HL Deb 22 March 2004 vol 659 cc559-84

8.31 p.m.

Further consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 52 [Jurisdiction of Constabulary]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 154: Page 43, line 21, at end insert "(irrespective of how far that is from a civil licensed nuclear site)

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 154. In doing so, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 155, 157, 159 and 160, all of which are in my name and are supported by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw.

In a sense, these are two slightly different groups. The amendments all refer to jurisdiction, but have a slightly different objective. Amendments Nos. 154, 155 and 157 are, as a whole, a sub-group. They cover the same ground as amendments that I tabled in Grand Committee, and they are brought back to invite the Government to clarify further the jurisdiction of the constabulary as described on the Bill. There was some confusion on this matter in Grand Committee, and the Minister kindly wrote to me afterwards. In his letter he signalled that the Government acknowledged that there had been some confusion about jurisdiction. He then tried to clarify the matter further; but he did so within the confines of the Bill, as it is currently drafted, and within the confines of the Government's intentions. These amendments are about clarification.

I then go on to new ground in my two new clauses within Amendments Nos. 159 and 160. They have been tabled at the direct request of the UKAEA Police Federation. The purpose is to ask the Government to put on the record their reasons for treating the Civil Nuclear Police Authority differently from the British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police in relation to the powers introduced into the Antiterrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, covering both jurisdiction and collaborative agreements. I thought it would be convenient for the House if I put those two clauses together. Since they were tabled the wrong way round, which is entirely my fault, I think it might be more helpful if I spoke first to Amendment No. 160, because that continues the theme of the first sub-group of amendments with regard directly to jurisdiction.

I have read the debates of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act in full over the past couple of weeks, because we have had two debates on these matters within the Home Office brief on successive Thursdays. The Part 4 powers of that Act were renewed last week, on 15 March. As a result of reading the record carefully—because I was not in my brief at that stage and did not take part in the debates on that Act—I discovered for the first time the position taken by the Government and the other parties at that stage. Therefore, I am fully aware that the Government's proposals had a rocky passage through this House, since it was considered that they were going beyond what was strictly necessary to respond to the new terrorist threats. There was a feeling that the Government were trying to enlarge police powers and response beyond what was demanded by that particular threat. The noble Lord, Lord Wallace of Saltaire, said at col. 956 on 6 December 2001 that it was, not only an anti-terrorism Bill but a convenient vehicle for putting through a number of other measures".—[Official Report, 6/12/01; col. 956.]

I fully recognise that there was resistance to the idea of extending the jurisdiction of police forces beyond what was specifically related to a response to terrorist offences. But the Government got their Act, which left the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority police authority out of the loop; it was not included, as others were. I noted that the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, made some very telling points about the need for the British Transport Police to be covered—and indeed, they were, and it is right that they were. I hope that he will contribute to this debate, too.

The Minister will be aware that there was a strong feeling in the Atomic Energy Police Federation that the Government have got this matter wrong. Indeed, it is supported by other police federations in the matter—by those police federations that are within the purlieu of the Home Office, which support the request by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority police that they should be within the family of those who have wider jurisdiction.

The constabulary are responsible people; they want to be able to respond to emergencies in the proper way, so they want to be able to go to the assistance of other people immediately that help is needed in an emergency, and not to have to be in the same position as any other private citizen in any action that they take to assist. On the face of it, there seems no good reason for members of the constabulary to be prevented from acting with the full powers of other Home Office police forces in an emergency, particularly when they come across something in an area where they would not normally have constabulary powers. We have to take into account that this Bill, rightly, transforms the special constables into full constables.

The federation advises me that it has examined case studies and scenarios in which the absence of such emergency powers could have dire implications and consequences for national security. It also makes the very practical point that, apart from those considerations, emergency powers are required for the plain and simple reason that members of the public expect all police officers, especially those in uniform, to act in an emergency and protect the public interest. They are concerned that the public see them as being a source of assistance when it is an assistance that they are not able to give.

On collaborative agreements, will the Minister confirm that in the DTI's original consultation, the Government suggested the power to enable the constabulary to enter into formal collaborative arrangements with other forces, mirroring Section 23 of the Police Act 1996? That seems to have been proposed by the Government but has not apparently made its way into the Bill. Will the Minister explain the Government's reasoning for not taking that forward? Surely, the omission of collaborative agreements might seriously undermine all necessary future joint initiatives with other police bodies.

In summary, I am asking for a clarification of the Government's earlier position on jurisdiction with regard to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority and asking what consideration the Government have given, not only since Grand Committee but before that, to the proposal that is so strongly supported by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority police that they should be brought into line with the British Transport Police and the MoD with regard to both jurisdiction and collaborative agreements. Will the Government explain why they have decided to turn against that proposal? I beg to move.

Lord Bradshaw

My Lords, I support the sentiments of the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St John. On these Benches, we expect every police force to adhere to the same standards in respect of jurisdiction, training, uniform and equipment as any other police force. The noble Baroness made a very good point when she said that when people see a constable in a uniform that is the same apart from cap badges and buttons, which people in a fracas probably do not study in great detail, they will expect the same service. To the extent that the Government are sheltering behind the fact that these people are not properly trained, equipped or uniformed, the regulations need to be changed. I believe we should seek absolute uniformity so that the public can expect a uniform service. I accept that the UKAEA Constabulary and the British Transport Police are specialised police forces, but nonetheless, when they are off their sites or are dealing with matters adjacent to their sites, people will expect them to behave in the same way as any other police force.

Baroness Byford

My Lords, I rise to support my noble friend's amendment. I was lucky enough to be with her when we met the UKAEA Police Federation, which feels strongly that the Government have got it wrong. I shall be interested to hear the Minister's answers to some of the questions posed by my noble friend.

I shall give one or two examples of matters that we would like clarified. My understanding from the UKAEA Police Federation was that the UK AEA Constabulary operates on UKAEA sites and has full control of what goes on within them. But what happens if UKAEA police are escorting somebody from one point to another, which takes them outside their boundary, and they come across a road accident? Are they supposed to go by that road accident without stopping and helping? Members of the general public would be appalled if there was somebody in uniform who they expected could give some help but who, under the Bill, was not allowed to do so. The UKAEA Police Federation gave other examples but that is one I would like the Minister to address. There is a difference between the role of the UK AEA Constabulary within its area and outside it and it is the role outside it that raises questions.

