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Lord Harris of Greenwich: As I understand the reply of the noble Baroness, a deputy chief constable pursuing an allegation of misconduct by members of his force who finds that one of the people against whom the complaint is made is a member of the Security Service, and, in his view, it is an allegation of criminal misconduct, is to refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The director would then be in the difficult position of having to decide whether or not to pursue the matter on public interest grounds. I understand her answer. I am not wholly clear what happens if it is an allegation of grossly improper behaviour short of criminal behaviour.

Let us assume that the complainant goes to a police station, makes a complaint and the police begin to investigate it. As I understand it, the deputy chief constable still has responsibility for investigating that complaint, albeit part of the complaint relates to a member of the Security Service who is then interviewed by the police to find out whether or not he has behaved improperly. No doubt either today or in correspondence the noble Baroness will tell me whether or not what I say is correct. If he takes the view that there has been improper behaviour by the police officers he will prefer disciplinary charges against them which will be considered by the Police Complaints Authority and the tribunal at which the chief constable will preside. At that stage the officers will have legal representation if there is any question of either dismissal from the service or being reduced in rank. Those are the present arrangements.

As part of their defence, the police officers might say that Mr. X., a member of the Security Service, was the person who undoubtedly behaved improperly. Referring to the question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Park, presumably in that situation the member of the Security Service would or might be obliged to give evidence before the deputy chief constable in order to validate the allegations made on behalf of the deputy chief constable. Presumably, it would mean that the identity of the officer would become known even though the complainant might be a person with a formidable criminal record. I shall be grateful if at some stage the noble Baroness confirms that what I have said represents the truth of the matter. From my knowledge I believe that it is an accurate picture.

What happens to the member of the Security Service whom the police officers say has behaved with gross impropriety? Presumably, his case could be put before the Security Service Tribunal. The police officers, who perhaps had been acquitted, might be asked to give evidence against the officer. I shall be grateful if the noble Baroness between now and Report stage can tell me whether what I say represents the Government's belief as to the accuracy of this matter.

The noble Baroness said that there would be no problem because the police and Customs work together. That is perfectly true. But the major distinction is that Customs and Excise is not a secret organisation. There is no question of trying to throw a cloak of secrecy over

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the identity of a member of Customs and Excise because, by definition, it is a publicly accountable organisation. Members of Customs and Excise are known. There is nothing like the climate of secrecy which exists in the Security Service. In my view, this issue is fundamental. But it will not arise in the immediate future. At first there are to be only 16 to 20 members of the Security Service involved in this work. But once the legislation is on the statute book there will be the possibility of a larger number of members of the Security Service becoming involved. I believe that all concerned deserve a clear explanation as to what will happen.

Baroness Blatch: I shall read carefully what the noble Lord said and write to him. I will make available my response to all Members of the Committee who have an interest in this matter. When a person complains to the police authority the matter will be dealt with as a complaint to that authority. If, either at the initial stage, or subsequently, it emerges that a member of the Security Service has behaved illegally it will be dealt with. Whether it comes to light in the course of the investigation or in any other circumstances, that person will be subject to the law and the law will take its normal course. The Crown Prosecution Service will make a determination as to whether to proceed with charges.

If, however, in the course of investigating a complaint to the police authority it is discovered that the policemen involved in the particular case are not involved in any impropriety but it is just conceivable that members of the Security Service are, it will be dealt with as a complaint to the police authority. The authority will determine whether or not there is a case to answer. In this hypothetical situation there would not be a case to answer. The complainant will be invited to seek redress for his complaint elsewhere. All of the information as to how to do that and the range of bodies to which the complainant can go to pursue the complaint will be made available. If the particular complaint involves both the police and members of the Security Service but the complaint is proved on the basis that someone in the police authority has caused some grievance to the complainant, the complaint will be upheld and it may or may not involve invoking the Security Service. But the noble Lord raised a number of issues. I believe that it would be wrong for me to try and answer them in any more detail. I will write to the noble Lord.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: This has been a most interesting debate, notably for the intervention by the noble Lord, Lord Knights, with his knowledge of the police service, and the noble Baroness, Lady Park, with her knowledge of the Security Service. Members of the Privy Council Bench who expressed approval of those interventions should reflect that both speakers were considerably more radical in their response to the Bill than might at first have appeared.

The Minister has no difficulty in persuading me that my amendment is defective and that it should be withdrawn. Although her answers go some way to explain the procedures which will take place on this

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complicated issue, they do not go all of the way. What happens if a member of the Security Service commits an illegal act is quite clear. We can be agreed about that. But as to how the public are to know where their complaints should lie and as to the degree of collaboration between the Security Service Tribunal and the Police Complaints Authority, I heard a number of encouraging remarks by the Minister but a rather discouraging remark at the end. I believe that it is best that I read carefully what she said and, in the meantime, beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 1, line 19, at beginning insert ("After consultation with the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee established under section 10 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994,").

The noble Lord said: The amendment, which is in the same form as other amendments, is perhaps related but it deals with a separate issue. It deals with the issue of the designation, for the purposes of this clause, of the person who is, as we understand it, to be the director-general of the National Criminal Intelligence Service. What we propose in the amendment is that such a designation shall not take place unless the Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which was set up under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, is also consulted.

We appreciate the difficulties which the Government have in that they have not yet found it possible to draft the legislation which will give statutory authority to the NCIS and the NCS. It would of course have been easier to understand the Bill if that had not been the case--if we had not had to tread delicately around this designation rather than having it named directly. But whether it is yet statutory or not, surely this is a sufficiently important role in triggering the intervention of the Security Service in support of the activities of police forces for the Intelligence and Security Committee, which has the function of parliamentary scrutiny of the Security Service, to be involved. Parliamentary scrutiny of the Security Service, if it is to be complete, has to cover also the functions which are provided for in Clause 1. It would seem logical and natural for Parliament to be involved in this, perhaps minimal, but nevertheless significant way. I beg to move.

Lord Renton: I have some sympathy with the noble Lord over this amendment. It is important that we should ensure that there is co-operation and no conflict between that important body mentioned in the Intelligence Services Act--namely, the Intelligence and Security Committee--and the police. It is rather significant that, although this is a Bill dealing with the functions of the Security Service, there is to be under Clause 1(3) a chief officer of police to be the responsible person for ensuring that things work smoothly. It may be that the Secretary of State, on advice from the Home Office, would in any event consult the chairman appointed under Section 10 of the 1994 Act, but it is a

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point that should somehow or another be covered. It seems to me that the amendment is appropriate, but I naturally wish to hear what my noble friend the Minister has to say.

Lord Harris of Greenwich: The only anxiety I have on this question is why this issue has not been addressed within the Bill. The Home Secretary has made it clear that the person he intends to designate--the chief officer of police to whom the noble Lord, Lord Renton, has just referred--will be the director-general of the NCIS. I believe that that is the correct person to have that responsibility. It is the only way of ensuring police primacy.

What I still find extremely difficult to understand is why that matter has not been addressed on the face of the Bill. After all, we are introducing for the first time the Security Service into sensitive areas of police operations. That being so, it seems strange that we are being asked to pass a Bill which gives new authority to the Security Service but does not clearly define, on the face of the Bill, the senior police officer who will have that critical role. I find that disappointing. I still hope that on Report or at subsequent stages that matter will be dealt with.

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