HL Deb 16 April 2002 vol 633 cc910-34

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 75 [Supplementary provisions about police membership of NCIS]:

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 240: Page 67, line 37, after first "In" insert "subsection (1) of The noble Lord said: My Lords, there are other government amendments grouped with this. They are all technical amendments to make it clear that the provisions relating to the retirement of members of the National Criminal Intelligence Service or the National Crime Squad in the interest of efficiency or effectiveness relate only to police officers of the rank of assistant chief constable and above. That is in line with the provision applying to Home Office forces. Similar provisions relating to the directors general, who currently both hold the rank of chief constable, are already contained in the Police Act 1997. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 241: Page 67, line 39, at end insert— ( ) Subsection (2) of that section shall cease to have effect. On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 76 [Supplementary provisions about police membership of NCS]:

Lord Rooker

moved Amendments Nos. 242 and 243: Page 68, line 15, after first "In insert" "subsection (1) of Page 68, line 18, at end insert— ( ) Subsection (2) of that section shall cease to have effect. On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 77 [Police authorities to produce three-year strategy plans]:

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 244: Page 68, leave out lines 35 to 39. The noble Lord said: My Lords, this group contains government and opposition amendments. I shall try to cover them all in one go, although that does not mean that other noble Lords cannot make their points. If I need to come back and respond to those points, I shall do so.

We are determined that the standard of policing throughout England and Wales should be consistently high. The national policing plan is a key part of the process to achieve that. We are equally determined to support police authorities and chief police officers in their planning to achieve that goal. However, following the points made in Committee, we accept that placing a requirement on police authorities to ensure that their three-year plans are consistent with the national policing plan is pitching it a little too high. On reflection, we agree that a duty to have regard to the national plan will be sufficient. Government Amendments Nos. 244 and 247 make the appropriate alterations to Clause 77.

The noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, and the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, have tabled amendments that make a similar point. Their Amendments Nos. 245, 255, 256, 257, 258 and 261 offer two alternatives. The first is the same as the approach that we propose, so I shall not go over that. The second is that in preparing the three-year plans, chief officers and police authorities should take into account the national policing plan. I am not sure that there is a significant difference.

While I do not wish to diminish the Liberal Democrat amendments in any way, I shall skate over the detail and come back to them if need be.

The other government amendments in the group are Amendments Nos. 252 and 280. They follow the well established pattern of writing on to the face of the Bill our intention to consult. They are a further effort to meet the points legitimately made in Committee on consulting before issuing codes of practice, regulations or, in this case, guidance. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith and the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, agree that the government amendments more than meet the spirit of what they are seeking to achieve with many of their amendments. I accordingly invite them to support our amendments in preference to their own.

I have not touched on Amendments Nos. 248, 249 and 254, but I shall be happy to address them once the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, has spoken to them, if he wishes to do so. Similarly, I shall address the other Liberal Democrat amendments once the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, has spoken to them, so that vie can have a more ordered debate. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, when I looked at ate group of amendments, I felt that there were many minds with but a single thought. I am immensely grateful to the Minister for acknowledging the points raised in Committee. The Minister tabled his amendments so that they appeared first, even though ours went down chronologically first. He has captured the spirit of what we intended and that is all that is necessary. I am grateful to him for that and I do net think that I need to say anything more. Thank you very much.

Baroness Harris of Richmond

My Lords, I wish that I, too, could be so happy with the amendments. I beg your Lordships' indulgence as I go through a number of them. Amendments Nos. 246, 250, 251, 253, 254, 259 and 260 are tabled in our names.

On Amendment No. 246, we fully agree that the views of local people should be reflected in the three-year plan. The concerns and expectations of local communities should be critical in shaping that plan. Consultation with local communities is one of the key statutory duties of a police authority. The police authority is the bridge between the force and local people. The authority's independence from the force makes that consultation effective in the eyes of local people.

The Bill confuses the roles of the police authority and the chief officer. We do not believe that that is helpful and we urge the Government to think again about the drafting of the clause.

It may help the Minister if I say a brief word about the practicalities of producing such plans. I do so from many years' experience of having to produce them. It seems from our earlier debates that he believes our amendment would prevent timely or appropriate consultation. It is not a matter of the chief officer producing a draft and presenting it to the police authority. It is good practice for such plans to be developed from the beginning as a joint undertaking between the authority and the force. I have spent many hours doing that and we are all keen to promote such good practice. As part of that process, consultation is ongoing throughout the year and the views of the local community feed into the planning process. Both the police authority and the force are involved in that consultation. The critical difference is that the police authority has a duty to ensure that local people's views are reflected in local policing. Our amendment simply reinforces that.

We raised the issue covered in Amendment No. 250 in Committee. We return to it in the hope of persuading the Government that they have gone too far. We are not persuaded of the need for the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance, but we would be prepared to live with that if other changes, which we shall discuss later, were made to the clause. We welcome the Government's amendment, which would require consultation with the APA, ACPO and others on the contents of that guidance, but we believe that the proposal in subsection (6)(a) for statutory guidance setting out the form that three-year plans should take is a step too far.

Police authorities publish their plans in a way that meets the needs and expectations of local people. Indeed, police authorities consult widely with their communities about how they would like to receive such information, and develop their plans accordingly.

When Amendment No. 251 was discussed in Committee the Minister recognised the importance of guidance being issued in a timely fashion if the three-year plans were to be effective. The Government have certainly accepted the case for a deadline to be placed in the Bill in relation to publication of the national policing plan, and we are simply asking them to make a similar commitment in relation to publication of the statutory guidance. I hope that the Minister will feel able to accept the spirit of this amendment. We shall be happy to negotiate the exact date to be fixed in the legislation if he so wishes.

As for Amendments Nos. 253 and 254, we have previously made clear our strong objections to subsections (8) and (10) to (15), the effect of which is that police authorities will be required to submit their three-year plans to the Home Secretary to be checked. Our amendments would remove that requirement, although police authorities would still send a copy of their plan to the Home Secretary, as they do their annual plans now. When we discussed this in Committee, the Minister stressed that the clause does not give the Home Secretary a power of veto over the three-year plan.

