bill now before Parliament".

Therefore, when the White Paper was written, the contents of this Bill were clearly before the authors' minds.


it says,

    "no attempts have been made to link the overall contribution to public safety made by different bodies in a local area. The Government believes that there is scope for some evaluated schemes to determine the effect on public reassurance of the police accrediting and coordinating a range of independent bodies to work in conjunction with them in delivering community safety.

    "This might best be organised as a crime and disorder partnership initiative. Staff working on such schemes would be deployed to meet particular requirements and would not be diverted to meet other organisational priorities. They would not generally have the power of the constable and would be accountable to their employers, but their recognition as contributors to public safety would depend on police approval of the scheme in question".

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Therefore, the White Paper, Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead, envisages the use of private security firms to patrol the streets and to assist the police and community policing. If that is to be the case, I believe that it is essential that in-house employees are licensed under the Bill. Although I have broached this point on a number of occasions, I ask the Minister whether, in the light of the two matters that I have mentioned, he will rethink his position. I beg to move.

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