I also wish to underline what my noble friend said and ask when it was decided not to treat the UKAEA Constabulary in the same way as the other examples that have been given tonight: MoD Police, the British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the ordinary police forces? At some stage somebody must have made a conscious decision. If not, is it an oversight? It could be. That is something about this stage of a Bill. We can pose questions and often the Government say that something was an oversight, that they had not thought in that way.

My next question then follows: if the UKAEA Constabulary are not to be included, does the Minister accept that UKAEA police might find themselves restrained from giving help to the general public when it would be in everybody's interest that they should be allowed to do so? I suspect that they would refrain from helping because they would not be covered by insurance because they were technically beyond their boundaries. It is something that it is important to understand.

The noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, raised the question of why we should not have the same standards for all these forces. It is hugely important. Members of the general public do not have regard for whether a policeman is in the MoD Police or the British Transport Police. Certainly, when I have travelled on trains there have been British Transport Police constables and I have been truly thankful that they were there. I have never doubted that they were not in their jurisdiction. Yet with the Bill, the situation is different: the UKAEA Constabulary cannot be included.

I pose those four specific questions but the one I have tried to make a little wider than my noble friend did in her introduction is what happens when U KA EA police are doing escort work or work that takes them outside their perimeters. What is their legal liability if they go to help somebody? I am sure that in some cases they would be asked to do so. It seems to us to be slightly strange that this decision has been arrived at without any explanation being given either to this House or to the UKAEA Constabulary.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, I hope that when the Minister replies he will not spend all his time criticising the wording of these amendments, because what is really important is what they say. He looks very hurt at that suggestion, but sometimes that happens and it is a way out for Ministers sometimes.

What matters is what these amendments suggest—from two points of view: first, because the police want to be able to do the job properly—both the ordinary local police forces and the future constabulary; secondly, because of the public perception which is extremely important in this instance. All the points have been made about why the police feel that they would do the job better if they could have collaborative agreements and jurisdiction that overlaps. The point has also been made about public perception. Whatever the reason for trying to create this separateness—and there is of course a distinction of function—it is probably counter-balanced by the disadvantages; and that is what we want to hear about.

I am sorry that we are doing this on Report because it would be nice to pick up on what the Minister says—once we have heard it. I do not know what he will say. This stage is a very bad way of legislating, but we cannot help that—those are our rules. I hope that the Minister will tell us why the Government take the position they do, whatever it is; and I hope that perhaps they are sympathetic to these amendments.

Lord Triesman

My Lords, I think that it is probably a very normal way of legislating. As I read the reports of debates on legislation and Committee stages in the other place, I frequently see processes which probably bear some reflection on this and probably reflect the fact that this legislation started in this House.

I will start with some general points rather than being tempted into criticising the wording of the amendments, which had not occurred to me until the suggestion was just made. The points made by the noble Baronesses, Lady Carnegy and Lady Byford, about the reasons why the legislation is framed in rather different terms here than happened with the Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police need immediate scene setting.

Legislation is very much a creature of its times. To be candid, when the legislation that established the MoD Police and the British Transport Police was drawn up, these questions were not raised. The legislation that created those forces was brought into law and no one raised the issue about whether there should be a very specific separation of functions and powers. That was not the way in which the debate was conducted at that time. This legislation, I suppose, has been constructed looking through the telescope from the other end, if I can put it that way. We started with the question: what should these functions be? and then tried to make sure we focused very precisely on that in order to make sure that the functions were precisely those that were required by this legislation. Therein lies the difference: it is more a matter of history than of anything else.

This group of amendments brings together a number of different themes in amendments concerning the jurisdiction and powers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. As I hope I tried to make as clear as I could in the debate in Grand Committee, the objective of the Government here is very precise: it is to create a civil nuclear constabulary which has the powers that it needs, and precisely the powers that it needs, to ensure that civil nuclear sites and materials are effectively safeguarded. That is the purpose; there is no other. I am sure that that objective at least has the support of the whole House. I shall come back to whether, in the course of their duties, people come across other kinds of incidents, but let us at least start by seeing whether we are agreed that that objective most certainly must be fulfilled.

I shall not take the amendments in the precise order that they were put to me. I should like to try to get a whole picture by taking your Lordships through the amendments in an order that seems rational to me.

Amendment No. 159 duplicates provisions already in Schedule 14 (paragraphs 1 and 5) to the Bill, which will enable the constabulary to enter into collaborative agreements with other police forces, both in England and Wales and in Scotland—right across the whole of Great Britain. I believe that was one of the first assurances that I was asked to give—that the collaborative arrangements would certainly be in place. There are, of course, at present a number of similar operational arrangements between the constabulary serving the UKAEA and other police forces. There is a close relationship with local forces with which that specialist force needs to interact. Formal relationships are set out in the national policing protocol that forms the basis of the detailed operational memorandum of understanding between the relevant local forces. I assure noble Lords that those agreements and those arrangements will continue. The national policing protocol sets out the overall approach to policing and the responsibilities and obligations of the constabulary and the regional forces supplemented by detailed agreements between chief constables in the regions where the constabulary polices nuclear sites. In that sense we see this provision as carrying real continuity into the future arrangements.

As I have said, there are a number of detailed provisions regarding entering into collaborative agreements. The provisions achieve this effect by making appropriate amendments to Section 23 of the Police Act 1996 and to Section 12 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967, both of which deal with collaboration agreements, to ensure that the constabulary is also covered by those provisions. For those reasons I suggest that the amendment is not necessary.

Let me dwell for a moment on the jurisdiction and powers of the constabulary. Given its role in protecting civil nuclear sites and material, it is obviously vitally important that we get the jurisdiction and powers available to officers of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary absolutely right for that task. I therefore very much welcome the attention that is being given to this part of the Bill. The jurisdiction in the Bill is based on that of the present UKAEA Constabulary (set out in Section 76 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001), and the Government believe that this core jurisdiction, as set out in Clause 52, is what is required to allow the constabulary to undertake its nuclear security function.