We recognise that there is no veto in the legislation, and the Minister's assurances that that is not how the Home Secretary intends to operate are indeed very welcome. However, we believe that the Minister did not make a truly persuasive case for the Home Secretary to have the power to call in plans in draft form to be checked over, presumably by his officials, and to make comments to the authority if he or his officials are not happy with the plan. Why does the Home Secretary need these powers? What evidence does he have that police authorities would not have regard to the national plan in developing their three-year plans? Why does he think that police authorities would not comply with the law? Subsection (3) places a statutory duty on authorities to have regard to the national plan.

I hope that the Minister can produce some grounds for going down this path. As he must appreciate, these provisions are offensive to police authorities. Police authorities do not see this as enhancing or innovating their role, as the Minister suggested in Committee; on the contrary, they see it as undermining their role in a way which suggests that they are not to be trusted. I urge the Minister to give further serious thought to whether these provisions are really necessary and are worth causing serious damage to the tripartite relationship. I am sure that we shall wish to return to these amendments in future.

I can take Amendments Nos. 259 and 260 very briefly. We have previously made clear our concerns about the requirement for police authorities to submit their three-year plans to the Home Secretary for scrutiny. Our amendments seek to remove subsections (14) and (15), under which the Home Secretary will make regulations prescribing how police authorities should submit their plans to him for scrutiny. We believe that such prescription is unnecessary. I hope that the Minister will be prepared to take this away and reconsider. If not, we shall no doubt return to the subject again.

8.45 p.m.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I know that it might come as a shock to the police authority squad in this place, but the Government are seeking to raise the profile of police authorities. We are seeking to do them a favour and raise their public profile. This part of the Bill shows how serious we are about that. The Secretary of State's overall responsibility means that it is appropriate that he should be able to issue guidance on the content as well as the form of the three-year plan. There is nothing exceptional in that.

Amendment No. 254 seeks to remove subsections (10) and (11) of the proposed new Section 6A. These provisions would enable the Home Secretary to comment—to put it no higher—on whether the three-year plan was consistent with the national plan. I fail to see the problem with that. As I said, it is not a veto for the Home Secretary; I put that on the record now. I also should have thought that there is some mileage in ensuring that the Home Secretary and the police authorities are working broadly to the same agenda, to drive down crime and the fear of crime and to raise the standards of performance across the country.

The Police Act 1996 already places a responsibility for arrangements to seek the views of the local community on the police authority in consultation with the chief officer. So these arrangements would apply equally to preparation of these three-year plans. Therefore, Amendment No. 246 adds literally nothing. In other words, the local community should be involved anyway because that is what the 1996 Act requires.

I realise that the noble Baroness, Lady Harris, thinks that no one in the Home Office lives in the real world of the police authorities and that we do not understand their trials and tribulations. We are, however, doing our best to meet them half way. Guidance will be available on preparation of the plans in good time to enable police authorities to meet the timetable for their submission to the Home Secretary. The guidance itself will be subject to consultation in the usual way. Amendment No. 251 would commit the Home Secretary to a specific deadline in the Bill that is too far in advance of the three-year period covered by the plans to be useful.

I hope that the noble Baroness will accept my reassurance on the availability of guidance. I know that I will be hauled back to this place if it is not available, and I do not want that to happen when I have made a commitment on behalf of the Government. We intend to use our best endeavours to make that guidance available.

I also cannot support Amendments Nos. 253, 259 and 260. The Home Secretary is entitled to be able to require the three-year plans to be submitted to him and to make regulations for the procedure governing that submission. That is in keeping with his role in the tripartite relationship as he desperately endeavours to raise police authorities' profile and importance in the public mind.

We do not believe that these requirements undermine the tripartite relationship—far from it, that is not our intention at all. As I said, our intention is the exact opposite. I therefore hope that noble Lords will not press their amendments in this group. I also hope that they will agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, that our proposals have met the spirit of the comments in Committee. I am also genuinely serious about ensuring that we provide our side of the procedure in good time to enable police authorities to fulfil their part.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Deputy Speaker (Baroness Lockwood)

My Lords, I cannot call Amendment No. 245 as it has been pre-empted by Amendment No. 244.

[Amendment No. 245 not moved.]

[Amendment No. 246 not moved.]

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 247: Page 69, line 2, at end insert— ( ) It shall be the duty, in issuing, preparing or modifying a three-year strategy plan or a draft of such a plan, of every police authority or chief officer of police to have regard to the National Policing Plan in force at that time. On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 248 to 251 not moved.]

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 252: Page 69, line 14, leave out "such" and insert "—

  1. (a) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of police authorities;
  2. (b) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of chief officers of police; and
  3. (c) such other"
On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 253 to 261 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton

moved Amendment No. 262: After Clause 78, insert the following new clause— "EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF POLICE AUTHORITIES ETC. (1) In each the enactments specified in subsection (2)—

  1. (a) in sub-paragraph (1), after the words "by way of" there shall be inserted "reimbursement of expenses and"; and
  2. (b) in sub-paragraph (4), after the word "about" there shall be inserted "the reimbursement of expenses or about".
(2) The enactments are—
  1. (a) paragraph 25A of Schedule 2 to the 1996 Act (allowances for members of police authorities established under section 3 of that Act); and
  2. (b) paragraph 20A of Schedule 2A to that Act (allowances for members of Metropolitan Police Authority).
(3) In sub-paragraph (6) of paragraph 20A of Schedule 2A to the 1996 Act (limitation on payments to members of London Assembly) after "payment" there shall be inserted "by way of an allowance". (4) The following provisions (which are superseded by the amendments made by this section) shall cease to have effect—
  1. (a) paragraph 25 of Schedule 2 to the 1996 Act; and
  2. (b) paragraph 20 of Schedule 2A to that Act."
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am sure that these amendments will be welcomed. In fact, I can remember arguing for similar provisions when I was an employee in local government. So if they are not welcome, I shall be exceedingly upset.

These amendments reflect amendments moved in Committee by the noble Lords, Lord 13radshaw and Lord Dholakia. They effectively deregulate schemes for the payment of expenses to members of police authorities. As noble Lords will appreciate, in the past those have been determined by the Secretary of State.

