Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Twenty-Third Report


APPENDIX 1

Memorandum from the Home Office

POLICE ACT 1997 (CRIMINAL RECORDS) REGULATIONS 2002 (S.I. 2002/233)

Section 118(2) of the Police Act 1997 authorises the Secretary of State to refuse to issue a certificate unless the applicant (a) has his fingerprints taken at such place and in such manner as may be prescribed, and (b) pays the prescribed fee. Subsection (4) requires regulations under subsection (2)(b) to provide for refunds in specified circumstances. Explain why the Regulations, which make provision as envisaged by subsection (2)(a), do not prescribe the fee referred to in section 118(2)(b) or provide for the refunds referred to in subsection (4).

1. In practice it is expected that fingerprints will be required only in exceptional cases. These are likely to fall into 2 categories. Firstly where the Secretary of State cannot be sure of an applicant's identity from the information provided on the application form and, secondly, where an applicant disputes the accuracy of information shown in a certificate issued to him.

2. In the first category it is considered, as a matter of policy, inappropriate to charge a fee to an applicant required to provide fingerprints.

3. In the second category any applicant who successfully challenged the accuracy of a certificate issued to him following the provision of fingerprints should not be expected to bear the costs of providing fingerprints. As a matter of policy it is considered that the costs involved in collecting any fee prescribed and administering an associated refund system are disproportionate and it is preferable not to prescribe a fee.

4. The Regulations therefore do not prescribe a fee in relation to the taking of fingerprints. As no fee is prescribed no question of a refund arises.

5. The position will be kept under review in the light of developing operational experience.

11 March 2002


 
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