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Lord Kilclooney: My Lords, on the question of numbers and recruitment, is the noble and learned Lord aware that because the 50:50 rule has denied the Chief Constable the availability of 200 police officers, who must now remain at their desks, so short is the number of police personnel at present that this afternoon, the Chief Constable has had to announce the disbandment of the police band, which performed a great community service in Northern Ireland?
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, in the nature of things, I was not aware of that announcement because for one reason or another I have not left my place since 2.20 p.m. However, I was talking to the Chief Constable on Friday. I know his concerns; he expressed them to me perfectly plainly. To return to my answer to the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, we need to give the Grafton procedure an opportunity to work; it was set up only in September. However, I do not dismiss the matter raised by the noble Lord, Lord Kilclooney, in the slightest.
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for giving way. Perhaps he will clarify something. He said that the Grafton recruiting procedure had been in place only since September. Did he by any chance mean September 2001?
The question of insufficient notice of Policing Board meetings is really an internal matter for the board, in the same way that all such organisations need to regulate their own procedures. My noble friend Lord Dubs asked about the ombudsman. I said at the outset that we have given careful thought to the ombudsman's concerns. I reiterate my undertaking to table amendments at an early stage. The noble Lord, Lord Hylton, mentioned experienced constables, and I agree with him about that.
My noble friend Lord Fitt asked what would happen if a DPP member was subsequently found to be a murderer. The answer to that is to be found in Schedule 3(7) to the 2000 Act. The board or a council can remove a member of a DPP if he has been convicted of a criminal offence committed after the date of his appointment. I know that that was not the main thrust of my noble friend's question, but that can also occur if he is unable or unfitI stress that wordto discharge his functions as a member of the DPP. So there is that latitude, opportunity and discretion.
I know that, rightly, we shall spend a good deal of time and trouble in Committee on the Bill. I welcome that. That is not cosmetic; we have done good work in the past by paying careful, scrupulous attention to fine detail. It was a good step to introduce the Bill in this House, because there is a vast amount of experience and expertise here that is never deployed on a narrow basis.
Twenty organisations were involved in the consultation process. I hope that your Lordships will feel that we have tabled the amendment order at the earliest reasonable opportunity. We have done so hoping to create a settled list of agencies that come within the remit.
Following the consultation process, we have decided to add an additional eight organisations, which are listed in the order. Some of them do not immediately seem to have obvious links to the criminal justice system, but the underlying and, I hope, unifying rationale for their inclusion is that they all exercise a role in the investigative and prosecutorial processes. I beg to move.
Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for moving the order tonight. It addresses a part of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 that one might called unfinished business. I thank the noble and learned Lord and the Northern Ireland Office for the courtesy that they have shown in keeping meand, I am sure, other Members of your Lordships' Housein touch with their thinking and the consultation process.
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: My Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, I welcome the order. It has come to the House somewhat belatedly. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal will recall my criticism that, whereas ordinary individuals such as myself or members of the police are meant to change and agree to things with huge expedition, statutory agencies appear to be able to adopt a tardiness that puzzles me. I cannot understand why it took some of the bodies that are listed so long to acquiesce to the idea of having a justice inspector.
I speak not out of any spite, because I have considerable regard for the huge ability of the Police Ombudsman. However, I believe that it is important that someone occupying as sensitive a position as the Police Ombudsmanshe had some initial difficulties
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I shall answer the specific questions asked by the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Clifton. The FSA and the Inland Revenue were consulted, as were the Census Office, Customs and Excise, the Electoral Office, the Northern Ireland Court Service and the Serious Fraud Office. Representations were made, and we considered them carefully, before coming to the conclusions that I outlined and which appear in the order.
The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, broadly speaking, the provisions of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 are those contained in the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000. That Act relates to England and Wales; Scotland has its own Act, coming into effect on 1st January 2003. The draft order prohibits the keeping of animals solely or primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur; makes it a criminal offence, punishable on summary conviction by a fine, to keep animals primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur; and provides for the compensation of existing businesses.
Before suspension, the Assembly in Belfast voted, on 7th October, to approve all of the provisions contained in the order. Because of recent history, it is now our duty to attend to such matters. I beg to move.
Lord Laird: My Lords, I begin by making an obvious point, which applies to the five remaining Northern Ireland orders before us. The subject matter of the orders was being dealt with by the Northern Ireland Assembly, prior to its suspension. I imagine that all of your Lordships would prefer that it was still being dealt with by the MLAs. However, I know that your Lordships will be aware that only the republican movement can return us to that situation, by bringing about the necessary acts of completion so craved by the vast majority of people in the Province.
Turning to the order, I can report that my Ulster Unionist colleagues in the Assembly had one principal complaint about the legislation, when it was before them in the form of a Billnamely, the compensation of those affected by the ban on fur farming. I am pleased to say that that difficulty was subsequently resolved by an amendment, which is included in the order at Article 5(4). Given that, I am happy to support the order.
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