The amendments also make the payment of expenses to members of police authorities a matter primarily for police authorities themselves. That is a sensible act of deregulation. It will enable police authorities locally to determine how these matters are arranged. In the past that matter has always been subject to the Secretary of State's guidance although he has a reserve power.

The amendments add expenses to the changes wrought by the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001. The position in the future will be identical for both expenses and allowances. I beg to move.

Baroness Harris of Richmond

My Lords, I could not possibly let this occasion pass without thanking the Government. Police authorities will welcome the measure. We are most grateful for it.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 80 [Crime and disorder reduction partnerships]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton

moved Amendment No. 263: Page 71, line 10, at end insert— (ba) every police authority any part of whose police area so lies; (bb) every fire authority any part of whose area so lies; The noble Lord said: My Lords, linkage with policing plans and the strategic approach to dealing with crime and the wider community safety agenda make it clear that police authorities should play a key role in the local crime and disorder partnership structure. Police authorities already play a part in the work of crime and disorder reduction partnerships, as existing responsible authorities are statutorily obliged to work in co-operation with them and vice versa. However, raising police authorities' status under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to that of responsible authorities should further improve delivery of the crime and disorder reduction agenda and help ensure greater consistency between crime and disorder reduction strategies and local policing plans. As I am sure noble Lords are aware, there is widespread support for this change, both from the Association of Police Authorities and, I suspect, from several quarters of this House.

Fire authorities can provide a substantial contribution to the work of crime and disorder reduction partnerships, not least in terms of arson and the associated crime and well-being issues arising from it. Both the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers' Association (CACFOA) and the Arson Control Forum—consisting of commercial, insurance and fire service interests—are supportive of fire authorities having a statutory role within crime and disorder reduction partnerships. I am sure that the amendments will be broadly welcomed. They have been argued for energetically in the past. I beg to move.

Baroness Harris of Richmond

My Lords, we have had some long debates and discussions and therefore I shall detain the House only for a moment. It would be wrong to let the amendment pass without thanking the Government for responding to our requests to make police authorities statutory partners in local crime and disorder reduction partnerships. I could go on to say that it has only taken the Government four years to realise that we were right and this should have been done in 1998, but I shall be gracious and not say that.

Lord Bassam of Brighton

My Lords, such thanks are beyond reproach.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendments Nos. 264 to 267: Page 71, line 36, leave out "paragraph (b)" and insert "paragraphs (a) and (b) Page 71, line 37, leave out "so lies" and insert "lies within the area Page 72, line 2, at end insert— ( ) After subsection (4) of that section, there shall be inserted— (5) In this section— 'fire authority' means—

  1. (a) any fire authority constituted by a combination scheme under the Fire Services Act 1947 (c. 41);
  2. (b) any metropolitan county fire and civil defence authority; or
  3. (c) the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority; and
'police authority' means—
  1. (a) any police authority established under section 3 of the Police Act 1996 (c. 16); or
  2. (b) the Metropolitan Police Authority.""
Page 72, line 48, at end insert— ( ) In section 17(2) (authorities to which duty to consider crime and disorder implications applies), after "London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority," there shall be inserted "a fire authority constituted by a combination scheme under the Fire Services Act 1947 (c. 41),". On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 268: Page 73, line 8, at end insert— ( ) In section 115(2) (authorities to which information may be disclosed for purposes connected with that Act), in paragraph (d)—

  1. (a) in sub-paragraph (i), after "London borough council" there shall be inserted ", a parish council"; and
  2. (b) in sub-paragraph (ii), for "or a county borough council" there shall be substituted ", a county borough council or a community council"."
The noble Lord said: My Lords, until now there has been some ambiguity about whether various bodies can share personal information with parish and community councils. Amendment No. 268 in my name amends Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to permit any person, including a chief officer of police, to make disclosures to a parish or community council where it is expedient for the purposes of that Act. That should alleviate some of the difficulties encountered in fighting crime at the community level.

It would be remiss of me if I were not to recognise Milton Keynes' initiative in this regard. In that authority community wardens are employed by the parishes which until now have been unable to receive vital information from Thames Valley Police. With this amendment the police authority will be able to share personal information with them and so counter crime together in a co-ordinated and efficient manner.

The government amendment in the group covers both England and Wales. In referring to parish councils alone, the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, limits itself to England. We have broadened the measure. I beg to move.

Lord Bradshaw

My Lords, I speak to Amendment No. 269 which stands in my name. I tabled the amendment to address the situation in Milton Keynes. The noble Lord referred to Milton Keynes, for which I thank him.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 269 not moved.]

Clause 81 [Secretary of State's functions in relation to strategies]:

Lord Dixon-Smith

moved Amendment No. 270: Page 73, line 23, leave out "include" and insert "take account of The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendments Nos. 270 and 271 return to a familiar theme. Clause 81 deals with the powers of the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales in relation to local crime reduction plans. New Section 6A(1)(a) states: The responsible authorities for local government areas to formulate any section 6 strategy of theirs for the reduction of crime and disorder so as to include". New Section 6A(1)(b) states: The responsible authorities for local government areas in England to prepare any section 6 strategy of theirs for combatting the misuse of drugs so as to include". The issue here is the old familiar one of whether the Secretary of State should dictate the content of the plans, as the Bill implies, or whether the responsible authorities should, in preparing a Section 6 strategy, have regard to, or take account of, particular provisions. The latter is the wording that we prefer. This is in a sense an argument about the meaning of words. However, we believe that those involved in crime reduction partnerships should be treated as responsible bodies. Consistent with the argument that we have advanced throughout our discussion on the Bill, we believe that the words "take account of" or, to take account within the would be preferable to the wording on the face of the Bill. I hope that in the spirit of agreement which the Minister has shown in the past, he might find it possible to accept this rather small point as well. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton

My Lords, I understand the spirit in which the amendment is moved. It is not the Secretary of State's intention to dictate. Our Secretary of State is not like that and I cannot imagine future Secretaries of State behaving in that way. I am sure that the noble Lord recognises that.

