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Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, the Minister is completely correct. He said that I was not present for the beginning of his remarks. That is possible; I was elsewhere when he first started, waiting while that weary measure wound its awful, lengthy way through your Lordships' House. I must say that I was slightly surprised when, eventually, we actually got to the Bill that we were meant to have started on an hour and a half before.

I hope that the Minister will not spend too much time on the ugliness of the drafting; I put that in by the way. The point that I am dealing with is the supreme unreality of applying performance indicators and having performance targets for anything as complicated and varied as a police operation. Fixing them will be a matter of great grief. I am pleased to hear that it will be a matter for consultation, but those consultations will be either sour or infinitely drawn-out.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, the best answer that I can give to the noble Lord is that we are not inventing the wheel. The Bill does not introduce performance targets or indicators—I must make that abundantly clear. They are already in operation. It is not new. What we have done, for setting the National Policing Plan, is correct an omission that was drawn to our attention by the Association of Police Authorities in respect of a generalised statement about performance indicators.

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The indicators are already in place, with the co-operation of and in consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Police Authorities.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I have no doubt that we could argue about the detail for a long time, but it would not carry us much further forward. This part of the Bill is, in fact, considerably improved from what it was when we first saw it. That is a compliment to the work of all Members of the House and to the Government. We have done something useful.

It may be that, on further study, we shall wish to return to the matter. For now, however, we have taken it as far as we can. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 2 not moved.]

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Murton of Lindisfarne): My Lords, in calling Amendment No. 3, I should point out that, if this government amendment is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 4, owing to pre-emption.

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 3:

    Page 1, line 8, leave out from "year" to end of line 9 and insert—

"(1A) The Secretary of State shall lay the National Policing Plan for a financial year before Parliament.
(1B) Subject to subsection (1C), any such plan must be laid before Parliament not later than 30th November in the preceding financial year.
(1C) If there are exceptional circumstances, any such plan may be laid before Parliament after the date mentioned in subsection (1B); but it must be so laid before the beginning of the financial year to which it relates.
(1D) If a plan is laid before Parliament after the date mentioned in subsection (1B), the plan must contain a statement of the exceptional circumstances that gave rise to its being so laid."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 4 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 5:

    Page 2, line 4, at end insert "and the giving of general directions in relation to any objective so set;

(ia) the specification, under section 4 of the Local Government Act 1999 (performance indicators), of performance indicators (within the meaning of that section) for police authorities;"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 6 and 7 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 8:

    Page 2, line 16, at end insert—

"( ) Before laying the National Policing Plan for a financial year, before Parliament, the Secretary of State shall consult with—
(a) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of police authorities;
(b) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of chief officers of police; and
(c) such other persons as he thinks fit."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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[Amendment No. 9 not moved.]

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 10:

    Page 2, line 18, at end insert "; and

'general direction' means a direction under section 38 establishing performance targets for all police authorities to which section 37 applies."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 2 [Codes of practice for chief officers]:

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 11:

    Page 2, line 27, at end insert "relating to those matters that are not appropriate to be in the public domain"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, these amendments were put down in advance of our seeing what the Government intended. They reveal a slight difference of opinion as to how such matters should be taken forward. On principle, I think that matters that are suitable to the public domain should go to the chief officers through the police authority.

The Government have, again, brought forward amendments that will greatly improve the situation and for which I am grateful. This is essentially a probing amendment, designed to move matters forward. I beg to move.

Baroness Harris of Richmond: My Lords, I speak to Amendment No. 12. We welcome the Government's amendments to Clause 2. The codes will rightly be laid before Parliament, and the CPTDA will be required to consult APA and ACPO. We are delighted that the Government have seen the light and been converted into enthusiastic proponents of consultation, not just on that issue but throughout the Bill.

Although we do not wish to appear ungrateful, we still believe that it is necessary to pursue the amendment that we tabled. There is a significant difference between it and that tabled by the Government. The Government's amendments put the obligation on the CPTDA to consult APA and ACPO. The CPTDA will draft the codes, so that consultation is likely to be about the content or details of what might go in any given code. Our amendment would place on the Home Secretary an obligation to consult the APA and ACPO. That is still necessary because that consultation would be rather different. It would be consultation about whether a code is needed on a particular issue and the general nature of that code. The Government have recognised the significance of that point in their proposed amendments to Clause 7. We shall discuss those later, but I simply draw the House's attention to the fact that the Government's amendments to that clause provide for consultation with the APA and ACPO by both the Home Secretary and by the CPTDA at appropriate stages in the process.

