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Lord Lipsey: My Lords, I thank all those who have spoken in support of my amendment this evening. It will not have escaped the Minister's attention that they came from all four quarters of your Lordships' House. I noticed the reference by my noble friend Lord McIntosh to the further orders that will come before the House. We shall have many more opportunities to debate amendments on the subject, should that prove necessary.

I noted carefully the arguments that my noble friend the Minister made. Of course I accept in full his apology for the omission when the relevant legislation was debated. I am sure that it was an oversight and no culpability should fall on him. It is my fault for not being here to ask him about it at the time.

I am not convinced by my noble friend's argument that we should wait for the rest of the package to come along. The matter should have been dealt with ages ago. We would then have had to make some changes to accommodate the European directive at that stage. It is not enough to wait and wait until an excuse comes along for further postponement. I agree that there are some practical defects in doing it in that way. That is why we should explore ways in which adequate protection can be given.

I very much welcome the Minister's assurance that he and the Treasury team will discuss the matter with the industry and with interested Members in this House. I hope that we can find a way forward. I assure him and the House, as he would expect, that if such a way forward is not found, we shall continue to press these matters, not simply because of their constitutional impact, but because of the argument so powerfully put by the noble Baroness, Lady Greengross, and my noble friend Lady Dean that old people cannot afford to wait for these protections, because otherwise the protection may not be there after they have gone. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Police Reform Bill [HL]

8.38 p.m.

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

15 Apr 2002 : Column 784

Clause 6 [Regulation of equipment]:

Lord Rooker moved Amendment No. 43:

    Page 6, line 4, leave out "such" and insert "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"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I can be brief. Clause 6 and its equivalent for the National Crime Squad relate to the regulation of equipment. Under the original wording, the Home Secretary would be required to consult,

    "such persons as he thinks fit"

before making regulations under the provisions. In response to concerns expressed in Committee, Amendment No. 43 would make it crystal clear that he was required to consult representatives of police authorities and chief officers of police before regulating equipment. Amendment No. 95 makes the equivalent change to paragraph 5 of Schedule 1. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I welcome the amendment. Although it is in keeping with others, it is no less welcome for that. I think that the Government are doing a great deal to try to move the Bill along the lines that are being suggested.

Lord Dholakia: My Lords, I endorse what has just been said by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. We certainly welcome the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 7 [Regulation of operational procedures and practices]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 44:

    Page 6, line 18, leave out "operational"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, many noble Lords expressed concerns about this clause in Committee. Before I explain the intention of these amendments, I should just re-iterate what our intention is in this clause.

Where it would be in the national interest for all police forces to adopt common procedures or practices—but only then—the Home Secretary would lay a regulation before Parliament. By that, we mean where forces need to be able to work closely with one another—where they need to share resources or be able to work in the same way, or where they need to be able, effectively and efficiently, to share information. We have offered the example of the national intelligence model as a means of ensuring that all forces are gathering and handling intelligence material in the same way.

Sadly, criminals do not operate within force boundaries; it would be much easier for us if they did. Forces therefore need to be able quickly and effectively to share robust information on criminals, their modus operandi and their whereabouts. A number of other

15 Apr 2002 : Column 785

examples powerfully make the case for this regulation-making power. There may be occasions when adjacent forces need to respond to the same terrorist or firearms incident; an armed robbery, for example, may give rise to a pursuit across force boundaries. It is essential in such circumstances that the officers responding to incidents have received similar training and are deploying similar tactics. There could be a very real risk to the safety of the officers and to members of the public if different approaches to such situations gave rise to any confusion.

We think that there is a strong need for this provision. That need has been acknowledged by the Association of Chief Police Officers, which has long argued for more effective machinery to ensure that good practices are adopted across all forces. The association's original concern was that the Bill as drafted did not give sufficient weight to its position as the professional leader of the service. The government amendments, the detail of which I shall come to, have addressed that concern. In a press release issued today, the association stated,

    "We welcome the amendments to the Bill which have been proposed ... We particularly welcome the recognition that the leaders of the Service have a key role in giving professional endorsement to any operational codes and regulations".

Noble Lords made it quite clear in Committee that this power as currently drafted had the potential to be too far-reaching. We acknowledge that Clause 7 as introduced went rather wider in its effect than we had intended. Accordingly, these amendments seek to narrow the ambit of the regulation-making power and introduce a number of further safeguards to ensure that the views of the service are fully taken into account. First, we have introduced a requirement for the Home Secretary to consult police authorities and chief officers at an early stage to seek their views on whether regulations are needed in any given case.

Secondly, we have spelt out much more clearly what the test will be for regulations under this clause. Regulations may be made only where it is necessary, in the national interest, for the service to adopt common procedures or practices in order to facilitate the carrying out by members of any two or more police forces of joint or co-ordinated operations.

Thirdly, the Central Police Training and Development Authority, in preparing advice for the drawing up of any regulation under this section, is explicitly required to consult police authorities and chief officers.

Fourthly, and perhaps most significantly, the Home Secretary is required to consider not only the advice of the Central Police Training and Development Authority but must also have advice from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary that states that he is satisfied that the making of a regulation is necessary to meet the test I have just set out.

These changes not only bring chief officers and police authorities in at every stage and every level, but also introduce Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary as an independent assessor of whether given regulations are necessary. The amendments to Schedule 1 introduce like provisions in the case of

15 Apr 2002 : Column 786

regulations relating to the National Crime Squad. These Government amendments make significant changes to Clause 7. I should hope that, in the spirit of some of the earlier debates, noble Lords will recognise that and fully endorse the proposed changes. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

8.45 p.m.

Lord Rooker moved Amendments Nos. 45 to 51:

    Page 6, line 19, leave out "operational"

    Page 6, leave out lines 21 to 26.

    Page 6, line 28, after "from" insert "—

(a) the chief inspector of constabulary; and"
Page 6, line 29, at end insert—

"( ) Before seeking advice under subsection (3) the Secretary of State shall consult about his proposal to do so with—
(a) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of police authorities; and
(b) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of chief officers of police."
Page 6, line 29, at end insert—

"( ) A request for the purposes of subsection (3) may specify a period within which the requested advice is to be provided; and, if a period is so specified, the requested advice must be provided within it."
Page 6, line 32, leave out "such" and insert "with—

(a) persons whom it considers to represent the interests of police authorities;
(b) persons whom it considers to represent the interests of chief officers of police; and
(c) such other"
Page 6, line 32, at end insert—

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