Of course we recognise that not every crime and reduction partnership area will have identical crime priorities. However, I think noble Lords will accept that some types of crime are of concern in almost every area. Anti-social behaviour is a prime example of that. A review of the crime and disorder reduction strategies published in 1999 showed that 42 per cent of partnerships set targets to deal with criminal damage and graffiti. Therefore, there was a degree of commonality. Similarly, there is widespread concern about young people and crime. I believe that we are all aware of that. Again, we find that in 1999 only 22 per cent of partnerships set targets to tackle youth crime in their area. However, that would probably feature as one of the more important issues.

We need to tackle those crimes which most concern the public and which are happening in our communities, in our streets and in our areas. There is no contradiction so far as we are concerned between addressing locally perceived needs and those that we have identified as being important nationwide. It is not a matter of dealing with one or the other—we need a twin-track approach; we need to tackle both. In that situation, we need a system that reflects local priorities but which also takes account of national priorities and ensures that they are properly addressed.

Guidance will be issued accompanying the issuing of any order informing responsible authorities of any specific area or areas of crime they must address. That guidance will require that they must look at that area of crime and determine the nature and scale of the problem in their area. If they are satisfied, through their audit (which they have to undertake) and community consultation process (most of us would argue that it is essential), that the specified area of crime or disorder is not a priority for action in their area, the partnership would not be required to set targets in that area. However, the partnership would have to be able to justify omitting the specified area of crime or disorder from their strategy. That is essential: consultation and investigation—looking at the issues—will be an important part of enabling them to make the case.

This matter involves a balance between the local and the national. It is important that the material is there to justify the case for omitting a particular anti-social activity, criminal area or acts of disorder from their plans. There is flexibility. The noble Lord's point is very important but we believe that we have got the balance about right. That is always difficult but we believe that the line is drawn in the right place.

I hope that those reassuring words from this side of the Dispatch Box will enable the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

9 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, the Minister may be right, but I was fascinated by his argument. He began by demonstrating that crime reduction partnerships were behaving responsibly and were hitting the right targets. Then he said that despite that, the Home Office did not really have confidence in that respect and that they should have regard to what the Home Office was saying. He further went on to say that if they could prove that the Home Office was wrong in their particular area, they could disregard that. That leaves me in a slight state of confusion. However, the House will be glad to hear that I intend to study the Minister's reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 271 not moved.]

Clause 86 [Liability in respect of members of teams]:

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 272: Page 80, line 27, leave out "In Scotland The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment and those grouped with it are technical amendments, on which I need not spend much time. They relate to subsection (7). They simply reflect the fact that the Secretary of State will not receive in Scotland funds from abroad by way of compensation but would receive such funds from abroad to be reimbursed to the Scottish Ministers for payment to the police authority in Scotland or the joint police board in Scotland. The clause relates to the legal basis for civil liabilities arising from joint operations with joint investigation teams involving police officers from any part of the UK and law enforcement officers from abroad.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendments Nos. 273 and 274: Page 80, line 28, after "authority" insert "in Scotland Page 80, line 29, after "board" insert "there On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Carlile of Berriew

moved Amendment No. 275: After Clause 87, insert the following new clause— "PART6A WALES POWERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR WALES (1) References to the Secretary of State in Part 2 of the Police Act 1996 (c. 16) and in Part 1 of this Act shall, in relation to the police areas in Wales, have effect as references to the National Assembly for Wales and references to England and Wales shall, where appropriate, have effect as references to England or Wales. (2) Every power conferred upon the National Assembly for Wales by this Act shall be exercised in accordance with the Government of Wales Act 1998 (c. 38). The noble Lord said: My Lords, the amendment stands in the name of my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford. I hope that the select band of noble Lords who are currently present will forgive a short Welsh interlude. I introduce it with the apologies of my noble friend, who is currently spreading hwyl around the People's Republic of China. I hope that I might spread a little chwarae teg into the Home Office.

The aim of the amendment is to transfer responsibility for policing to the National Assembly for Wales—to the Welsh Assembly Government, as it is now called. Our argument is that responsibility in full for public order and policing should cease to be a reserved matter. We argue that the Welsh Assembly Government have shown themselves to be a responsible organisation who are capable of handling very big issues and that policing should be one of the issues within their area of responsibility.

The National Assembly for Wales, as the House knows, has responsibility for many issues that are key to public order and the smooth running of Wales and Welsh society. I refer most notably in this context to housing, health and education.

We submit that it is consistent with the evolution of devolution and with the natural process of evolution that I believe everyone accepts that Welsh devolution can reasonably anticipate for progress to be made in reducing the number of reserved matters. We suggest that policing is one of those matters that should be within the responsibility of the 60 Members elected by the people of Wales to the Assembly.

We also argue that we can offer something of an enticement to the Home Office in suggesting that Welsh policing should become the responsibility of the Assembly. That enticement can be summed up in one word: "progress". The Government know how extremely difficult it is to fight turf wars on every possible front and from every angle while every police force in existence seeks to argue that it is part of the holy grail of policing that there should be a separate police force for Lwmshire or Llanlwmshire, or wherever it happens to be. The Home Office knows only too well—at times the Home Secretary seemed to express entirely understandable frustration about this—that moving ahead on changing police areas or obtaining much greater efforts against corruption in police forces and co-operation with regard to police forces is heavily dependent on change taking place. Change has been very slow.

I suggest that if the Welsh Assembly took responsibility for policing, as with other aspects of key policy, it has the capacity and courage to move forward and make progress. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that, just as the courts have developed a stronger Welsh identity on an all-Wales basis and just as the Crown Prosecution Service—although these are still reserved matters—has developed a stronger Welsh identity on the basis of change and of looking at Wales as a credible critical mass for these public purposes, policing would be likely to receive the same treatment if it was moved from the Home Office to the Assembly.

There is absolutely no basis for suggesting that the Assembly would not co-operate with the policing strategy set by Her Majesty's Government. We know that police forces which are controlled within Scotland have co-operated entirely with Home Office strategy in so far as that can reasonably he expected. Indeed, I suggest that the progress of the Strathclyde police force as effectively a large regional police service is something of an analogy which might be used in Wales, whether the Assembly was to retain the present number of police forces with greater co-operative structures or reduce the number to one, two or three.

