HL Deb 05 July 1961 vol 232 cc1443-62

6.52 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Chief inspectors etc. of metropolitan police to be members of Federation]:

LORD STONHAM

had given Notice of two Amendments, the first being, after "repealed, and" to insert: ",subject to the next following section,". The noble Lord said: I hope it will suit the convenience of the Committee if, in moving the first Amendment on the Paper, I deal also with the second Amendment, which is for a new clause, because the first is merely a paving Amendment for the main one. In moving the Second Reading of this Bill I informed your Lordships that during the Committee stage I proposed to move a new clause and a Schedule to provide separate representation for policewomen on the Federation, and that is the effect of this new clause which I shall move. The Committee will be aware that the Police Federation was established by the Police Act, 1919 for the purpose of enabling the members of the police forces of England and Wales to consider and bring to the notice of the police authorities and the Secretary of State all the matters affecting their welfare and efficiency. other than questions of discipline and promotion affecting individuals. The constitution of the Police Federation is set out in the Schedule to the Act of 1919, which provided that the Federation was to consist of all members of police forces below the rank of superintendent. The Act and the Schedule refer to the "Police Federation of England and Wales", but Section 13 provides for their application to Scotland, and there is a separate Police Federation in Scotland with a constitution the same as that of the Federation in England and Wales. The Schedule to the Police Act, 1919, provides that members of every police force below the rank of superintendent shall form a branch of the Federation, and that in each force there shall be branch boards for the constables, sergeants and inspectors. The boards are elected by the members of the several ranks and they choose delegates to attend the central conference for the three ranks. The members of the central conference elect the three central committees, each consisting of six members respectively for the constables, sergeants and inspectors.

Policewomen, of course, have been full members of the Police Federation since it was established in 1919, but their numbers are comparatively small; only about 2,000 women police officers compared with more than 70,000 men. And, of course, few women are ever elected as members of the branch boards and only very rarely as delegates to the central conferences or as members of the central committees. Indeed, so far as my researches go, only one, the redoubtable Miss Hunt, was ever elected to a central committee. Thus, in a voting capacity policewomen are virtually unrepresented.

The Oaksey Committee recommended, in paragraph 360 of their Report, that exceptional measures were necessary if the special point of view of women police officers was to be put forward by women within the Federation—in other words, if policewomen were to get a vote. The Committee recommended, first, that the women officers of the several ranks in each force should elect one additional member to each of the branch boards, and that these additional members should be women; secondly, that women delegates should meet in eight districts into which the police forces of England and Wales, other than the Metropolitan Police, should be divided for the purposes of election of women delegates to the central conferences and that one woman constable, one woman sergeant and one woman inspector should be elected from each of the eight districts as delegates to the central conferences; thirdly, that the policewomen in the Metropolitan Police Force should be represented by delegates at the central conferences; finally, that the women delegates to the central conferences should elect one woman member to sit on one of the three central committees.

The recommendations of the Oaksey Committee were accepted by everyone concerned and they were introduced on a non-statutory basis in 1953. the women necessarily being non-voting advisers attached to the branch boards and central conferences and central committees; they were not members of them. Some small departures have been made from the recommendations of the Oaksey Committee which I outlined. The metropolitan delegates for the central conferences, for example, are chosen by a rather different method from that suggested by the Oaksey Committee and there are women advisers for each of the three central committees and not just one woman adviser for one of them. Metropolitan delegates for the central conferences are directly elected by the women police officers on the basis of one constable, one sergeant and one inspector for each of the four Districts in the Metropolitan Police Force.

The district elections for all the other forces in the country are attended by the women advisers to the branch boards, who are indeed the electors; and, again, from every District one constable, one sergeant and one inspector are chosen to attend the central conferences. There are, in all, twelve representatives for each of those three ranks chosen as delegates for the central con- ferences, but they have no voting rights at present. These arrangements for the special representation of policewomen have now been in existence for some eight years, and everyone was agreed that they should be put on a statutory basis as soon as possible and as soon as convenient.

