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Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I chose Barra because it has an airstrip. However, it is a small island and I doubt whether it has many policemen. I have not had the opportunity to discover that. Has the Minister thought what might happen if there is no way of making contact? I may be stretching the point too far. It does not take long to get to Barra and presumably the Government are assuming that it would be possible to make contact from an aeroplane.

4 p.m.

Lord Filkin: Let us assume that a serious criminal seeks to leave France or wherever and go to Barra, and that that criminal is under surveillance. If he or she flies from an airport in, say, France, the surveillance officer would often, if not always, have the opportunity to phone through to Barra in advance. Having reached Barra in those circumstances, it is rather more difficult to escape unobserved from there than it is from mainland UK. Therefore, while there may not be a whole fleet of cars present, there would be a much greater possibility of supervising the exit points as well as being able, it is hoped, to tail the suspect. It is John Buchan stuff.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Of course, John Buchan stuff, as we all know, involved the use of boats. I imagine that there are plenty of opportunities for going to and from Barra unnoticed by boat. Therefore, my noble friend Lady Carnegy has raised a relevant point. I am sure that the people of Barra need not worry. We are not accusing them of being international terrorists at this stage!

I am grateful for the contributions of all Members of the Committee who have spoken. My noble friend Lord Carlisle posed the important question of why the Schengen Convention refers to a five-hour period. It is a vital issue. As the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, said, we are stuck with Schengen. We were not present as a country when it was negotiated and we had no voice in it. At that stage we did not think that we would ever be subject to its requirements. But we are now stuck with it and we have to make the best of it.

The Minister says that the five-hour period starts when the relevant people land on UK soil. He says, quite rightly, that the term has a natural, common-sense meaning. It is not technically correct because once one crosses into our territorial waters, one is actually in the UK. However, I understand why the Minister says that the term has a natural, common-sense meaning. Are our partners in the European

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Union placing exactly the same construction on the matter of when the five hours start when the relevant people travel from this country to mainland Europe and therefore are pursued by our police officers? Is that a question he is able to answer today or would he prefer to write to me?

Lord Filkin: That is a good question. I do not know the answer offhand, but I shall certainly write to the noble Baroness before Report.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I am grateful to the Minister for that offer which I gratefully accept. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 154 not moved.]

Lord Renton: Before the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, moves Amendment No. 154A, I should point out that it does not appear to be relevant to new Section 76A.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: I am advised that the Minister should put the case for the amendment and then a general discussion can take place. We may then discuss the matter of relevance. I ask the Minister to move Amendment No. 154A.

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 154A:

    Page 56, line 16, at end insert—

""United Kingdom officer" means—
(a) a member of a police force;
(b) a member of the National Criminal Intelligence Service;
(c) a member of the National Crime Squad;
(d) a member of the body known as the Operational and Intelligence Group of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency and established by agreement under section 12 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 (c. 77) (collaboration agreements);
(e) a member of any other body, however named, so established if it fulfils purposes most or all of which consist of or include purposes which are the same as or are similar to those fulfilled by that group; or
(f) a customs officer"

The noble Lord said: This amendment has already been spoken to. I beg to move.

Lord Renton: There is a problem with the amendment. It may help the noble Lord to bear that in mind before he asks us to accept it. It states,

    "at end insert—'United Kingdom officer' means".

That is to be inserted at the end of subsection (10). That subsection defines two phrases that are already most certainly in the new section. But nowhere in the new section can I find the words "United Kingdom officer". I felt it only right to point that out before the noble Lord moved the amendment because he might have moved something that was out of order and utterly irrelevant. However, I shall sit down now. I shall be interested to hear what justification the noble Lord may have for asking us to approve the amendment.

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Lord Filkin: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Renton, for his question. If I understand the matter correctly, we do not need to find the words "United Kingdom officer means" because essentially we are inserting those words and we are inserting paragraphs (a) to (f). In essence that whole block will be inserted at line 16 on page 56 of the Bill just before Clause 84.

Lord Renton: It may be in another section but it is not in this one.

Lord Filkin: The measure that starts with the words, "United Kingdom officer" will be inserted in line 16, page 56 of Clause 83. I shall speak to it in more detail, as I believe the noble Lord, Lord Renton, wishes. We consider Amendment No. 154A technical and consequential on those we tabled to other subsections of Clause 83. The amendment simply defines "UK officer". The Committee will note that it refers to the police, Customs, NCIS, NCS, the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency (which used to be the Scottish Crime Squad) and any body that might take over their functions. That wording is needed to ensure that New Section 76A will cover any other body that might be established under any future collaborative agreements between Scottish police forces that would perform the same functions as the SDEA. I hope that that explanation is helpful.