Therefore, in this amendment we suggest that there is a very strong argument for moving responsibility for policing to Wales. One of the greatest advantages of doing so would be that it would be far more transparent and accountable. One reason that the Assembly is becoming far more accepted within Wales, from, it must he admitted, a very slow start, is that the public in Wales are seeing daily accountability for matters which were never accountable under the pre-devolution system. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, will remember how Welsh Questions in the other place used to be simply a set piece with little meaning. I am sure that he used to attend occasionally on a Monday afternoon just for the entertainment of Welsh Questions.

The issues which in my time in the other place used to be something of a joke at Welsh Questions and even in the Welsh Grand Committee are given the most serious consideration and much time in the Welsh Assembly. I believe that that should have happened in relation to policing. That is why I support the amendments tabled by my noble friend Lord Thomas of Gresford.

I hope that the Home Office will be more than the megalith which it is sometimes seen to be. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, is now a very effective keystone in that megalith. But I hope that from time to time the occupants of the odd room may be shed to some distant part of the planet, or at least the United Kingdom, and that we shall see a little movement towards the devolution of policing. Indeed, I hope that we shall see similar Home Office responsibilities devolved to the people of Wales and to the elected government within Wales. I beg to move.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, as the noble Lord spoke on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, I was reminded that the wording of this amendment is identical to that tabled in Committee. Of course, as we are swapping stories from the other place, that would not be allowed in the other place. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas, turned up late one night and agreed to reflect on what I said. Obviously it cannot have been very important because the wording of the amendment is exactly the same.

I cannot use a point that I intended to raise because the noble Lord did not give me a door to open. However, I have a wonderful historical note. The noble Lord, Lord Thomas, benefited us that night with an historical run-round of Wales. He got one of his dates wrong and I was going to tease him about it. He confused the date 1453 with 1543. We had a very interesting seminar that evening on the history of England and Wales. I shall not go down that road this evening, and I do not want to introduce too much of a partisan point. However, I remind the noble Lord of it because it is important. People in Wales listen to our debates when we deal with points of concern to Wales.

A devolution settlement has been established in Wales. It was part of the mandate that we sought and won in 1997. It was endorsed in a referendum and enshrined in statute. As I reminded the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, it has operated only since 1999. Therefore, we have a mandate for our achievements on devolution. I do not believe that so far the noble Lord's party has sought a mandate—certainly it does not have one—for what would be a very radical revision of the recently established system of government in Wales if the amendments were to be accepted.

I accept that the noble Lord did not rely too much on that point, although the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, did. However, the point cannot be made strongly enough that the example of policing in Scotland is one that supports the retention of the status quo in respect of policing in Wales. Scotland has arrangements for policing which are separate from those in England and Wales. Indeed, Scotland has always had a criminal justice system which is separate from that of England and Wales. The noble Lord's amendments would mean that, whereas the Scots have a single criminal justice system of which policing is a part, Wales would not. Thus there would be a complete dislocation.

I repeat what I said in Committee: the amendment begins to make sense only if the noble Lord who is moving it also moves amendments which address the court services, the Prison Service and the probation service because the executive function in respect of policing is predicated upon a single criminal justice system. I do not say that to be dismissive. It is not a red herring. It is absolutely crucial. I also rely on the position in Scotland.

There may be different priorities in Wales. I wish devolution and the work of the Welsh Assembly every success. As the Assembly does not have responsibility for primary legislation, it is able to deal with secondary legislation in a more professional way than the House of Commons. I freely accept that there is a real problem in dealing with secondary legislation through the Westminster Parliament. In the Welsh Assembly it is dealt with in a superior way. It has the time and the facility to do so. It is a young assembly and it is bound to push the boundaries. The noble Lord talked about devolution and I say that we have a devolution settlement, although I accept that those at the otter end will always want to push into the grey areas.

The noble Lord, Lord Thomas, wanted to drive his original plan through without taking account of the issues relating to the court service and the probation service. On those grounds alone it would not make sense. I do not suggest that the matter should he pursued, but if it is pursued—it is open to parliamentarians to do so—I would beg noble Lords to do it in a coherent package. Each time I have to demolish the case, because there is no case for divorcing the policing of Wales from the criminal justice system which is what would happen if the amendment were adopted. For that reason alone, I ask the House to reject the amendment.

Lord Carlile of Berriew

My Lords, I am disappointed in the Minister's reply, although I am not surprised by it. I am pleased to have been able to place this matter on the agenda again. I am sure that in years to come we shall return to it until Wales has a court system of its own, as it had up to the 19th century. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.15 p.m.

Lord Bradshaw

moved Amendment No. 276: After Clause 87, insert the following new clause— "PENSION ARRANGEMENTS ( ) The Police Pensions Act 1976 (c. 35) shall be repealed with effect from 31st March 2005. ( ) By 31st March 2003, the Secretary of State shall bring forward proposals for debate in both Houses of Parliament for the introduction, by 31st March 2005, of new pension arrangements for police officers, including arrangements to ensure the full and on-going costs of the new arrangements are met from a pension fund established from the Consolidated Fund. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall speak briefly on this amendment. In Committee I raised the issue of police pensions and I make no apology for returning to the matter because it is probably one of the most pressing issues facing police authorities at the moment. It is likely to be one of the major obstacles to raising the standards of performance across the board.

I also make no apology for repeating the fact that 13 per cent of our local budget now goes on pensions, and by 2005, £1.6 million will be spent on pensions, an increase of 13 per cent on current figures. That money is not spent on front-line policing.

I know that this is a difficult issue and I know that it requires careful consideration, but I also understand that there are no cheap solutions. In Committee the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, recognised our concerns about the increasing pensions burden and said that the Government were due to consider options for modernising the police pensions system.

Your Lordships may wonder why I was not reassured by that and why I am persisting with the amendments. I was not reassured because four years ago the Government undertook an extensive consultation exercise on the issue and much effort was put into it by APA, ACPO and others to find a sensible way forward. Since then the Government have constantly and repeatedly told us that they will come forward with proposals for reform "shortly"—a word that I hear so often in this House. Ministers and civil servants repeatedly use the word. We have heard that refrain for four years, repeated in Committee, but still we have nothing. To what timescale are the Government working, and how long will it be before we know their proposals?