For clarity and to make sure that we get the issues of jurisdiction powers absolutely right, the provisions cover the following places in Great Britain: civil licensed nuclear sites and the area within five kilometres of those sites—the reason for the five kilometres was discussed in considerable detail in Committee—any transhipment site at which the constabulary needs to protect nuclear material while it is al the site—that adds to the diversity and the scope—and anywhere the constabulary needs to be in order to protect nuclear material in transit which, of course, could cover very wide areas of Great Britain—and to pursue or detain a person reasonably believed to have unlawfully removed or interfered with nuclear material being safeguarded by the constabulary, or to have attempted to do so. That could take a constable in this domain anywhere. These provisions are broad in scope.

Amendments Nos. 154, 155 and 157 seek to clarify that further by making it more apparent that those categories—the protection of nuclear material in transit and the pursuit or detention of people who are believed to have removed material, or attempted to do so—apply irrespective of how far those places are from a licensed nuclear site. The advice that I have received is that the Bill is already sufficiently clear on that point and the addition of the words in these amendments would have no substantive effect on those points in terms of the scope of the jurisdiction of the constabulary. For those reasons I hope that they will be withdrawn.

I turn briefly to one or two points that have been made, understandably, about what a constable in uniform will do when he appears at a non-nuclear incident and where the public may reasonably expect that he could intervene to helpful effect. I suppose it goes without saying that any constable, just like any other citizen in those circumstances, would be entitled to intervene using citizens' powers. I suspect some authority would be conveyed by the appearance of constables in those circumstances. In considering the exercise of powers across Great Britain, and allowing for the fact that people would be able to pursue and detain anyone who stole or interfered with materials that are being safeguarded, there is no doubt in our minds that such occasions may occur. We see no reason why people should not be able to intervene. We would expect any citizen to be able to intervene because, as citizens, people are in a position to do so. The Bill provides for that and for the mobility point that I have already made.

These amendments extend the jurisdiction to anywhere in Great Britain as long as the exercise of the police powers is outside the constabulary's core jurisdiction which is in connection with the safeguarding of nuclear materials. I know that the UKAEA Police Federation has been arguing strongly for the same emergency and assistance powers available to the MoD Police and British Transport Police. They are subject to Amendment No. 160 and allow officers of those forces to intervene in certain circumstances with police powers outside their usual jurisdictions. The Government, together with the Home Office, have considered that very carefully. The extension of those powers to the Civil Nuclear Constabulary—especially as we expect there to be very few incidents and a relatively limited role for the constabulary in policing the public—suggest to us that such a clause would not be justified on the face of the Bill.

While we know that there has been support in some circles for the proposition, there is not widespread support for the proposition from the Association of Chief Police Officers. It is not at all clear that such a proposition would be welcomed by all bodies involved in public policing. A full consultation would be required. That situation is bound to be kept under review while those with authoritative voices conclude that these powers are not adequate. However we should not draw the conclusion that there is widespread support for such a change.

I now turn to Amendments Nos. 156 and 158. It has become apparent that the constabulary may occasionally have to exercise police powers or privileges outside its core jurisdiction in order to exercise police powers within that core jurisdiction—that is the point to which I have referred—or for purposes connected with that core jurisdiction. An example might be an application for a search warrant for a place within the core jurisdiction that has to be made at a place outside the core jurisdiction, or where the constabulary is escorting someone it has arrested within its core jurisdiction to a police station located outside its core jurisdiction.

Amendment No. 158 and the consequential Amendment No. 156 address that problem. They would also allow constabulary officers to pursue throughout Great Britain anyone who commits a crime within their core jurisdiction. This would allow, for example, a member of the constabulary who, while undertaking his nuclear security duties comes across a general crime incident occurring within his core jurisdiction, to pursue the offender until such time as control can pass to the local force. But it must be desirable and we would normally expect those requirements to go to the local force so that it could do the work for which it is best trained and is most expert.

While there may be occasions when the constabulary's role in protecting civil nuclear sites and materials in transit means that it might become involved in public policing, that is not the constabulary's role and it is not resourced to become involved in such matters except on an exceptional basis. Amendments Nos. 156 and 158 allow for such exceptions.

Amendment No. 160 would take that flexibility further. It would allow the constabulary to exercise police powers outside its Clause 52 jurisdiction, for the purpose of providing assistance to other police forces which they have requested or required in certain emergency situations. As noble Lords may be aware, such powers are available to officers of the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police.

The BTP and the MoD police have such powers for two reasons. First, they are regularly policing the general public and have developed a level of expertise in dealing with the public across a wide range of incidents and circumstances. Secondly, it has been established that the number of situations that have arisen which would require the use of those extended powers justifies their being available in those circumstances, and none of that is true of the UKAEA Constabulary. The operational duties of the constabulary mean it will have much less experience in public policing than either of those other forces.

The Government are concerned that the constabulary should not have powers until there is an established operational need—that is the criterion—and constabulary officers will not be in a position regularly to exercise such powers. It is a small constabulary and reacting to circumstances and demands from other forces might also divert it from the core tasks of protecting civil nuclear sites and materials. Any significant level of assistance would seriously weaken its ability to carry out its nuclear security role and that would be unacceptable.

The Government are prepared to keep the matter under review, but at this stage they are not prepared to accept the extensions that have been suggested and I trust that the amendment will be withdrawn.

9 p.m.

Baroness Byford

My Lords, I seek clarification from the Minister before he sits down. He said that he could not imagine many instances when the new police force might come into contact with the public or might be needed. He has said that the force would have the same powers as any civil person. I do not believe that my noble friend Lady Anelay and I did not accept that. I asked him about liability. For example, if the force helps at an incident and something goes wrong—as can happen—is it covered under its own existing framework, or, because it is acting outside that framework, is there a liability if anything goes wrong and who bears it? If the force is not covered in those circumstances, surely it is much less likely to be willing to become involved in something that is beyond its brief?

Lord Triesman

My Lords, I wish I could give a simple answer. I cannot do that—not because I wish to evade the question, but because the number of possible circumstances is huge and the extent of liability would reflect those circumstances. It is the case with police forces now that there are some areas where there are outcomes of actions that are covered and some that are not, depending on the level of responsibility in any situation. But I am willing to ensure that I can answer her question as precisely as I can, despite the diversity of such circumstances and I shall write to the noble Baroness with further indications. I hope that it will not be an overly long and complex letter when it arrives, but we can imagine many such circumstances. They potentially range from the police making a simple mistake to driving so fast and recklessly in pursuit of someone, that any injuries would carry a liability, because no reasonable person would have done that. I use those examples purely for illustration.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for the care and attention he has taken in answering questions on this complex issue. It is very dear to the heart of the Police Federation both in its current form and when translated into the new one and is an issue I take extremely seriously. This is a body that is trying its very best to act in the best interests of the public, not just for the businesses it is protecting.

