HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 cc1090-1W
Mr. Lidington

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the progress made on the Attorney General's examination of police powers, bail arrangements and other criminal justice matters announced by the right hon. Member for Hamilton, North and Belshill (Dr. Reid) on 24 July 2002; and if he will publish the Attorney General's conclusions. [172155]

Mr. Pearson

On 29 August 2002 the Attorney-General delivered to the then Secretary of State a paper outlining measures which might be taken to improve the possibilities of successful prosecution for acts of terrorism, violence and organised crime. The paper recommended that policy consideration be given to the introduction of an ASBO regime for Northern Ireland, that consideration be given to the use of section 108 of the Terrorism Act, that the DPP and Police should give further consideration on how co-operation could be improved, and that policy consideration be given to introducing pre-charge bail conditions. In September 2002, the Northern Ireland Law and Order Action Group was established and it has since considered ASBOs and bail in detail.

Following a public consultation on measures to tackle anti-social behaviour in Northern Ireland, a further consultation of legislative proposals to introduce antisocial behaviour orders is under way.

Cases are proceeding through the courts in which section 108 statements have been made.

The two pilot schemes for the new Public Prosecution Service have introduced co-location working practices in which police officers operate from Prosecution Service offices, thus allowing the police immediate access to prosecution lawyers for advice on prosecutorial issues. Co-location will provide a firm basis on which to build closer co-operation.

The introduction of pre-charge bail conditions will be taken forward as part of a review of Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) in Northern Ireland announced by the then Minister of State in a written ministerial statement on 26 February 2004.