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Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 147:

Page 71, line 38, at end insert--
("( ) the sentence was imposed under paragraph 3(1)(d) or 4(1)(d) of Schedule 2 to this Act in a case where the prisoner had failed to comply with a requirement of a curfew order;").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns moved Amendment No. 148:

Page 72, line 16, at end insert--
("( ) The Secretary of State shall publish guidance as to the criteria which will qualify a prisoner for early release under this section.").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment would make it a requirement for the Secretary of State to publish guidance as to the criteria which would qualify a prisoner for early release under the provisions of Clause 83.

19 Mar 1998 : Column 933

I moved a similar amendment in Committee and I shall not abuse Report stage proceedings or the patience of noble Lords at this hour by repeating all those arguments at length. However, the nub of the issue is that three months ago, at Second Reading when I raised this issue, the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, wrote to my noble friend Lord Henley, stating:

    "I hope that we shall be in a position to show draft guidance on eligibility to the House by the time these provisions are considered in Committee".

In Committee, on 3rd March, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, responded to my amendment and he reaffirmed that it is the Government's intention to publish the criteria as part of the more detailed guidance that the Prison Service will use to assess suitability for home detention curfew. He said that the Government were currently preparing guidance and hoped to issue it shortly.

I believe that it is important that we have sight of the guidance before Third Reading. I think I am being extremely patient in waiting from Second Reading to Committee and now to Report stage in trying to learn what the Government mean by "shortly". I should be grateful if the noble Lord could tell us tonight--it is almost morning!--what stage that preparation of the guidance has now reached. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the noble Baroness has been patient. Time has passed. Work is still going on with the Prison and Probation Services to make sure that we get the guidance absolutely right. I am sorry that we have not yet been able to make the guidance available. I cannot say anything more attractively positive than that, but as soon as I have any clearer indication I shall write at once to the noble Baroness and ensure that a copy of that letter is placed in the Library.

The assessment will be on the basis of the potential threat to the public, the probability of reoffending or of failure to comply with conditions of curfew. We are in a new area and we have to be patient while officials work on these matters. I recognise that the position is not entirely satisfactory, but truthfully I am not able to give a more positive response.

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his frank reply. I am sure that my patience can be extended a little further. I may well return to this matter at Third Reading in the hope that by then the Minister has been able to conclude his deliberations. I understand that the regulations break new ground and that many different considerations must be taken into account. I cannot say that I am grateful for the extent of the noble Lord's answer but certainly I appreciate his courtesy. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 149:

Page 72, line 25, at end insert--

19 Mar 1998 : Column 934

("( ) repeal the words "aged 18 or over" in subsection (1) above;").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 150:

Page 72, line 29, at end insert ("repeal or").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 84 [Curfew condition to be included in licence]:

[Amendment No.151 not moved.]

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 152:

Page 73, line 39, at end insert--
("(1A) A person whose licence under section 34A(3) above is revoked under this section--
(a) may make representations in writing with respect to the revocation;
(b) on his return to prison, shall be informed of the reasons for the revocation and of his right to make representations.
(1B) The Secretary of State, after considering any representations made under subsection (1A)(b) above or any other matters, may cancel a revocation under this section.
(1C) Where the revocation of a person's licence is cancelled under subsection (1B) above, the person shall be treated for the purposes of sections 34A(2)(e) and 37(1B) above as if he had not been recalled to prison under this section.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Alton of Liverpool had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 153:

Before Clause 88, insert the following new clause--

Video recordings designation

(" .--(1) In subsection (1)(a) of section 4 of the Video Recordings Act 1984 ("the 1984 Act") at the end, there shall be inserted the words "and having special regard to the likelihood of video works, in respect of which such certificates have been issued, inciting their viewers to anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder".
(2) At the end of section 4 of the 1984 Act there shall be inserted the following new subsection--
"(9) The Secretary of State shall not make any designation under this section unless he is satisfied that adequate arrangements will be made for an appeal in prescribed circumstances against a determination on the grounds that a video work submitted for the issue of a classification is likely to incite its viewers to anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder.".").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, more than 50 noble Lords from all parts of the House have generously supported this amendment, but in view of the lateness of the hour I believe that it would be inappropriate to move it. I hope to re-introduce the amendment at Third Reading.

[Amendment No. 153 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 154:

After Clause 91, insert the following new clause--

Deputy authorising officer under Part III of Police Act 1997

(".--(1) In subsection (1) of section 94 of the Police Act 1997 (authorisations given in absence of authorising officer), for the words "(f) or (g)" there shall be substituted the words "(f), (g) or (h)".

19 Mar 1998 : Column 935

(2) In subsection (4) of that section, the word "and" immediately preceding paragraph (c) shall cease to have effect and after that paragraph there shall be inserted the words "and
(d) in the case of an authorising officer within paragraph (h) of section 93(5), means the customs officer designated by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to act in his absence for the purposes of this paragraph." ").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of the proposed new clause is to cure a minor but inconvenient defect in Part III of the Police Act 1997. By virtue of this part, police and customs officers may be authorised to enter and interfere with property for the purposes of the prevention or detection of serious crime without fear of claims of civil trespass or criminal damage. Part III is due to come into force early this summer.

The Act provides for a designated officer within each police force or other agency to authorise such operations. In HM Customs and Excise the proposal is to designate the chief investigation officer as the authorising officer. The Act also provides for the various agencies specified in the Act, but not customs, to have designated deputies to the authorising officers to act in their absence. Finally, the Act provides for urgent authorisations lasting 72 hours only to be made in writing by other senior police or customs officers.

The Act in its current form, however, enables the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to designate only one customs officer, the chief investigation officer, as the authorising officer and there is no provision to delegate a deputy to act as the authorising officer in his absence. As the Act currently stands, therefore, the chief investigation officer would be required personally to authorise all such operations or renew in writing within 72 hours every urgent authorisation given in writing by assistant chief investigation officers. This would clearly be impracticable given the other commitments of the chief investigation officer as the head of the Customs National Investigation Service. It is therefore necessary that this clause is introduced to rectify the position by enabling the deputy chief investigation officer to act as the authorising officer in the absence of the chief investigation officer. This clause will mirror the police arrangements under the Act.

With due apologies for appearing in this orchestra as the glockenspiel that plays two notes and then has 1,000 bars of tacet before coming back again, I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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