I am grateful for the Minister's further clarification on the three amendments I brought back from Grand Committee. He has made the Government's current position clearer. I accept the government amendments. They improve the Government's position, but not enough. However, they are still stuck in the same mindset. The Government's overall approach to my amendments seems to be, "Yes, we know we've done this to other police, MoD and British Transport Police, but we don't want to start from there." Well, we are there. We have now got a police force that will have to continue to deal with emergencies.

I certainly shall not refer to every point, but there are a couple of issues that really jump out of the page. First, the Government are saying the responsible constables in the new civil nuclear police can act as any other responsible citizen may do when faced with an emergency. Indeed they may. The constables are saying that they not only want to react, they want to have the authority to be able to react in a proper capacity as the public expect. They are faced with the difficulty of a private citizen making a citizen's arrest. That is not the same as a police arrest. If you are a policeman carrying out an arrest acting in your capacity as a constable and you are assaulted by the person whom you attempt to detain, that person could be charged with assault on a police officer. As the Minister will know, according to magistrates' guidelines that offence carries a higher starting point in sentencing terms. It is seen as a more serious crime. That is taken seriously by those who think to take a swing at a police officer. Those people may not have the same reserve when it comes to someone they think is not a police officer.

There is the other issue that my noble friend Lady Byford raised. If these constables act in a way that they consider to be proper and responsible, they might find themselves faced with a claim for compensation for any assault they carry out. They are acting in a private capacity, which puts a heavy responsibility on them when they are seen by everyone around them as being the person in authority.

The other issue that jumps out of the page is that of the Government saying that it is not needed because it will not happen. We need to consider this further. The Minister said that he will keep this matter under review. This is the Government saying, "Don't do it now, but we'll think about it." Well, that may never come to pass. Accidents may happen in the mean time. We are being told that there will be few incidents and therefore it is not justified and we need consultation first. But the Government have had the chance to carry out consultation. They knew that this was of particular concern to this constabulary. The Government say that there will be few incidents but we simply do not know what the future may hold.

The Minister's parting shot is to tell me that this constabulary is different from the British Transport Police and the MoD because those two forces are regularly policing the public. Well, this member of the public has not been regularly policed by the MoD in 50-something years. I shall say no more than that. I do not accept the force of the argument that the Minister has sought valiantly to make today. I do not mean to be condescending but he has tried to throw every missile at me he could. However, I can tell him that with the support of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Police behind me, he has missed every single time.

On this occasion, I give notice that although I shall beg leave to withdraw the first amendment in the group, when Amendment No. 160 is called I shall seek to test the opinion of the House.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 155 not moved.]

Lord Triesman moved Amendment No. 156: Page 43, line 25, leave out "also

[Amendment No. 157 not moved.]

Lord Triesman moved Amendment No. 158: Page 43, line 30, at end insert— ( ) A member of the Constabulary shall have the powers and privileges of a constable throughout Great Britain for purposes connected with—

  1. (a) a place mentioned in subsections (1) to (4);
  2. (b) anything that he or another member of the Constabulary is proposing to do, or has done, at such a place; or
  3. (c) anything which he reasonably believes to have been done, or to be likely to be done, by another person at or in relation to such a place."

[Amendment No. 159 not moved.]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 160: After Clause 52, insert the following new clause— "JURISDICTION OF CONSTABULARY IN ASSISTING OTHER FORCES

(1) Where a member of the Constabulary has been requested by a constable of—

  1. (a) the police force for any police area,
  2. (b) the Ministry of Defence Police, or
  3. (c) the British Transport Police Force,

("the requesting force") to assist him in the execution of his duties in relation to a particular incident, investigation or operation, members of the Constabulary have for the purposes of that incident, investigation or operation the same powers and privileges as constables of the requesting force.

(2) Members of the Constabulary have in any police area the same powers and privileges as constables of the police force for that police area—

  1. (a) in relation to persons whom they suspect on reasonable grounds of having committed, being in the course of committing or being about to commit an offence; or
  2. (b) if they believe on reasonable grounds that they need those powers and privileges in order to save life or to prevent or minimise personal injury.

(3) But members of the Constabulary have powers and privileges by virtue of subsection (2) only if—

  1. (a) they are in uniform or have with them documentary evidence that they are members of that Constabulary, and
  2. (b) they believe on reasonable grounds that a power of a constable which they would not have apart from that subsection ought to be exercised and that, if it cannot be exercised until they secure the attendance of or a request under subsection (1) by a constable who has it, the purpose for which they believe it ought to be exercised will be frustrated or seriously prejudiced.

(4) In this section— British Transport Police Force" means the constables appointed under section 53 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949 (c.xxix) (as to appointment of constables).

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 160 and I wish to test the opinion of the House.

9.11 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 160) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 35: Not-Contents, 43.

Division No. 3
Addington, L. Hooson, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B. Jenkin of Roding, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Jopling, L.
Attlee, E.[Teller] Knight of Collingtree, B.
Barker, B. Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Bradshaw, L. Livsey of Talgarth, L
Bridgeman, V. Lyell, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. Maddock, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Byford, B. Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Caithness, E. Miller of Hendon, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Palmer, L.
Courtown, E. [Teller] Park of Monmouth, B.
Fookes, B. Rennard, L.
Gray of Contin, L. Roper, L.
Greenway, L. Shutt of Greetland, L.
Higgins, L. Windlesham, L.
Ahmed, L. Dixon, L.
Andrews, B. Evans of Parkside, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L. Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Gale, B.
Campbell-Savours, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Carter, L. Grocott, L. [Teller]
Chandos, V. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Clark of Windermere, L. Hughes of Woodside, L.
Crawley, B. Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Davies of Coity, L. Jones, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller] Jordan, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B. Levy, L.
Lockwood, B. Sawyer, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L. Smith of Leigh, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L. Stone of Blackheath, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L. Triesman, L.
Morgan, L. Warner, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Rogan, L. Whitty, L.
Rooker, L. Winston, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

9.21 p.m.