I cannot stress strongly enough that resolution of the issue is a matter of desperate urgency. Amendment No. 276 seeks to prevent further procrastination and delay and to force the Government to act by a certain date. I do not say when that date will be, but if we are to deliver better policing in our communities—we are at one with the Government on that aim—we have to he able to spend our resources on policing and not on pensions.

Amendment No. 282 seeks to do something slightly different. It would require the Government to set out in the police grant report, which must be approved each year by Parliament, how much pensions are costing and what impact that has on operational policing. The amendment does not ask for hypothecation of grant spent on pensions, as the Minister suggested in Committee. That is not what the amendment seeks to do. We want the Government to be required to state publicly in the annual police grant report the extent to which the pensions timebomb is restricting the ability of police authorities to do their job.

In 2002/03, for example, the Government's headline figure for the increase in police funding was 6.1 per cent, but once funding for all the national initiatives had been top-sliced the average increase in funding for police authorities was just 2.8 per cent, with my own authority receiving 2.3 per cent. Yet from that police authorities will have to fund the growth in police pensions as well as inflation, which the Government agreed at 3.5 per cent. The sums do not add up and Parliament ought to be aware of that.

This is an issue where the Government could make some statement to enhance our understanding in Parliament of the £9.5 billion which is spent on policing. So I am hoping today, not with much expectation, to at least be given some sign of some date in the future when we can look forward to a resolution of this issue. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith

My Lords, I have some sympathy with these amendments, particularly Amendment No. 282. The impact of the police pension scheme on the police grant and police expenditure generally is quite dramatic. It will be in everybody's interest for this matter to be highlighted when the police grant is determined.

In relation to Amendment No. 276, however virtuous the idea proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, the wording of the amendment cannot be appropriate. It refers to new pension arrangements for police officers, including arrangements to ensure the full and on-going costs of the new arrangements are met from a pension fund established from the Consolidated Fund". The full and on-going costs seem to me to be the total costs and that would not be appropriate. Indeed, I know it is not what the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, intends because he does not wish police officers to continue as they already do. The amendment is therefore technically wrong even if the principle is correct. This issue will continue to be a problem until it is ultimately resolved. I have sympathy with what is being suggested, particularly in the second amendment.

Lord Bassam of Brighton

My Lords, I suppose I should have a good deal of sympathy for this amendment because I can remember 10 years ago trotting off to the Home Office as a humble official to sit behind my politicians at the time, pumping the information to them to argue the case. It was not a case which was wildly dissimilar to that advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, today.

There is no doubt that the scheme is in need of modernisation. That is not in dispute. The current scheme does not best meet the needs of the service. Under the existing scheme officers can retire with an immediate maximum pension and lump sum after 30 years' service. As a result the police service loses a number of very experienced police officers in their late 40s or early 50s who would still have much to contribute.

We need to modernise police pensions to make them more flexible and more affordable for new entrants. The current scheme is based on a system of fast accrual after 20 years' service. That does not reflect modern working patterns where more people are taking career breaks, working part-time and moving into and out of jobs.

We aim to complete our work on examining the options for a new scheme as quickly as possible. Amendment No. 276 offers one approach, as I said in Committee. But it would come with a massive price tag. It would cost approximately £35 billion to set up a funded scheme. Consider the impact of that on the police budget. Consider what we could do in terms of pumping more money into front-line services—I am not arguing one against the other; that is not our case today. But it is a huge amount of money to divert from more immediate needs.

In our previous debate the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, did not advocate an immediate wholesale change to a funded scheme because of the cost. Instead he favoured a gradual change which would involve a new funded scheme that would supersede the current arrangements as members of the current scheme progressed through their retirement. We have given that option careful consideration. Though no final decisions have been made, I have to say that that too would have a hefty price tag, albeit spread over time rather than at a cost of £35 billion in one fell swoop.

Setting up a funded scheme just for new entrants would place an extra and increasing pension burden on police authorities' finances for many years to come. There would be immediate and growing contributions into the nevi fund but no benefits in return until the fund began to finance most pension payments. That point would not be reached for well over 30 years. The immediate effect of setting up a new fund would be increased pressure on police authorities' budgets, for two reasons. First, employee contributions from new entrants could not, as now, be used to offset the cost of existing pensions but would be diverted into the new fund. Secondly, authorities would also have to pay into the fund employer contributions for the new entrants.

A funded scheme is not a panacea and would not necessarily make the scheme affordable. As I pointed out in Committee, although a funded scheme is necessary for a private sector occupational pension scheme, a public sector scheme such as the police pension scheme can have its benefits guaranteed by statute.

Although we are still considering the detailed options, we believe a better way forward would be a twin-track approach. First, introduce a better and fairer system of financing police pensions. Secondly, introduce a more affordable and flexible scheme for future entrants. We aim to fulfil the requirements of police authorities and chief officers for a system that has more certainty for pensions obligations on police forces. We hope to announce our conclusions on that issue in the near future. Note the change of wording—not "shortly" but "the near future".

As to Amendment No. 282, under present arrangements police grant is indivisible. It is calculated from a variety of elements—the majority of which are related to policing activity, with only a comparatively small part for pensions. The total grant for each police authority is unhypothecated. We do not attempt to ensure that authorities break even on each component but, generally speaking, the overall result is fair.

Provision is made in the police funding settlement for the overall cost of pensions but the allocation between police authorities does not always match the costs that they incur from year to year. For many forces, that is not a problem. For some, it is. We review pensions projections periodically—we are about to do so this year—to ensure that police grant calculations for each authority are reasonably up to date. Even so, there will always be years when costs are not fully supported by grant, which is why authorities may put money aside in good years for reserve, to cover exceptional costs in years when pressures are greater.

It is suggested that pensions funding should be separated from operational policing in the interests of transparency. I do not dismiss that valid argument but it can have disadvantages. If we were to split off a piece of grant for pensions, it would be logical to break the whole provision into its several components. That would not be beneficial to anyone and would limit the scope for police authorities and chief officers to be flexible in moving around their resources, according to different pressures on police budgets.

