Police (Northern Ireland) Bill — Targets for recruitment — 11 Jul 2000

Mr Kenneth Clarke MP, Rushcliffe voted in the minority (Aye).

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

(2) A person for the time being holding the office of Commissioner under subsection (1) is referred to in this Act as "the Commissioner".

(3) The Commissioner's general function is to oversee the implementation of changes in the policing of Northern Ireland described in his terms of reference.

(4) Schedule ( The Commissioner ), which makes further provision about the Commissioner, shall have effect.

(5) The office of Commissioner shall cease to exist on 31st May 2003, unless before that date an order is made under subsection (6).

(6) The Secretary of State may by order provide that the office of Commissioner (whether or not it then exists as a result of a previous order under this subsection) shall continue to exist for a period not exceeding three years from the date on which the order comes into operation.'.-- [Mr. George Howarth.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin):

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: Amendment (a) to the proposed new clause, in subsection (3), leave out from second "the" to end and insert--

Terms of reference

2.--(1) On appointing the Commissioner, the Secretary of State shall give him written terms of reference.

(2) The terms of reference shall, in particular, describe the changes in policing in Northern Ireland the implementation of which it is the general function of the Commissioner to oversee.

Remuneration, pensions, allowances, etc.

3.--(1) The Secretary of State may pay, or make such payments towards the provision of, such remuneration, pensions, allowances or gratuities to or in respect of a person appointed to the office of Commissioner as he may determine.

(2) Where a person ceases to hold office as Commissioner otherwise than on the expiry of his term of office, and it appears to the Secretary of State that there are special circumstances which make it right for that person to receive compensation, the Secretary of State may make to that person a payment of such amount as the Secretary of State may determine.

Staff

4.--(1) The Commissioner may, with the approval of the Secretary of State as to numbers and as to remuneration and other terms and conditions of service, employ such persons as he thinks fit to enable him to carry out his functions.

(2) The Commissioner may make arrangements for administrative, secretarial or other assistance to be provided for him by persons employed in the civil service.

(3) Employment by the Commissioner shall be included among the kinds of employment to which a scheme under section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 can apply and accordingly in Schedule 1 to that Act, at the appropriate place in the list of "Other Bodies" there shall be inserted--

"Employment by the Police Reform Commissioner for Northern Ireland.".

5. The Employers' Liability (Defective Equipment and Compulsory Insurance) (Northern Ireland) Order 1972 does not require insurance to be effected by the Commissioner.

Exercise of functions

6.--(1) Any functions of the Commissioner under this Act may be performed by any officer of the Commissioner authorised for the purpose by the Commissioner.

(2) "Officer of the Commissioner" means--

(a) a person employed by the Commissioner under paragraph 4(1);

(b) a person providing assistance to the Commissioner in pursuance of arrangements made under paragraph 4(2).

Evidence

7. A document purporting to be duly signed by, or on behalf of, the Commissioner shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be taken to be so signed.

Finance

8. The Secretary of State shall pay to the Commissioner such sums as appear to the Secretary of State to be appropriate for defraying the expenses of the Commissioner under this Act.

9.--(1) The Commissioner shall--

(a) keep proper accounts and proper records in relation to the accounts;

(b) prepare in respect of each financial year a statement of accounts in such form as the Secretary of State may direct; and

(c) send copies of the statement to the Secretary of State and the Comptroller and Auditor General before the end of the month of August next following the financial year to which the statement relates.

(2) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall examine, certify and report on each statement received by him under this paragraph and shall lay copies of each statement and of his report before each House of Parliament.'.

Amendment (a) thereto: leave out paragraph 2.

Government amendments Nos. 264 to 266.

an eminent person, from a country other than the United Kingdom or Ireland, should be appointed as soon as possible as an oversight commissioner with responsibility for supervising the implementation of our recommendations.

Paragraph 19.5 states that the Government, police service, Policing Board and direct policing partnerships should provide the oversight commissioner with objectives and timetables covering their responsibilities and should report on their progress in achieving them. It also states that the commissioner should report publicly after each review, giving his observations on the extent to which objectives have been met. Paragraph 19.6 states that the commissioner should be appointed for five years.

Government new clause 4, together with Government new schedule 1, will place the post on a proper statutory footing. As we said in Committee, we have introduced those provisions in part to show our commitment to the office and because they will add to the commissioner's status. The commissioner will oversee the implementation of changes to the policing of Northern Ireland as described in his terms of reference.