Clause 54 [Government, administration and conditions of service]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 161: Page 45, line 7, at end insert— (d) such other persons as appear to the Authority to represent the employees of the Authority

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 161, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 162, both of which are in my name and are supported by the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw.

I can deal briefly with the subject matter of this small group of amendments. Their purpose is to ask the Government to place on the record their view of the pay and conditions that should be enjoyed by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. By that, I do not mean only the uniformed constabulary; here, I am asking specifically about the civilians—that is, the non-constable staff. The UKAEA Police asked me to make that point. Will there be comparability with the MoD? Also, will the Minister explain what the pay and conditions will be during the transitional period and how they will be determined? I beg to move.

Lord Triesman

My Lords, this group concerns the conditions of service of members of the constabulary and the civilian support staff. Clause 54 places a statutory obligation on the new police authority to ensure that, where it makes provision about conditions of service of the constabulary and the provision relates to matters dealt with by regulations made under Section 50 of the Police Act 1996, the provision made by the police authority will differ from the regulations only in so far as it is necessary to reflect the circumstances and structure of the constabulary.

That obligation applies only in relation to the police officers of the constabulary and not to the civilian employees, as civilians are not subject to the Section 50 regulations of the Police Act 1996. The clause therefore contains an obligation on the police authority to consult the Police Federation and any relevant rank-related association approved under Clause 61 before making provision about the conditions of service of the police officers of the constabulary. I believe that that was broadly the statement that I made in Grand Committee. That is the full extent of the bodies that will be able to represent the officers of the constabulary.

The effect of Amendment No. 161 would be to extend the obligation to consult other representative bodies; namely, those representing civilian employees of the police authority, whose members could not be affected by the provision that the police authority was proposing to make in connection with the underlying Police Act regulations.

The Government have also given a clear commitment that staff terms and conditions will be fully protected on the transfer of members of the UKAEA Constabulary and the civilian support staff from UKAEA to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority in accordance with the requirements of TUPE. I repeat that commitment here and do so unequivocally.

The transferred employees will also continue to be eligible for membership of the UKAEA pension scheme. The transfer arrangements that will apply to the constabulary are set out in Clause 66 and Chapter 2 of Part 1 of the Bill. Paragraph 10 of Schedule 5 gives legal effect to the TUPE undertaking, which I have just given your Lordships.

I hope that that explanation demonstrates that the Bill already deals adequately with the intent behind the amendments and that the noble Baroness will feel that the amendment can safely be withdrawn.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. There is a difference in approach between how civilian staff in the constabulary are to be treated. He is right to trace that back to the different source in legislation for that treatment. I am grateful for the explanation he has further put on the record today. I shall go back to the UKAEA police and ask whether they are satisfied with the commitments the Minister gave today and whether they feel that they have properly covered their concerns. If I am requested by them to bring the matter back, that may be by way of correspondence rather than by amendment. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 162 not moved.]

Clause 58 [Inspection]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 163: Page 46, line 15, leave out "from time to time" and insert "at least once every three years

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, we now turn to the issue of the inspection of the new constabulary. We discussed this matter in Grand Committee on 27 January at cols. 125 to 128, so I shall be relatively brief.

At present the UKAEA Constabulary is subject to a voluntary inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary. Clause 58 puts that on a mandatory statutory basis. Subsection (1) provides that HMIC, must inspect the Constabulary from time to time". My amendment would introduce a minimum requirement of an inspection at least every three years. I think that that is advisable from the point of view of good practice. It does not prevent HMIC carrying out an inspection more frequently—that could be its decision. However, it does prevent it going outwith the three years.

The amendment does not prevent HMIC doing what the Minister claimed in Grand Committee at col. 126 it would do; that is, move to a system of baseline assessments. I do not think my amendment stops HMIC doing that. It can still have a system of baseline assessments within the required three years for a statutory full inspection.

My amendment would not prevent the new constabulary establishing its own programme and using its own professional judgment in setting up systems that prepare it effectively and efficiently in readiness for an HMIC inspection. I do not think that my amendment is overly restrictive; it simply provides the legislative backstop for good practice. I know that earlier the Government did not like my move to good practice being required in the Bill. However, I hope on this occasion they might have changed their mind. I beg to move.

Lord Bradshaw

My Lords, I believe that the amendment is particularly important. To some extent it is unfortunate that we live in times which are changing very rapidly and when the Government are heaping legislation on police authorities, setting up new bodies and a new independent complaints authority, and when new targets, new best-value regimes and new training regimes are being imposed on them. I cannot envisage a period of longer than three years passing without the need for a full inspection. I am sure that this police authority, which is well hidden from public view, merits as does any other police authority, regular, thematic inspection. The amendment has great validity. I almost defy the Minister to tell us why it should go longer than three years without being subjected to an HMIC inspection.

9.30 p.m.

Baroness Byford

My Lords, I rise to support my noble friend's amendment. I think that, as the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, has just said, this is a very important amendment. I should like to press the Minister a little more. Perhaps he would like to have a go at describing the phrase "from time to time". It is rather like "shortly" or "very soon". However, we shall listen with interest to what the noble Lord has to say.

The Government have used the phrase "from time to time". Have they considered and dismissed any other time period, or have they not considered in the first instance giving some guidance as to what that time lag might be? My noble friend has spoken to her amendment so I shall not enlarge upon it, but I wanted to seek greater clarification on those two issues.

Lord Triesman

My Lords, I am the first to agree that this is an important area. The noble Baronesses, Lady Anelay and Lady Byford, and the noble Lord, Lord Bradshaw, made that point with great force. I can assure noble Lords that I accept it. Inspection is plainly important and a good inspection regime in the Civil Nuclear Constabulary is certainly in the forefront of importance.

I do not know that I shall have a huge amount to add to what was said in the discussion about the identical amendment tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, in Grand Committee. But I hope I can say with some clarity what I believe the inspection regime will be like.

The UKAEA constabulary is currently the subject of voluntary inspections by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, as several noble Lords have pointed out. This takes place about every three years. I repeat that: it takes place about every three years. Clause 58 rightly puts these inspection arrangements on a mandatory, statutory footing for the first time. In doing so, it follows the precedent of the Police Act 1996, the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987 and the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, which established the British Transport Police. None of these Acts sought to constrain Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary in deciding the frequency of its inspections of a particular force. Specifying a minimum period in legislation for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which does not apply to any of the other 43 police forces inspected by HMIC, seems probably rather restrictive by comparison with them.

