HL Deb 22 July 2002 vol 638 cc84-5

5 Page 9, line 23, leave out sub-paragraph (ii)

Lord Falconer of Thoroton

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 5. The Government have long accepted the principle that the same level of protection as is provided by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 to employees and to workers should also be provided to police officers.

Following the debate in Committee on an amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Borrie, who is not now in his place, the Government decided that the best course of action is to give police officers the full protection of the Public Interest Disclosure Act, rather than trying to create analogous provisions for police officers through regulations. These amendments make such provision. As a result, police officers, seconded police officers, cadets, special constables, officers in constabularies maintained otherwise than by a police authority—such as the MoD Police and the British Transport Police—and police members of NCIS and NCS who blow the whistle, will have the same rights as other employees and workers.

The latter will cease to be excluded from the provisions about protected disclosures in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. They will be able to have recourse to an employment tribunal if they feel that they have suffered detriment or been dismissed as a result of having made a protected disclosure, such as that another officer has committed a criminal offence or breached the code of conduct for police officers. We believe that this should bring about greater openness within the police service, and thereby lead to an increase in public confidence in it.

During the Committee stage debate, my noble friend Lord Bassam said that if we brought forward an amendment to bring police officers within the scope of the Public Interest Disclosure Act, the provision in subsection (4)(b)(ii) of Clause 9 would become redundant. This provision sought to protect officers who report wrongdoing by an alternative route. It is accordingly removed by Amendment No. 5.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 5.—(Lord Falconer of Thoroton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.