We do not wish to build in unnecessary consultation processes or bureaucratic procedures. We assume—perhaps the Minister can confirm it—that there is unlikely to be more than a handful of codes in total, so that what we propose should not be too onerous. We seek to ensure that, in deciding how and to what extent to make use of the considerable new powers that he

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will have under the provision, the Home Secretary consults the tripartite partners and listens to their views.

5.30 p.m.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I am grateful for the response to the government amendments. If the theme of our debate is to be that the Government have seen the light, I am happy with that. I should say that this is my best effort; there is no way that I can now go back to the Home Secretary. I have done my best.

From this group of amendments, by and large—I shall put it no more strongly than that—we can see that there is a broad consensus between us on the codes of practice and the requirements for laying codes of practice before Parliament. However, the amendments are not identical. Perhaps I may dwell on the similarities rather than on the differences.

On the question of consultation, Amendments Nos. 14, 53 and 56 tabled in my name require the Central Police Training and Development Authority—I still do not have a decent acronym for that body—to consult persons whom it considers to represent the interests of chief officers and police authorities and such other persons as it thinks fit. This will ensure that there is always a duty to consult the representatives of chief officers and police authorities, whatever they may be called and however they are constituted. That is the reason why that form of words has been used throughout the amendments and is the reason why we have not used the titles of the two organisations.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, perhaps I may interrupt the Minister for a moment. I hope that he will not spend too much time exerting himself in trying to find an acronym for the body he has just named. If we have an acronym, no one will understand it. At least one can understand the Minister when he speaks English.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Earl. I always try to avoid using acronyms. Earlier I used the acronym NCIS. I used it once, but then I spelt it out because it looks bad to those outside who follow our proceedings.

I turn to Amendment No. 13, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. The noble Lord made the point that the amendment was tabled before the government amendments, but broadly speaking it seeks to achieve the same end.

Amendment No. 12, spoken to by the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, would place a duty on the Secretary of State to consult bodies representing chief officers and police authorities, but the effect would be to introduce a further round of consultation with the same people who had already been consulted by the Central Police Training and Development Authority. That would add an unnecessary stage to the process of drawing up the codes of practice. Consultation would be most relevant and appropriate at the point at which the Central Police Training and Development Authority was drawing up a draft code. Therefore the duty to consult properly rests with that authority.

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With regard to the publication of any codes of practice, government Amendments Nos. 15, 54 and 57 provide for codes to be laid before Parliament, subject to a sensitivity test. A code, or the relevant parts of a code, would not be laid before Parliament where to do so would compromise national security, would hamper the tackling of crime or would endanger individuals' personal safety.

Amendments Nos. 16, 55 and 58, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, are in a similar vein, albeit that they do not contain a sensitivity test. I am perfectly prepared to discuss in detail why some of the probing amendments do not quite fit, but since they are probing it would be futile to go over them, for the reasons already given by the noble Lord. However, I ought to make it clear that Amendment No. 16, which would introduce a requirement to lay the codes before Parliament, if codes cover only issues not appropriate to be in the public domain, we have to ask what would be the purpose of setting down a requirement that they should be placed in the public domain.

It does not make sense for codes of practice only to cover areas of policing that ought to be kept out of the public domain. The purpose of such codes is to spread good practice in policing and to assist all forces to achieve the standards of the best by using tried and tested methods of policing.

There will be codes, or parts of codes, which can be placed in the public domain. Therefore we are prepared to lay those codes before Parliament. We see no sense in restricting the making of codes to restricted areas of policing. Obviously there is a need to keep certain sensitive matters out of the public domain. That is readily acknowledged in the existing Police Act 1996. Section 55 of that Act, which relates to the publication of reports by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, exempts from the duty to publish any part of a report where the publication would be against the interests of national security or jeopardise the safety of any person. That is the precedent on which I rely for the sensitivity test set out in the government amendments.

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