If it were true, as was argued during Committee, that this amendment would help ensure the new constabulary got off to the best possible start, it would be hard not to have sympathy for the amendment. But it is at odds with the actual circumstances where the constabulary, whose functions and role is not changing significantly as a result of the Bill, has already been subject to regular HMIC inspections over many years. That brings us to how inspections are likely to take place in the future and what might be meant by "from time to time" in these particular circumstances—words which, it is quite true, probably defy any kind of dictionary definition. If that is the point the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, was making, I shall of course agree with her.

I understand—and I can see great strength in this—that Her Majesty's inspectors are currently in the process of moving, and with some vigour, to a system of assessments which are based on risk. These are the thematic kinds of inspection that we want. There are some activities probably in every police force which do not change dramatically or pose any very considerable risk, and probably can be looked at so long as you are convinced of a strong audit system within that force periodically without much fear of consequences. There are some activities which I would venture to suggest go very much beyond that and where everyone would want to be certain, because of the nature of the risks involved, that inspection was more frequent, went into matters more thoroughly and did not rely, for example, entirely on there being an appropriate internal audit system, much as that would be desired.

So, in these cases where the risks are higher, where the assessment based on risk is more telling, the inspections of these forces' performance need attention far more frequently than those which do not. In that sense, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St Johns, is right: her amendment is not incompatible with the change that I described, and I do not suggest that it is.

None the less, there is a need to give Her Majesty's inspectors flexibility in the approach that they take to the task that they have been given. That will be a significant encouragement to them. In short, we are looking for something that is highly effective, which is why this is an important area to debate; but it must also be proportionate, must not become an end in itself and must not distract everybody from their other duties. It must be done properly and be relevant. Doing the inspections in terms of an assessment of risks is a relevant process.

Clause 58(2) also gives the Secretary of State the power to require an inspection. It provides the necessary fallback, should it be necessary to require an inspection to be undertaken at any time. The Secretary of State would have to pay close attention to whether it was desirable or necessary and take the right action, should the judgment be made that it was necessary.

It is on that basis that I ask that the amendment be withdrawn. That is not to diminish the importance of the issue, but the arguments about the assessment of risk, proportionality and relevance should give the best guidance to all of us.

The Earl of Caithness

My Lords, having listened to what the Minister said, I feel that his arguments on the amendment are exactly the same as those adduced by my noble friends Lady Anelay of St Johns and Lady Byford on Amendment No. 160. The noble Lord has just said that he was using the precedents of the Ministry of Defence Police Act 1987 and the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 and that he wanted a flexibility of approach. That is exactly what my noble friends argued on Amendment No. 160, when the noble Lord said, "No. We're not going to have it".

Lord Triesman

My Lords, I am delighted that the noble Earl has given me the opportunity to respond to that. The inspectorate is entirely different: it is an independent body, not one of the police forces. It inspects the police forces, and its independence is cardinal to the process in which it engages. That is why it is important to be supportive of its general judgment about frequency, assessment of risk—noble Lords will forgive me for repeating the point—and the processes that should be used. We have a first-class, independent system at work, and it would be as well to let it do its work and make those judgments.

Lord Bradshaw

My Lords, that was a poor answer. We need assurance that the force will be inspected. It is hidden away in the sort of place that may not get the full light of the public inspection that police authorities receive. If that is the best answer that the Minister can give—I shall study his reply closely—I may return to the issue at Third Reading.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, the Minister has clarified what he said previously but has not diverted from his position. He said that HMIC could carry out a thematic review or risk calculation. He acknowledged that that system was not incompatible with what I propose. Indeed, I do not see how it could be. One can have a thematic review or risk assessment when one needs to carry out an investigation, but it can be done more often than every three years. Three years is not a straitjacket that does not fit; the assessment can be done more often than every three years. I do not think that there is a problem there.

The Minister responded to the question raised by my noble friend Lord Caithness about how the Government seemed to want to have it both ways. They would not accept Amendment No. 160, but they are adducing the same arguments now. The Minister said that it was different—different legislation, different organisation and an independent body. But the principle is the same. My noble friend is right. The Minister is saying that the Government cannot accept three years as the minimum period for an inspection because it does not apply to the other 43 police forces. He says that we must treat them all the same. The trouble is that, in other cases, the Government do not try to treat all forces the same. I do not think that the Minister is right.

The Government cannot have it both ways. It is right to have an inspection at least every three years in the interests of good practice. I wish to test the opinion of the House.

9.40 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 163) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 27; Not-Contents, 42.

Division No. 4
Anelay of St Johns, B. Higgins, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Hooson, L.
Attlee, E. [Teller] Jenkin of Roding, L.
Bradshaw, L. Knight of Collingtree, B.
Bridgeman, V. Liverpool, E.
Lyell, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. Mackie of Benshie, L.
Byford, B. Maddock, B.
Caithness, E. Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Miller of Hendon, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller] Palmer, L.
Courtown, E. Roper, L.
Gray of Contin, L. Shutt of Greetland, L.
Greenway, L. Steel of Aikwood, L.
Ahmed, L. Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Andrews, B. Dixon, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Evans of Parkside, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L. Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Campbell-Savours, L. Gale, B.
Carter, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Chandos, V. Grocott, L. [Teller]
Clark of Windermere, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Crawley, B. Hughes of Woodside, L.
Davies of Coity, L. Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller] Jones, L.
Jordan, L. Rooker, L.
Levy, L. Sawyer, L.
Lockwood. B. Smith of Leigh, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L. Triesman, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B. Turnberg, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L. Warner, L.
Morgan, L. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B. Whitty, L.

On Question, Amendment No. 171 agreed to.

9.49 p.m.

Clause 59 [Supervision by Secretary of State]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 164: Page 47, line 13, at end insert— (2A) Before exercising his powers under this Chapter, in Scotland the Secretary of State shall consult the Lord Advocate.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 164, I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 165 to 167. I have tabled the amendment to invite the Minister to put on record the progress made by the Government since Grand Committee on a matter raised at Clause 59 stand part, at col. GC 128, by my noble friend Lady Carnegy of Lour. It may be that the Minister has written to the noble Baroness on this point, but since I have not received a copy of such a letter, and knowing that the DTI tries to keep all noble Lords who take part in debates informed of further progress, I assume that there is no copy in the Library of the House. Therefore, I thought it was right to ask the Government to put the response on the record.

