HL Deb 02 February 1994 vol 551 cc101-2WA
Lord Gainford

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are their proposals for the constitution of police authorities, as set out in the Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers): My right honourable friend has considered carefully the concerns expressed on Second Reading.

The Government want to put beyond doubt their intention that the new police authorities should be independent. The Government will therefore table amendments to the Bill, as soon as possible.

The effect of these amendments will be:

  1. (i) that the chairman of a police authority would be appointed by the members of the authority. We propose that, as now, they should be required to select the chairman annually.
  2. (ii) the independent members of police authorities will be appointed according to a procedure on the lines of that set out in the reply to the Question from the honourable Member for Burton on 17 January (columns 375–377). But the Bill will be amended to provide a statutory basis for the independent selection procedure, WA 102 and the scheme under which the statutory procedure will operate will be subject to parliamentary oversight;
  3. (iii) there will be a power for my right honourable friend to increase the number of members of police authorities in specific cases where in all the circumstances it seems appropriate to do. Where the number of members exceeds 16, one half will be councillors and not more than one-third will be independent members.