This Amendment, and the Schedule which I shall later propose be added to the Bill, would give effect to the existing arrangements with only minor alterations. The new clause provides in the first sub-paragraph that: The branch boards, central conferences and central committees of the Federation shall include members representative of the interests of policewomen, who shall hold office in accordance with the provisions of Part I of the Schedule▀¬and the Schedule to the Police Act, 1919,"— which sets out the constitution of the Police Federation— shall have effect subject to the provisions of Part II of the Schedule to this Act. Subsection (2) of the new clause will enact that Section 13 of the Act of 1919, to which I have already referred and which provides for the modification of the Schedule to that Act in its application to Scotland, shall apply to the new Schedule also. In this matter, in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, said a moment ago, we are not altering the present position in Scotland, so that, at least in my view, Scotland, in this one detail, in fact lags behind England and Wales, because the Police Federation for Scotland desires no change in the existing arrangements for the representation of policewomen, which are at present similar to those which we have here. But if the Act were applied to Scotland by the appointment of a date of operation by the Secretary of State for Scotland, it would be possible to modify it in its application if that should prove desirable. I hope my explanation of this clause has been sufficient in length and sufficiently clear. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 11, after second ("and") insert (",subject to the next following section,").—(Lord Stonham)

THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (EARL BATHURST)

I am most grateful to the noble Lord opposite for moving this Amendment, and I congratulate him on the clear and precise way in which he has done so. I commend this Amendment to your Lordships, and ask your Lordships to support it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to. Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

LORD STONHAM

I beg to move.

Amendment moved—

After Clause 1 insert the following new clause:

Separate representation for policewomen on Boards, etc. of Federation.

(".—(1) The branch boards, central conferences and central committees of the Federation shall include members representative of the interests of policewomen, who shall hold office in accordance with the provisions of Part I of the Schedule to this Act; and the Schedule to the Police Act, 1919, shall have effect subject to the provisions of Part II of the Schedule to this Act (which are consequential on the provisions of the said Part I).

(2) Section thirteen of the Police Act, 1919 (which provides for the modification of the Schedule to that Act in its application to Scotland) shall apply to the Schedule to this Act as it applies to the Schedule to that Act.")—(Lord Stonham.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2 [Short title]:

LORD STONHAM moved to add to Clause 2: (2) This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Secretary of State may appoint by order made by statutory instrument; and different days may be appointed for England and Scotland. (3) This Act does not extend to Northern Ireland.

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 3 on the Paper, and can explain it briefly in this way. On the assumption that the Bill receives the Royal Assent before the Summer Recess, it is the intention of the Secretary of State for Home Affairs to appoint a day in the autumn for the Act to come into operation. So far as the chief inspectors of the Metropolitan Police are concerned, your Lordships will see from Clause 1 of the Bill that the effect of bringing the Act into operation will be to make them members of the Police Federation—that is, just the metropolitan inspectors. They will then be able to exercise their rights to stand for election as members of the Metropolitan Inspectors' Branch Board, and to vote in the elections for that board at the next annual elections.

So far as the special representation of policewomen is concerned, the effect of bringing the Act into operation in the autumn will be that the new arrangements will have effect at the next annual elections of the branch boards. The date of these elections is fixed by the Secretary of State under paragraph 5 of the Schedule to the Police Act, 1919, as substituted by Section 1 of the Police Federation Act, 1959. I understand that the Secretary of State will probably fix December of this year for the election of the branch boards for the calendar year 1962—next year. Different days for the Act to come into operation may be appointed for England and Scotland, and your Lordships will appreciate that Clause 1 has no application to Scotland, being confined to the Metropolitan Police.

Now since the Police Federation for Scotland has no wish to alter the existing arrangements for the special representation of policewomen—that merely means votes for policewomen—it is not at present intended to appoint a date for bringing the Act into operation for Scotland: but it will be open to the Secretary of State for Scotland to do so if at any time this should appear to be desirable. Subsection (3) of the Amendment provides that the Act does not extend to Northern Ireland, and this is a provision which is parallel to subsection (2) of Section 15 of the Police Act, 1919. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 15. at end insert the said subsections.—(Lord Stonham.)

EARL BATHURST

I commend this Amendment to your Lordships, and ask your Lordships to support it.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

7.5 p.m.

LORD STONHAM moved, after Clause 2 to insert the following new Schedule:

  1. SCHEDULE
  2. AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION OF POLICE FEDERATION
  3. PART I
  4. cc1448-50
  5. REPRESENTATION OF POLICEWOMEN ON BRANCH BOARDS, ETC. 565 words
  6. PART II
  7. cc1450-5
  8. CONSEQUENTIAL MODIFICATIONS OF SCHEDULE TO THE POLICE ACT, 1919, ETC. 2,216 words
  9. c1456
  10. PUBLIC AUTHORITIES (ALLOWANCES) BILL 339 words
  11. cc1457-62
  12. MOCK AUCTIONS BILL 1,653 words
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