As I emphasised in regard to the pensions amendment and our debates in Committee, we intend to bring forward proposals as soon as possible. This is a serious, complex and long-term issue. There are no easy solutions. Actuaries have been trying to work something out for at least as long as I have been in public service and involved in policing matters. We have to take time to ensure a scheme that is workable and provides stability. We have developed the argument since Committee stage and hope to bring something forward in the near future, rather than shortly.

Lord Bradshaw

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his remarks. We shall return to the subject from time to time. Amendment No. 282 was meant to separate pensions from the policing function and it is a pity that it has not proceeded. Then at least the public would know what they are paying for and how much goes into pensions—even if the part they are paying for is split into separate headings. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.30 p.m.

Lord Bradshaw

moved Amendment No. 277: After Clause 87, insert the following new clause— "REPEAL OF RIOT (DAMAGES) ACT 1886 The Riot (Damages) Act 1886 (c. 38) shall be repealed. The noble Lord said: My Lords, with this amendment we seek the repeal of the Riot (Damages Act) 1886. We withdrew a similar amendment in Committee, following assurances that there would be an urgent review of the matter. To recap, the Act provides that where a police authority declares under the terms of the Public Order Act 1986 that a riot has taken place, police authorities become liable to pay for any damages to buildings and their contents arising through riots.

As everyone knows, a few weeks ago the Act came into the public eye when a claim was made against the Bedfordshire police—we were involved in the action, not necessarily the claim—for £100 million arising from disturbances at Yarl's Wood. The provisions of the Act apply even when there has been no negligence on the part of the police.

I mentioned in Committee that last November Dr Ruth Henig, the chairman of the APA, wrote to John Denham calling for an urgent review of the Act and its repeal in the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, acknowledged that the Government should have had the courtesy to respond to that letter. I am surprised that to date no reply has been received. That does not give me any confidence that the Government are taking the issue seriously.

The Minister announced that an urgent review of the Act was being carried out. However, I know that so far the APA has not been consulted in the review. That is a little surprising considering the impact of the Act on police authority budgets.

I am sure that when the review is completed we shall discover that there is no justification for the Riot Damages Act or that police authorities should meet payments for damages. At the end of the day, the impact is on operational policing, with funds being diverted away from frontline policing towards meeting costs which in other circumstances would be met by insurance companies. The Minister made some fairly unparliamentary comments about some of those people. I hope that the House will agree that we should grasp this opportunity for reform and repeal this outdated piece of legislation. I beg to move.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, with regard to the letter from Ruth Henig mentioned by the noble Lord, I have seen the reply that John Denham wrote yesterday. Whether it was sent yesterday or today, I freely admit that it does not actually say anything. One of the reasons for the delay in the substantive response to her letter is that we considered it better to wait until after the review which, I regret to say, is not yet complete. We will of course consult both the APA and the ACPO when we have some formal proposals to put to them. It was not intended as a discourtesy to the chairman of the Association of Police Authorities.

I have nothing further to add to what I said in Committee. I do not think that there is much purpose in repeating that. Indeed, given the more acrimonious comments that have made even more recently, it is even more important that I probably say nothing about the Yarl's Wood situation, other than what the Home Secretary and I have already said, either in the parliamentary answers or through the media. It would be dangerous to start extrapolating on that now.

I make absolutely clear that we are aware that the police service is unhappy with the current arrangements. We accept that there are two outstanding claims at the moment; one relating to the disturbances last year and of course Yarl's Wood.

There is an urgent review going on regarding the Riot (Damages) Act 1886. Straightforward repeal is fraught with difficulty. It is not simply a matter of coming to this House and saying that we wish to repeal an Act and that is the end of the matter. Of course, no one who calls on us to get rid of the Act actually comes up with a solution. I accept that it is the job of government to come up with a solution. However, we recognise that there is normally no case for public compensation for criminal damage. Riots are, however, a special case. Compensation provides a safety net for businesses and households in the inner city areas most prone to riot. As I said earlier on, I had experience in 1985 in my own constituency of damage to both domestic and commercial property at the Handsworth riots in the Lozells area of my constituency and that of Small Heath.

As I say, removing the protective net provided by the Riot (Damages) Act, without any alternative means of assisting people, could prove counterproductive in that it could discourage responsible businesses and householders from staying in areas where they are needed. That said, we are actively pursuing the matter. It is my view, and that of other Ministers in the Home Office, that we want to get this settled as quickly as possible. Clearly, we do not want to do anything that interrupts outstanding negotiations and claims, because they are being conducted under the status quo, but as soon as we have more proposals we will hot-tail it down to Parliament, the Association of Police Authorities and ACPO for consultation on the matter.

Lord Bradshaw

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. We have every sympathy with the small person who suffers damage. We have little sympathy with the large-scale insurance claims that result and fall to be met by police authorities, which are presumably receiving claims in proxy for the Government for something for which they are often not responsible. Having said that, and hoping that the Government come forward with proposals shortly, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 278: Page 142, line I, leave out sub-paragraph (6) and insert— ( ) In subsection (7B) of section 67 of that Act (limited effect of modification of code of practice), in paragraph (c) for "order" there shall be substituted "code". ( ) After subsection (9) of that section there shall be inserted— (9A) Persons on whom powers are conferred by—

  1. (a) any designation under section 34 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (c. 00) (designated employees of a police authority or Service Authority), or
  2. (b) any accreditation under section 36 of that Act (accreditation under community safety accreditation schemes),
shall have regard to any relevant provision of a code of practice to which this section applies in the exercise or performance of the powers and duties conferred or imposed on them by that designation or accreditation. ( ) In subsection (10) of that section (failure to comply with codes not to render a person liable to civil or criminal proceedings), after paragraph (b) there shall be inserted ", or (c) of a person designated or accredited under section 34 or 36 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (c. 00) to have regard to any relevant provision of such a code in the exercise or performance of the powers and duties conferred or imposed on him by that designation or accreditation,". The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendment No. 283. The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that accredited persons, in addition to designated persons, have regard to any relevant provisions of codes of practice issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in the exercise or performance of the powers and duties conferred or imposed on them by that designation or accreditation.

