HL Deb 18 July 1994 vol 557 cc18-9

3 Clause 7, page 5, line 33, at beginning insert 'In'.

3.30 p.m.

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3. At the same time, I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 4, 21, 30, 79, 80, 88 and 118.

Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 give effect to the Government's decision that the rank of chief inspector should be retained. They do so by amending Section 7 of the Police Act 1964 to add the rank of chief inspector to the ranks which are already listed in that section. The rank does not appear in the existing list but is instead prescribed in police regulations. The list of ranks in Section 7 of the 1964 Act will, as a result of this amendment, no longer include the rank of deputy chief constable.

Amendments Nos. 21, 30 and 118 make similar provision for Scotland. Police ranks should be the same either side of the Border. I understand that the Scottish police associations accept that. The rank structure will now include two ranks between inspector and assistant chief constable, which is what your Lordships resolved when the Bill was before the House at Third Reading.

Amendments Nos. 79 and 80 are technical amendments. Amendment No. 88 makes a small adjustment to the arrangements proposed in the Bill for authorising chief inspectors to fulfil the duties of a superintendent in exercising certain powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. 1984. The amendment provides that, where a superintendent anticipates that he will be absent, he may give prior authorisation to a chief inspector to exercise his powers during his absence. In all other circumstances, authorisation will continue to be required at the level of the Association of Chief Police Officers. The Association of Chief Police Officers has been consulted on the amendment and is content with it.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 3.—(Earl Ferrers.)

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My Lords, in his opening remarks the Minister said that it was a government decision to retain the rank of chief inspector. I feel that he ought to recognise that it was the decision of your Lordships' House that an extra rank should be retained. It was against the wishes of the Government. The fact that it is the rank of chief inspector which is to be retained owes much to the well informed and powerful advocacy of my noble friend Lady Hilton of Eggardon.

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I would not wish the opportunity to be missed. The noble Lord is quite right; it was the decision of your Lordships' House to which I referred. The Government cogitated about that decision and wondered whether it would be as well to accept it or suggest to another place that it may like to take another view. But in their magnanimity the Government considered that your Lordships were right. That decision was the Government's decision and it was a very creditable one too.

On Question, Motion agreed to.