Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Twentieth Report


POLICE (NORTHERN IRELAND) BILL

Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Office

  This memorandum describes the powers to make subordinate legislation which will be conferred by the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill 1998. The Bill will give effect in Northern Ireland to government proposals for the reform of Police Structures. The Bill also consolidates Northern Ireland Policing legislation and provides for a Police Ombudsman to replace the Independent Commission for Police complaints.

Clause 4

  2.  This provides a regulation making power to enable the Secretary of State to transfer civil servants presently seconded to the Police Authority to assist the authority in the discharge of its functions to the formal employment of the authority. This is a new power and the Secretary of State is required to consult with the Police Authority, the Chief Constable and staff representation before any such regulation would be made.

Clause 25

  3.  This provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations for the governance and conditions of service of members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. It replicates Section 25 of the Police Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 and is re-enacted largely unamended.

Clause 26

  4.  This provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations for the governance and condition of service of members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary Reserve. It replicates Section 26 of the Police Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 and is re-enacted largely unamended.

Clause 28

  5.  This provides from the Secretary of State to make regulations to continue to maintain the fund established to provide for rewards or benefits to members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. This replicates section 28 of the Police Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 and is re-enacted unamended.

Clause 33

  6.  This provides for the making of Regulations by the Secretary of State for the governance of the Police Association. The powers relate to the prescribing of the constitution and proceedings of the association and its various sections and regulations may further authorise those sections to make rules concerning their constitutions and proceedings as may be specified in the regulations. The Secretary of State must consult the Police Association before making any regulations. This replicates Section 17 of the Police Act (Northern Ireland) 1970 and is re-enacted largely unamended.

Clause 40

  7.  This provides for the making of regulations by the Secretary of State to require the Police to use specified facilities, equipment or services if it is considered that that is in the interests of the efficiency or effectiveness of the Police. Before making regulations the Secretary of State is required to consult the Police Authority, the Chief Constable and the Police Association and in the case of information technology the Police Information Technology organisation. This is a new provision for Northern Ireland, but it is based on Section 57 of the Police Act 1996.

Clause 64

  8.  This provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations regarding the operation of the Police Ombudsman under Part VIII of the Bill. In particular the Secretary of State may prescribe the procedures to be applied by the Ombudsman, the handling of complaints, formal and informal resolution of complaints and the payment of compensation. Before making any regulation the Secretary of State must consult the Ombudsman, the Police Authority and the Police Association. This is a new provision and relates to the establishment of the wholly new office of the Police Ombudsman.

Clause 72

  9.  This provides for orders and regulations under the Bill and the procedures therefor. It provides that any power for the Secretary of State to make orders or Regulations shall be exercisable by Statutory Rule for the purposes of the Statutory Rules (Northern Ireland) Order 1979. It further provides that a Statutory Rule other than one containing an order under Section 75 shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a Resolution by the Houses of Parliament in like matter as a Statutory instrument and Section 5 of the Statutory Instruments Act 1946 shall apply accordingly.

Clause 75

  10.  This provides for a commencement order which will be an appointed day order and the different days for different purposes may be appointed.

  11.  Schedule 1 provides a power for the Secretary of State to by order amend the number of persons who shall constitute the Police Authority. This is a new power and reflects the change in the representative nature of the Authority.


 
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