My noble friend asked the Minister whether he was content that Clause 59, which relates to the Secretary of State's supervision of the nuclear police, should not include the consultation or involvement of the Lord Advocate, to whom the police answer in Scotland. In the case of the inspectorate, Her Majesty's Inspector will consult Scottish inspectors before undertaking any inspections related to Scotland.

Clause 59 lists the ways in which the Secretary of State will supervise the nuclear police. The Minister said at Grand Committee that there would be some interaction with local police and local people. However, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry will direct the police in Scotland without reference to the person who has responsibility for them—the Lord Advocate. My noble friend pointed out that there could be an occasion when the Scottish Parliament might have a different political complexion from the Westminster Government. The Minister undertook to consider whether the Government needed to do anything to ensure that the Scottish authorities were informed. What progress has he made in that undertaking?

Amendments Nos. 165 to 167 are probing amendments to ask the Minister to clarify the Secretary of State's intention with regard to setting guidelines and procedures and to explain how the process is complemented by the role of the Office for Civil Nuclear Security. I beg to move.

Baroness Carnegy of Lour

My Lords, it will be very interesting to hear what the Minister has to say about this matter. He said earlier that the Scots Parliament had been consulted and had been quite happy about the Bill. That was when the Parliament considered originally whether it was happy that the part of the Bill relating to the relevant functions should be taken at Westminster, and that it should have a Sewel Motion. In doing that, the Parliament does not consider the detail of the Bill but gets a general picture, and agrees on it.

The amendment is important. I do not know whether, if the amendment was made, the Lord Advocate or the Scottish Ministers or both would be involved. The Scottish police are answerable for their operations to the Lord Advocate, but their pay and conditions of service are a matter for Scottish Ministers. It might be both—but my noble friend's point is to ask the Minister where we are on this matter.

Lord Triesman

My Lords, I stress, as my noble friend Lord Whitty did during Committee stage, that the intention as far as possible is for the Civil Nuclear Police Authority to operate at an arm's length from government. Much as now, Ministers would not expect to interfere in the detailed affairs of the authority. That is precisely how we anticipate the process continuing. However, the Bill needs to provide for the intervention of Ministers, should circumstances require it.

Amendment No. 164 requires the Secretary of State to consult the Lord Advocate before exercising her constabulary-related powers, such as issuing a direction to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority in relation to Scotland. As my noble friend Lord Whitty explained in responding to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, when she raised the point during Grand Committee, the role of the Scottish Ministers here is very limited. The Civil Nuclear Constabulary and its police authority is part of the arrangements for ensuring the security of civil nuclear sites and materials, while the constabulary's jurisdiction extends of necessity into public areas. We discussed that only a short while ago in your Lordship's House. The constabulary has no general role in public policing.

The general proposition has been discussed with Scottish Ministers, and in my earlier answer I said that discussions had taken place with both Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. There are no objections: they are fully aware of the arrangements set out here, and are satisfied, if the Bill becomes law, that all the powers required are contained in it.

I said earlier, and I shall not make the point at any length, that nuclear security is a matter reserved to this Parliament and it is not appropriate for the Lord Advocate or other Scottish Ministers to be consulted formally about directions given to the Civil Nuclear Police Authority on such matters. In debating the Sewel Motion on the Energy Bill, the Scottish Parliament raised no concerns on the devolved parts. This reflects the fact that, even if it is not a matter for its jurisdiction, thorough conversation on such matters is prudent.

Amendments Nos. 165 and 166 together preclude the Secretary of State from issuing directions to the police authority under Paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 13 that would require the authority to reduce the quality of the services and tasks performed by the members of the constabulary. The Secretary of State is accountable to Parliament for the security of the civil nuclear industry. It is very unlikely that she would wish to do anything that interfered with the efficiency or the effectiveness of the constabulary. In any event, Clause 59(2) already places an obligation on the Secretary of State to exercise her powers to give such directions in a manner and to such extent as appears to her best calculated to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the constabulary. With great respect, the amendment of the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, does not add significantly to this general duty. Of course, if the Secretary of State were to exercise her powers in an unreasonable manner she would vulnerable to a judicial review challenge. I hope that noble Lords opposite will agree that in these circumstances the amendment is not necessary.

I turn to Amendment No. 167. Paragraph 2 of Schedule 13 provides for the Secretary of State to be able to direct the police authority on a wide range of matters relating to the activities of the constabulary. It is required principally to preserve the existing arrangements whereby the director of civil nuclear security, acting on the Secretary of State's behalf, specifies, and inspects compliance with, the security standards, guidelines and procedures to be followed by the UKAEA Constabulary. These are currently specified by the Secretary of State in directions made under Section 3 of the Atomic Energy Act 1954. The constabulary is a core component of defence-in-depth security arrangements regulated by the security professionals in the Office for Civil Nuclear Security responding to intelligence threat information.

It is not the intention to change these regulatory arrangements for what I hope noble Lords will agree are obvious reasons. The direction-making powers in this part of the Bill are therefore required to preserve the existing regulatory function. The Bill describes the scope of these powers comprehensively in Paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 13, but it is simply not possible, certainly not in this day and age, to anticipate every possible occasion when the director of civil nuclear security, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, may have to take steps to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the constabulary.

The general power of paragraph 2(2) is required to give the Government sufficient leeway to act should such circumstances arise. I recognise that this is a fallback power. In this day and age, we need fallback powers because it is always difficult to see the full extent of what some of these risks may be. I know that your Lordships' House has been sensitive to these issues in a number of regards, particularly so in the recent past. I hope, therefore, that the amendment can be withdrawn and it is felt that the arrangements that are currently in the legislation meet the absolutely proper concerns that have been expressed.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minster for his reference to the Scottish issue and for making it clear that when these matters were discussed on the Sewel Motion there were no objections. I looked very carefully at my noble friend Lady Carnegy and I saw that she is content for that matter not to be pursued. I am also grateful to the Minister for his words with regard to the role of the Office for Civil Nuclear Security that clarified matters further. The final issue is that of Amendment No. 166, which was only a probing amendment, that tried to look at precautions to ensure that a government could not reduce the quality of service provided by the constabulary. I accept entirely what the Minister said. He pointed out that if the Secretary of State tried to do such a thing—tried to reduce the level of services—she might be subject to judicial review. No government like that, particularly not the Home Secretary when the Court of Appeal finds against him. But that is another matter.