Lord Renton: I have listened with care to the noble Lord's explanation. Quite frankly, I must repeat what I said before. Subsection (10) starts with the phrase "In this section", not other sections but "In this section". The amendment refers to New Section 76A. Therefore, it seems to me to be misapplied. But whether or not it is misapplied, I point out that it contains a very strange paragraph. Paragraph (e) of the amendment contains an amazingly wide and vague application of the expression "United Kingdom officer". I quote paragraph (e) to put it on record:

    "a member of any other body, however named, so established if it fulfils purposes most or all of which consist of or include purposes which are the same as or are similar to those fulfilled by that group".

What group? There is no previous reference to a group. If the noble Lord maintains that the measure refers to the expression "any other body", I suggest that it should be placed within the context of Clause 83. It should refer to the various bodies mentioned in subsection (1) where certainly three phrases could be regarded as referring to another body.

Altogether the whole measure is too vague and too wide. Even if the noble Lord is right in referring to "United Kingdom officer"—and I do not consider that he is, bearing in mind the lack of reference to it earlier in Clause 83—we should not have any terms as vague as "any other body" and "that group" without clear reference as to what those phrases include. To do so would constitute a wrong piece of drafting.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour: I had marked this paragraph as requiring clarification. I wondered what the phrase "that group" referred to. I wondered also whether paragraph (d) constituted a Scottish measure.

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I wondered whether it was a Scottish measure referring back to the intelligence group of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency. It is an obscure piece of drafting. Does the paragraph refer to Scotland or only to Scotland or not to Scotland at all?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I apologise for not raising this issue when the matter was discussed on a previous occasion. I have to admit that I looked properly at the drafting of the amendment only after talking to my noble friend Lord Renton at the end of last week and when I started to consider amendments to table at Report stage. It was only then that I considered the definitions of a foreign police officer or a police officer. Paragraph (e) states,

    "a member of any other body, however named, so established".

Does that include community support officers? Presumably, it could do so. Or could it even cover private bodies such as Group 4? At the moment paragraph (e) appears to be extraordinarily widely drafted, as my noble friend Lord Renton said.

Lord Dholakia: The noble Lord, Lord Renton, rightly pointed out that the term "United Kingdom officer" is not mentioned in the clause we are discussing. However, the term is mentioned in the Explanatory Notes. I suspect that the clarity that the noble Lord, Lord Renton, requires is to be found in the Explanatory Notes which refer to United Kingdom officers with regard to Clause 83 on page 28.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Filkin: I am the first to admit that the matter is not simple. The matter is complicated in that Amendment No. 154A seeks to build on a government amendment that was accepted last Wednesday. The Bill as printed does not contain that amendment as the foundation on which this amendment builds. I refer to Amendment No. 139B that was accepted last Wednesday which states:

    "Page 55, line 13, leave out from 'circumstances' to 'an' in line 14 and insert 'for a United Kingdom officer to carry out the surveillance in the United Kingdom in accordance with'".

Amendment No. 139B inserted the words "United Kingdom officer". Amendment No. 154A defines the term "United Kingdom officer". I totally understand the question of the noble Lord, Lord Renton, as he does not have before him a Bill which contains the amendment we inserted last Wednesday.

The Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency is a body established by agreement between the chief constables of the Scottish police forces under Section 12 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967. It took over the work of the Scottish Crime Squad and undertakes similar activities to the National Crime Squad.

Section 9 of RIPA (Scotland) gave the Scottish Crime Squad and any other body established under Section 12 of the 1967 Act which fulfils similar purposes the power to conduct authorised surveillance. Accordingly, as the SDEA performs similar purposes to the SCS, it too is authorised under RIPA (Scotland) to carry out surveillance. If the SDEA's surveillance function is replaced by another

3 Feb 2003 : Column GC13

body established under the 1967 Act, that too would be able to conduct authorised surveillance under Section 9 of RIPA (Scotland).

Paragraphs (d) and (e) of the amendment are worded to ensure that new Section 76A will apply both now if the SDEA cannot physically take over surveillance when the foreign officers arrive and in the future if a successor body is in that position. Similar provisions need not be made for NCIS or NCS because they are statutory creations and so if they were to be reformulated or replaced, primary legislation would be needed which could include a consequential amendment to change the references to them here. In paragraph (e), therefore, the term "that group" refers to the Operational and Intelligence Group of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency.

The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, mentioned community support officers. We do not expect that a community support officer would carry out surveillance. No CSOs belong to NCIS and we have no plans or intention of so providing them.

The matter we are discussing is not simple given that we do not yet have a consolidated Bill including amendments passed on previous days in Committee. However, I trust that the Committee is happy with that explanation and will not oppose the insertion of the amendment in the Bill. The consolidated Bill will be printed on Report. That will permit further opportunity to discuss whether my words make sense, as I trust they do. We shall see the whole picture when the consolidated Bill is printed.

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