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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My Lords, this amendment was discussed yesterday. Its impact is important. It would remove the provision that banning orders must, save in exceptional circumstances, impose a requirement on recipients to surrender their passports when required to do so by the enforcement authority during control periods.
I am particularly surprised that the noble Lord should choose to return to this amendment. Mandatory surrender of passports is one of two measures in the Bill which had been accepted by all sides, including the Liberal Democrats in another place. The imposition of such a requirement will be a key element in the new structure of controls which this
I made it clear that there is provision for a person to appeal against a requirement to surrender his passport and that the enforcing authority can waive compliance with the condition in certain circumstances--perhaps in some of the circumstances to which the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, alluded. Section 19(2A) makes clear that the enforcing authority under the Bill--the football banning orders authority--may only impose passport surrender conditions in relation to specific matches if satisfied that such conditions will reduce the likelihood of violence or disorder at that match.
I should also like to repeat that Section 20 of the Football Spectators Act, which does not appear in this Bill because it is not amended in any way by this Bill, already provides for the recipients of banning orders to apply for exemptions from any requirement, and for them to be able to appeal to a magistrates' court if the football banning orders authority refuses the application. That seems to me to be good due process.
The regime we propose to put in place for the surrender of passports, which is closely based on the existing system which was set up for international football banning orders, will be no more stringent than is required to meet the purpose for which it was instituted. As I made clear earlier, this proposal was widely supported.
The noble Baroness, Lady Ludford, asked me to reveal our legal opinion. But it is not customary to do that. However, I addressed this issue in the debates yesterday and made the point--fairly, I believe--that rights of movement in Article 509 of the EC treaty and set out in Directives 73/148 and 64/221, are not absolute rights of free movement. The right to travel to receive services may be restricted in the interests of public policy and public security. Those restrictions must of course be applied on the basis of the personal circumstances of those concerned and on the judgment that those concerned represent a genuine threat to public order.
The scheme of the Football Spectators Act, as amended by this Bill, in our view meets those criteria and represents a balanced and proportionate package of measures. Ultimately, it is our opinion that it is right. We believe that this measure is proportionate; that it will make a contribution to securing the security and public safety that we have debated. And this is a measure which attracted widespread support beyond this House. In those circumstances, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.
Lord Goodhart: My Lords, I am unhappy with the Minister's response. I am of course aware of Section 20; indeed, I referred to it in moving the amendment. Section 20 is amended by this Bill in paragraph 14 of Schedule 2, though those amendments are purely consequential.
Given that under new Section 14B(2) of the 1989 Act, a banning order can be made in the absence of a criminal conviction and the Government continue to insist that they are making a civil law order, there plainly ought to be a power to go back to the court to ask for the discharge of the order if it is clear that the subject of the banning order is no longer likely to indulge in violence or disorder. It is because of that gap that we are particularly concerned.
Having said that, I realise that we have to recognise what our priorities are in this Bill. Although it is an important amendment, in our view it is not the most important of those we tabled. Therefore I do not intend to press it. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the purpose of Amendment No. 3 is to remove the power to make a summary order which will prevent somebody who is thought to be a hooligan or potential hooligan from travelling abroad, even at a time when there is no subsisting banning order against him.
We are dealing here with the last of the Government's four main proposals under the Bill, and the one that has attracted the most widespread opposition among all sections who are concerned about this legislation. Indeed, when this matter was debated last night--I do mean last night, not this morning--it gained widespread support from all sides of the Chamber. There is a serious problem here. One has to consider what this proposal is intended to achieve. It will no doubt be used to stop at some point people who are on their way to an overseas match before they leave the United Kingdom or, indeed, England and Wales.
On Second Reading many speakers, including myself, pointed out that the real hooligans do not turn up in their Union Jack or St George's Cross T-shirts, with their beer bellies hanging out and swilling cans of lager. Indeed, if this legislation is enacted, the serious hooligans will dress tidily and discreetly--although perhaps not quite like your Lordships--and will escape notice. If the police start arresting people on mere suspicion based on their appearance, they will soon find that they have saddled themselves with a lot of very unhappy and innocent people who have been prevented from attending the match that they wanted to see. This will cause a great stink via newspaper reports. Moreover, under the new provision for
Obviously, the police understand all that as well as anyone else. Therefore, they are not likely to spend their time at airports looking for the most likely potential hooligans and arresting people simply because they have a tattoo or a beer belly. Plainly the police will act on the basis of intelligence. They will be told the names of the people with records for whom to watch and, having identified them, they will stop them and inform them that they can go no further.
Therefore, in those circumstances, the question will arise as to why the police did not seek to obtain a banning order earlier, rather than wait until these people arrive at an airport. There are two possible answers. First, they may not have quite enough evidence to justify obtaining a banning order or they may not be satisfied that they have it--in which case they should not have stopped the person, save in very rare circumstances where last-minute information has come to their notice. The second possibility is, frankly, the more likely one. Even though the police may have information that could lead to the issuing of a banning order, the police may decide for reasons of cost and time not to seek such an order against a potential hooligan until he has actually set off to attend a match. That seems to me to be a wholly improper use of the power and one that should not be permitted.
If the police are going to apply for banning orders, they should do so in good time so that such an order can be made and the requisite notice served on the person concerned before he leaves home to make his way to a match. However, there is more to it than that. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, said last night, this is an unprecedented power. It is not just inappropriate; it is an infringement of the rights that have been recognised in this country for a very long time. New Sections 21A, 21B and 21C give the police power to stop and detain someone; to order that person to appear at the magistrates' court within the following 24 hours; and to arrest that person and keep him under arrest if the police officer believes that the suspect is likely to fail to appear in court.
As I said, the Government persistently--and, I believe, contrary to all recognised standards--regard a banning order as a civil rather than a criminal order. Therefore, one has to ask: how on earth is it possible to justify giving powers of detention and arrest, even for 24 hours, as regards someone who has not had a criminal conviction for violence in the past and against whom there is nothing more than a suspicion, a belief, that he may take part in violence if he is allowed to proceed to the football match? Moreover, the police can not only detain someone for 24 hours: the magistrates can also remand him and remand him in custody, which is an extraordinary position for what is allegedly the prelude to the making of a civil order.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, this set of amendments attracts me a great deal. However, we now have the opportunity to deal with the final solution on Third Reading. It seems to me that that may be the more appropriate way to deal with this group of amendments. My judgment on these matters will very much depend on what the Minister says. If he can indicate that, as far as concerns Amendment No. 36 and those following it, he has taken note of the points made and admits that there are changes to be made to the Bill--if not now, perhaps at Third Reading--we should surely allow consideration of this part of the legislation to proceed until we reach those amendments.
However, if, as I fear, the Minister has come to the House today with the word "resist" written all over his brief and has no intention of making any accommodation as regards the points that we have all been making on this extremely unsatisfactory part of the Bill, I shall have a great deal of sympathy with the pursuit of these amendments at this stage.
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