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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The noble Lord raises a very positive point. When shaping the programme of advertising for posts within the court security service, we shall be looking for exactly that kind of person. We want to attract officers of the calibre of community support officers, investigating officers, detention officers, escort officers and police officers. All of those positions in our law and order family are important. We need the same calibre of person to fulfil the role of court security officer.

Lord Morris of Aberavon: Following the observation made by the noble Lord, Lord Carlisle, perhaps I may add that ex-servicemen, non-commissioned soldiers, would make admirable security officers along the lines proposed. They are the kind of people who have the authority, and that is important.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We all enjoy the benefits of having former service personnel in this place. They do an excellent job here and I am sure they could do an excellent job in our courts.

Lord Borrie: Before the Minister finally sits down, perhaps I may intervene in a way which is not so positive as the last two contributions. I was not entirely satisfied by the noble Lord's response to my queries about uniform. Clause 46 refers to a security officer being identifiable,

That made me rather unhappy. I travel on London buses. This may be a very old-fashioned, old fogeyish thing to say, but, nowadays, I do not always recognise the conductor—because he is certainly not wearing a cap, he is probably not wearing a uniform and he is sitting down some way towards the front of the bus; it is only after one has been going for some time that one notices that someone rather ill-dressed—no better or worse dressed than anyone else—occasionally puts his hand up and indicates to the driver by way of a couple of pulls on the bell that it is time for the bus to move off. If we are to have real reassurance in the courts and real deterrence, which is part of what all this is about, there is surely a specific need for a uniformed individual.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Perhaps I should have made it plainer: it is our expectation that court security officers will be uniformed. That is what we seek. I hope that that reassures the noble Lord.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: I am grateful to the Minister for his response, in particular to Amendment No. 79. It may be of assistance to the Committee if I indicate that it is not my intention to press that amendment. The Minister has made us aware of the intention to ensure that people who take on these important tasks are of good character.

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I wondered, however, when I heard the Minister's response to Amendment No. 78, whether he had been listening to some of the contributions made in the debate. Perhaps I may refer first to the very effective speech made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon. I had a great deal of sympathy with his point. We ought to reflect on whether there should not simply be a duty on the Lord Chancellor to ensure safety in our courts—full stop. That goes slightly further than the proposal in my amendment, but it is a point on which I should like to reflect and to which I shall perhaps return at a later stage. We are where we are, and we have a power to make provision. It is that which I found disappointing in the Minister's response.

My noble friend Lord Waddington made the effective point that the Lord Chancellor must make these regulations and there should be a duty on him to do so. I was troubled when the Minister said that he was unsure whether regulations would be the right way forward, and that there was a need for flexibility. He said that, if the Lord Chancellor were under a duty, he would not have the flexibility to decide on other ways forward, apart from making regulations.

I came to the debate believing that the Minister would say that, of course, regulations would be made to ensure that there were proper training courses and conditions to be met before someone could be designated a court officer. I am now worried that we may never see any regulations, because the Lord Chancellor wants flexibility. The Minister asked us to keep the word "may" to ensure that the Lord Chancellor,

    "has the flexibility to decide on the best way forward".

Lord Bassam of Brighton: To avoid any doubt, I shall repeat what I believe I said when speaking to Amendment No. 78. As currently drafted, the clause gives the Lord Chancellor a power to make, by regulations, provision as to training courses to be completed by court security officers and conditions that must be met prior to a person being designated as a court security officer. I thought that was what I said earlier, and I hope it will satisfy Members of the Committee. At that stage I was talking about a power to make provisions by regulation. I hope that deals with any confusion that might exist in the noble Lord's mind.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: The amendment would put a duty on the Lord Chancellor to make regulations. That is the point on which I differ with the Minister, who made much of the fact that the Lord Chancellor might decide that, in making provision, regulations were not the correct way forward. That might be what happens. When he reads Hansard, he will see that that was what he said, and he may want to refer to his speaking note. I am not sure that the Committee should be content with that flexibility.

I welcomed the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, who was right to emphasise the strategic importance of what we are debating. He made a

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valuable contribution to the debate. My noble friend Lord Carlisle not only led us down the road to some wonderful memories, but also gave some chilling examples of how badly things can go wrong. How right he is that people miss the security of having a police officer present.

I do not believe that noble Lords will be satisfied with a merely permissive and flexible provision that the Lord Chancellor will make regulations if he thinks fit. We should make it a duty. Therefore, I want to test the opinion of the Committee on Amendment No. 78.

5.13 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 78) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 101; Not-Contents, 116.

Division No. 2


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Barker, B.
Blatch, B.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Carlile of Berriew, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craigavon, V.
Dahrendorf, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Ezra, L.
Fearn, L.
Flather, B.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Fowler, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geraint, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe, E.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Liverpool, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Luke, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Michie of Gallanach, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Newby, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Patten, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Prior, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandberg, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vinson, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.


Acton, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Andrews, B.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Cameron of Lochbroom, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chan, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cobbold, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Eames, L.
Elder, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Radice, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rogan, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

11 Feb 2003 : Column 597

5.23 p.m.

[Amendment No. 79 not moved.]

Clause 46 agreed to.

11 Feb 2003 : Column 598

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