I am reminded yet again of the domestic violence Bill and the fact that the Home Office was prepared to look more kindly on proposals to ensure that there were enshrined in that Bill commitments that services could not be reduced, but I entirely take the good will that was expressed by the Minister that this particular Secretary of State would not wish to reduce services. Of course, government reshuffles can happen during the summer months—we hope that any successor to the present Secretary of State would pursue the same good practice. But at this late stage, at this time of night, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

10 p.m.

Schedule 13 [Directions by Secretary of State about Constabulary]:

[Amendments Nos. 165 to 167 not moved.]

Schedule 14 [Minor amendments relating to Constabulary]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 168: Page 201, line 24, at end insert—

"Public Records Act 1958

A1 In paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 to the Public Records Act 1958 (c. 51) (administrative and departmental records of certain bodies to be public records), in Part 2 of the Table, at the appropriate place, insert— Civil Nuclear Police Authority."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this group of amendments is to ensure that relevant legislation that currently applies to the UKAEA will apply to the civil nuclear constabulary once it is formed. Amendments Nos. 168 and 169 deal with the Public Records Act and the Race Relations Act. Amendment No. 170 ensures that the civil nuclear constabulary is a public authority in the same way that the UKAEA is, and that individuals designated are able to authorise directed surveillance on the use and conduct of covert human intelligence sources under Sections 28 and 29 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. We recognise why that might be necessary in the nuclear field. The other two amendments are consequential. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty moved Amendments Nos. 169 and 170: Page 202, line 11, at end insert—

"Race Relations Act 1976

2A In Part 2 of Schedule 1A to the Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74) (persons subjected after commencement of duties to general duties with respect to discrimination and equality), after the entry relating to the chief constable of the Ministry of Defence Police insert— The Civil Nuclear Police Authority.

The chief constable of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.""

Page 203, line 7, at end insert—

"Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

5A (1) In section 46(3) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c. 23) (persons in relation to whom authorisations may apply to any place in the United Kingdom), after paragraph (d) insert— (dza) the Civil Nuclear Constabulary;".

(2) In Part 1 of Schedule 1 to that Act (relevant authorities for the purposes of sections 28 and 29), for paragraph 1A substitute— 1A The Civil Nuclear Constabulary."

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 171: After Clause 75, insert the following new clause— "ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS OF UKAEA (1) The functions of the UKAEA shall include—

  1. (a) power to carry on such activities as they consider appropriate in connection with anything that the NDA has a responsibility for securing under this Part;
  2. (b) power to enter into such arrangements with the NDA or any other person as they consider appropriate for that purpose; and
  3. (c) power for that purpose to develop and commercially to exploit an expertise in relation to things in which the NDA requires an expertise for the purpose of carrying out its functions.
(2) In the case of responsibilities of the NDA in relation to an installation, site or facility it is immaterial for the purposes of subsection (1) that the UKAEA is not, for the purposes of Chapter 1 of this Part, the person with control of it. (3) The functions of the UKAEA shall also include—
  1. (a) power to manage and commercially to exploit any land or other property of theirs that is no longer required by them for or in connection with the carrying out of their other functions; and
  2. (b) power to carry on a business of providing services for the administration of nuclear pension schemes.
(4) The UKAEA has power, for the purpose of carrying out its functions (whether conferred by this section or otherwise) to do all such things as appear to them to be likely to facilitate the exercise or performance of their powers and duties, or to be incidental to doing so. (5) The ways in which the UKAEA may carry out those functions include (by virtue of subsection (4)) carrying them out through subsidiaries and carrying them out in association with, or through arrangements with, other persons. (6) Subsection (5) of section 7 (things in which the NDA requires an expertise) has effect for the purposes of this section as it has effect for the purposes of subsection (4) of that section. (7) In this section "nuclear pension scheme" means a scheme that is a nuclear pension scheme for the purposes of Schedule 8.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this group of amendments is to ensure that the UKAEA is properly equipped to operate in the post-NDA world of nuclear clean-up. Essentially the amendments do three things. First, they ensure that the UKAEA has the necessary powers to establish site licensee companies at all its sites, which includes the ability to set up contracts in relation to non-UKAEA sites. Secondly, they ensure that UKAEA is able to administer nuclear pension schemes other than its own UKAEA pensions scheme—that is partly to recognise the excellent reputation of the UKAEA's Thurso pensions office. Thirdly, they clarify the extent to which the UKAEA has powers to manage property that it owns. It needs to continue the excellent work of diversification on those sites which has already taken place.

Taken as a whole I am sure that the amendments will ensure that the UKAEA has the necessary statutory powers it needs to operate in the post-NDA situation. I beg to move.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 171, Amendment No. 171A: Line 20, leave out "pension schemes" and insert "or public sector pension schemes as may be directed by Ministers

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I speak to Amendment No. 171A in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Maclennan of Rogart. This is an amendment to find out from the Government whether the public sector pension schemes would be covered by the wording of those functions of the UKAEA in its power to carry on the business of providing services to the administration of nuclear pension schemes. I would be grateful if the Minister would say whether that would incorporate the public sector schemes mentioned in the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty

My Lords, in my earlier remarks I referred to the excellence of the UKAEA's Thurso pensions office. Clearly, the noble Lord, Lord Maclennan, is already well aware of that.

The amendment would take matters beyond what is currently provided in the Bill and perhaps would go beyond the strict provenance of the Bill itself. Nevertheless, in view of what I believe both the noble Lord, Lord Maclennan, and I recognise regarding the matter that we are discussing, we shall take away the measure to see whether we can amend the Bill to allow flexibility to consider other public sector schemes. Without giving an absolute commitment on that other than a commitment of intent, I hope that the noble Baroness will be prepared to withdraw the amendment. We shall probably return to the matter at Third Reading.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Maclennan, I am very grateful to the Minister. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 171A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 171, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Davies of Oldham

My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House adjourned at six minutes past ten o'clock.