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Lord Bach moved Amendments Nos. 124B and 124C:



("( ) a person is entitled to act for the chief constable of a police force maintained under or by virtue of section 1 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 if he holds the rank of assistant chief constable in that force;").


    Page 36, line 45, at end insert ("or section 5(4) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967").

The noble Lord said: I have already spoken to these amendments. I beg to move them en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 32, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 33 [Notification of authorisations for intrusive surveillance]:

[Amendment No. 125 not moved.]

6.15 p.m.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 126:


    Page 37, line 32, leave out subsection (6).

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.

Lord Bach: It is important that public authorities have a statutory basis for carrying out covert activities as soon as possible and that provisions are in force before the Human Rights Act is implemented on 2nd October this year. This is necessary to safeguard the use of these valuable techniques by law enforcement and other agencies. The police and Customs will not be able to use the provisions relating to intrusive surveillance until an order has been made detailing the information to be contained in notifications to surveillance commissioners.

Such orders will be subject to parliamentary approval. However, in order to allow such an order and rules to be made by the Secretary of State in the absence of Parliament between the period when the Bill receives Royal Assent and Parliament reconvenes after the Summer Recess, the initial order has been made subject to the 40-day rule. This means that the initial order, and only the initial order, can be made without Parliament's prior approval. It would, however, need to be approved by Parliament within 40 days of being signed. The fact that the order in question will still require parliamentary approval is an important consideration.

28 Jun 2000 : Column 950

Most important of all is the fact that the Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation has considered this provision. Its report considers both the provisions and the parliamentary procedure provided for them to be appropriate. We place much store by that, as I am sure will the committee. We have tabled some amendments in response to its provisional recommendations. I hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment.

Lord Lucas: I am grateful for that explanation. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 [Approval required for authorisations to take effect]:

[Amendments Nos. 127 and 127ZA not moved.]

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 127A:


    Page 39, line 28, at end insert ("or


(iii) a chief constable of a police force maintained under or by virtue of section 1 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967,").

The noble Lord said: I have already spoken to this amendment. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 34, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 35 [Quashing of police and customs authorisations etc.]:

[Amendments Nos. 128 to 131 not moved.]

Clause 35 agreed to.

Clauses 36 to 38 agreed to.

Clause 39 [Secretary of State authorisations]:

[Amendment No. 132 not moved.]

Clause 39 agreed to.

Clause 40 agreed to.

Clause 41 [General rules about grant, renewal and duration]:

Lord McNally moved Amendment No. 133:


    Page 44, line 25, leave out ("twelve") and insert ("three").

The noble Lord said: This and Amendment No. 134 are wing-clipping and probing amendments. Twelve months seems rather a long time for powers to remain in existence. I beg to move.

Lord Bach: To reduce the length of an authorisation for the use of a covert human intelligence source from 12 to three months is unnecessary and would place great demands on public authorities that use sources in their everyday work.

The use of a covert source is a long-term activity that needs to be authorised for a longer, rather than a shorter, period of time. Informants and agents can take a long time to build up a relationship or to elicit a particular piece of information. We think that 12 months is about right as a sensible gap between authorisations, and there are extra safeguards in the Bill in recognition of this relatively lengthy authorisation period.

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The Bill requires that there should be at least two officers with responsibility for looking after each source. One should be responsible for the day-to-day care and for the security and welfare of the source. A second will have responsibility for a more general oversight of the use of that source. A person within the authority will have responsibility for maintaining a record of the use made of the source, and the information to be contained in those records will be the subject of regulations by the Secretary of State. Those extra safeguards are necessary because of the 12-month authorisation period.

Because authorisations last longer, Clause 41(6) directs an authorising officer to particular matters for consideration at the time of renewal. But, as can be seen from the detail of these extra requirements, they are specifically aimed at issues that may arise in respect of the use of a covert source. The idea that these safeguards might also work in respect of surveillance is misguided. Also, the shorter period for surveillance authorisations makes such extra safeguards slightly less necessary. We do not believe that the amendment could work in practice.

Viscount Astor: We on this side of the Committee feel that three months would be far too short. It would involve excessive paperwork and excessive bureaucracy for the authority concerned.

There may be a case for a slightly shorter period; the noble Lord, Lord McNally, might consider six months. However, in the light of what the Minister has said it is clear that it is quite a long-term matter, and to have to come back every three months would be an excessive burden.

Lord McNally: Against such an array of judgment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 134 not moved.]

Clause 41 agreed to.

Clause 42 [Special rules for intelligence services authorisations]:

[Amendments Nos.135 and 136 not moved.]

Clause 42 agreed to.

Clause 43 [Cancellation of authorisations]:

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 136A:


    Page 47, line 22, at end insert ("or


(iii) a chief constable of a police force maintained under or by virtue of section 1 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967,").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

28 Jun 2000 : Column 952

Clause 43, as amended, agreed to.

Lord Bach moved Amendment No. 136B:


    After Clause 43, insert the following new clause--

RESTRICTIONS ON AUTHORISATIONS EXTENDING TO SCOTLAND

(" .--(1) No person shall grant or renew an authorisation under this Part for the carrying out of any conduct if it appears to him--
(a) that the authorisation is not one for which this Part is the relevant statutory provision for all parts of the United Kingdom; and
(b) that all the conduct authorised by the grant or, as the case may be, renewal of the authorisation is likely to take place in Scotland.
(2) In relation to any authorisation, this Part is the relevant statutory provision for all parts of the United Kingdom in so far as it--
(a) is granted or renewed on the grounds that it is necessary in the interests of national security or in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(b) is granted or renewed by or on the application of a person holding any office, rank or position with any of the public authorities specified in subsection (3);
(c) authorises conduct of a person holding an office, rank or position with any of the public authorities so specified;
(d) authorises conduct of an individual acting as a covert human intelligence source for the benefit of any of the public authorities so specified; or
(e) authorises conduct that is surveillance by virtue of section 45(4).
(3) The public authorities mentioned in subsection (2) are--
(a) each of the intelligence services;
(b) Her Majesty's forces;
(c) the Ministry of Defence;
(d) the Ministry of Defence Police;
(e) the Commissioners of Customs and Excise; and
(f) the British Transport Police.
(4) For the purposes of so much of this Part as has effect in relation to any other public authority by virtue of--
(a) the fact that it is a public authority for the time being specified in Schedule (Relevant public authorities), or
(b) an order under subsection (1)(d) of section 39 designating that authority for the purposes of that section,
the authorities specified in subsection (3) of this section shall be treated as including that authority to the extent that the Secretary of State by order directs that the authority is a relevant public authority or, as the case may be, is a designated authority for all parts of the United Kingdom.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 44 agreed to.

Clause 45 [Interpretation of Part II]


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