The terms of reference for the commissioner, who was obviously appointed before any statutory provision was introduced, have been published and are available in the Library. Subject to a renewable appointment for three years, rather than Patten's recommendation of five years, they show that we have been entirely faithful to Patten. Patten suggested that the commissioner should review progress three or four times a year. Government new clause 5 provides for the commissioner to make periodic reports at least three times a year.

review process would provide an important impetus to the process of transformation

and a new beginning. I welcome the Government amendments as it is vital that the oversight commissioner engages and ensures that all Patten is implemented. However, our problem, which is covered by our amendments, is that the commissioner's terms of reference are limited to overseeing only those changes in policing that the Government decide. That is a restriction. Although we do not want to give the commissioner carte blanche in everything, he should not be unable to comment on the adequacy of the Government's decisions and recommendations.

decisions that will be made by Government

an eminent person, from a country other than the United Kingdom or Ireland, should be appointed as soon as possible as an oversight commissioner with responsibility for supervising the implementation of our recommendations.

The Commissioner's general function is to oversee the implementation of changes in the policing of Northern Ireland described in his terms of reference.

implementation of the changes in policing arrangements and structures decided in the context of the Patten report

To establish whether a less than lethal alternative to baton rounds is available; and to prepare a strategy for the tactical deployment of public order equipment by the police in Northern Ireland.

An immediate and substantial investment should be made in a research programme to find an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative to the Plastic Baton Round.

The Board shall make arrangements as the Secretary of State may by order specify to secure continuous improvement in . . . efficiency and effectiveness.

Before making an order the Secretary of State must consult the Oversight Commissioner.

stones, bricks . . . bottles . . . knives, spears and hatchets . . . firearms of all kinds, including automatic assault rifles and hand grenades.

Blast or pipe bombs . . . Coffee jar bombs . . . Petrol bombs . . . Chinese mortars . . . Explosive darts . . . Catapults used to fire steel ball bearings.

an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative to the Plastic Baton Round (PBR).

The police should be equipped with a broader range of public order equipment.

The use of PBRs should be subject to the same procedures for deployment, use and reporting as apply in the rest of the United Kingdom.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

(2) There shall be at least three periodic reports in each year.

(3) The Commissioner may at any time make a report to the Secretary of State on matters arising in the course of his performance of his general function.

(4) The Secretary of State--

(a) shall lay each report made to him under this section before each House of Parliament; and

(b) arrange for the report to be published in such manner as appears to him to be appropriate.'.-- [Mr. Ingram.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

(2) The Board shall monitor applications and recruitment to the police to ensure equality of access.'.-- [Mr. Öpik.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following: New clause 2-- Affirmative action --

I use the phrase "both traditions". I hope that he appreciates that that shorthand description is most accurate. It represents the vast bulk of prevailing attitudes. People settle into one tradition or the other, although they may not be vehement about their views.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee B , 4 July 2000; c.391.]

I think you are absolutely right that positive discrimination is totally counterproductive, based on my experience in other areas. People have to be advanced on merit.

The person who said that was the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone), speaking about the Greater London council in the early 1980s. I am sure that, whatever the views of those in this place about that gentleman, he could hardly be regarded as a bastion of old ways or as someone who has opposed positive action to try to rebalance discrimination where he has found it. Taking that into account with the other concerns that I have voiced, my judgment is that-- [Interruption.] I suspect that there is a subtext going on here, Mr. Deputy Speaker; I will not be drawn.

should apply both to officer and civilian recruitment.

On 3 March 1998 . . . a memo was leaked to The Guardian newspaper of a high-level Government meeting where this was discussed.

Allegedly the Secretary of State for Scotland favoured using the Scotland Bill to introduce an amendment to the Sex Discrimination Act. However, at this meeting the Lord Chancellor . . . advised other Cabinet colleagues that it would be unwise to accept such amendments. This was based on advice given to Government law officers by Patrick Elias QC. According to the leak, Lord Irvine reported that if the Sex Discrimination Act were amended, "the probability was that a legal challenge under the European Equal Treatment Directive would succeed . . . the law officers said that at each stage in the process--adoption of legislation, selection of candidates, and the election itself--the Government could and probably would be a respondent. Any Minister bringing forward or accepting an amendment would not be able to assure the House that it was ECJ-proof--

The hon. Gentleman cannot have listened to previous explanations.--[ Official Report, Standing Committee B , 27 June 2000; c. 307.]

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

The key to making that police service representative of those communities--indeed the key to the successful implementation of nearly everything in this report--is that the leaders of those communities now actively encourage their young people to join the police service.

advertise imaginatively and persistently, particularly in places likely to reach groups who are under-represented in the police. As at present the advertisements should make it clear that the police

service wants to attract more Catholics and women. But every effort should be made to get this message across, through local newspapers, magazines, club and community centre notice boards and any other way that can be found to reach the target groups directly.

make early progress on the Commission's Article 13 anti-discrimination proposals?

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:--

The House divided: Ayes 182, Noes 307.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 129 (+1 tell)081.3%
DUP0 20100.0%
Lab304 (+2 tell) 0073.6%
LDem0 38 (+1 tell)083.0%
PC0 2050.0%
SDLP3 00100.0%
SNP0 4066.7%
UKUP0 10100.0%
UUP0 6066.7%
Total:307 182076.1%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
no rebellions

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