Amendment No. 278 works by creating a new subsection (9A) of Section 67 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to do that. Amendment No. 283 is a consequential amendment to Amendment No. 278 regarding Section 67(10) of that Act. Amendment No. 283 simply has the effect of repealing the word "or"—it is a consequential amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Harris of Richmond

moved Amendment No. 279: Page 143, line 8, at end insert— In section 6 of the 1996 Act (general functions of police authorities), after subsection (5) there shall be inserted— ( ) A police authority for any police area shall have power to call for information or reports from Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary, the Audit Commission or any crime and disorder reduction partnership within the authority's area." The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendment No. 281. We have returned to the amendments because we were disappointed that the Government did not feel able to respond more positively and at least offer to give the matter some thought. The amendment is not intended to give police authorities extensive powers to demand reports from all and sundry, nor to force people to cooperate. The intention behind the amendment is very different to that which has been placed on it by the Government. That may be due to deficiencies in the drafting, but we are more than happy to discuss with the Minister how we may secure an amendment that would be acceptable to the Government.

The aim of the amendment is in line with the wider aims of the Government's reform programme. It is designed to enable police authorities to be proactive about improving their oversight and management of the force by calling on professional assistance and advice—whether from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary or auditors—and working with those bodies to drive up police performance. Police authorities want to raise their game, just as the reform programme seeks to raise the game of the rest of the police service.

We are nearly there. I turn to Amendment No. 281. The Minister may be sick to death of hearing about police authorities and may feel that they have caused him a lot of work during the passage of this Bill. However, he told us in Committee that he was an optimist, so perhaps he will look at the issue in another way. Perhaps he will welcome the fact that police authorities and the Association of Police Authorities are actively engaging in the reform programme and are keen to help shape it in a way that will work.

The purpose of the amendment is to untie the hands of police authorities so that they can employ the right staff and resources to ensure that local people get efficient and effective police services. Police authorities are extremely frugal bodies. The Minister need have no concern that the amendment will detract in any way from money spent on operational policing. The debates that we have had on pensions are evidence of the commitment of police authorities to that.

In Committee, we said that this was a minor amendment aimed at helping police authorities to do their job better. The Minister suggested that the Association of Police Authorities have discussions with his department, and some preliminary discussions have taken place. I hope that if we are unable to resolve the issue today the Minister will agree that further discussions should take place before Third Reading.

The Minister has said many times in our debates that he wants to support police authorities and forces. I hope that that is exactly what he will do by making these small changes. I beg to move.

Lord Rooker

My Lords, I have learnt to love the police authorities, but, sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind. I cannot accept the amendment proposed by the noble Baroness. Amendment No. 279 refers to the crime and disorder reduction partnerships. The noble Baroness knows that we tabled amendments, which were agreed, that will make the polite authorities responsible for ensuring crime and disorder strategies under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. There is no statutory reference to crime and disorder reduction partnerships, but the new role as responsible bodies should ensure that the partnerships have access to information.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary is responsible to the Secretary of State. It is important not to blur that distinction. It is not, for example, responsible to chief constables or commissioners of police. As noble Lords have said, that does not hinder the flow of information to forces. That point was well made by my noble friend Lord Bassam of Brighton in Committee.

Amendment No. 281 is, I think, exactly the same. My noble friend Lord Bassam of Brighton said that we understood the argument behind the amendment. It is important that police authorities are appropriately resourced to perform their functions of setting a budget and appointing senior officers and in relation to the local policing plan and best value. However, as we have explained, the provision that requires civil staff to be under the direction of the chief officer of police is necessary to ensure the efficient and effective policing of an area.

The necessary corollary of that is that the chief officer should be involved in decisions that may lessen the star resources at his disposal. If there is a disagreement, it is open to the police authority to take the matter to the Secretary of State for resolution if it feels that it has a reasonable case. We are aware of no such referrals to the Home Secretary. We said that in Committee, and I have the same words in front of me now. It is not as though a head of steam is building up. I am not inviting referrals, but they can be made, if needed.

I have no doubt that we have not heard the end of the matter, and I suspect that it will be pursued in the other place. As for this place, I hope that the noble Baroness will not press the amendment.

Baroness Harris of Richmond

My Lords, I am disappointed again that the Minister does not feel that he can accept two small amendments.

One amendment relates to the general functions of police authorities and support for what they do. When the police authority that I chaired for a number of years wanted to employ an extra clerk or sub-clerk, we went through hoops with the police force, especially—to my regret—with the Police Federation, who said that the police authority took money out of its pocket to look after itself. We had long arguments. It is disappointing when an amendment is meant to say to police authorities that we understand that they need support in what they are trying to do. After all, the Government gave them statutory duties.

I urge the Government to consider the matter again. Even if they cannot accept both amendments, they should consider accepting one of them. Police authorities should be sensible and frugal. It is important that they have sufficient proper professional people to help them do their jobs effectively. I hope that the Minister will consider that matter and, regrettably, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 280: Page 143, line 15, at end insert— (4B) Before giving any guidance under subsection (4A), the Secretary of State shall consult with—

  1. (a) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of police authorities:
  2. (b) persons whom he considers to represent the interests of chief officers of police; and
  3. (c) such other persons as he thinks fit."
On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 281 and 282 not moved.]

Schedule 8 [Repeals]:

Lord Rooker

moved Amendments Nos. 283 to 286: Page 146, line 17, at end insert—

"The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (c. 60) In section 67(10), the word "or" after paragraph (a)."

Page 146, line 34, at end insert—

"In Schedule 2, paragraph 25. In Schedule 2A, paragraph 20."

Page 146, line 40, at end insert—

"Section 9A(2)."

Page 146, line 44, at end insert—

"Section 55A(2)."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 91 [Short title, commencement and extent]:

[Amendment No. 287 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton

moved Amendment No. 288: Page 83, line 29, leave out "Sections 86 and" and insert "Sections 85 to The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a minor technical amendment to Clause 91(5). It has the effect of specifying that the effect of those subsections of Clause 85—that is, liability for wrongful acts of constables and so forth—which amend the Police (Scotland) Act 1967, will come into force on whatever day is appointed by Scottish Ministers. It is no more or less than that and I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Rooker

moved Amendment No. 289: Page 84, line 8, at end insert ", and (c) Part 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (c. 53) (fixed penalties), On Question, amendment agreed to.

In the Title:

[Amendment No. 290 not moved.]