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Lord Thomas of Gresford: I am grateful to the Minister for his response. However, the noble Lord makes my point. It may be that environmental health officers or factory inspectors enter premises because they are concerned about certain matters. However, if either barged into a person's home and demanded the production of documents and answers to questions, as this Bill permits, there would be a great outcry in this country. Those powers do not exist.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I support what has been said and I shall not repeat it. This is a serious matter. I am glad that the Minister is to think about it. I believe that the noble Lord should give this matter serious consideration. We shall also think about it. I am sure that this is a matter to which we shall return at later stages. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 32.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 32A to 33A not moved.]

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Clause 18 agreed to.

Clause 19 agreed to.

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 34:


    After Clause 19, insert the following new clause--

DISCLOSURE OF ENHANCED CRIMINAL RECORD CERTIFICATE

(" . The Authority shall not disclose to any person, other than employees of the Authority involved in deciding on the granting, revocation or renewal of licence applications, any information which comes into their possession under section 19.").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 34 relates to criminal record certificates. The new clause seeks to provide that information from an enhanced criminal record certificate shall not be disclosed unnecessarily but retained within the authority. I support efforts for the rehabilitation of offenders. The way in which convictions are allowed to disappear into the undergrowth after a lapse of time is an important provision with regard to the rehabilitation of offenders. The longer the prison sentence, the longer it remains on the open record. These are powers for access to these criminal records notwithstanding the rehabilitation provisions. We should be careful about those. The authority should have a duty to keep them confidential. I beg to move.

9.45 p.m.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In order to determine properly that only those who are fit and proper persons should have a licence to work in designated sectors of the private security industry, it is important that the authority should have knowledge of the full criminal record of those applying for a licence. In the case of door supervisors alone, we have decided that that knowledge should be to the level of the enhanced criminal record certificate which will contain information about both spent and unspent convictions, minor convictions and local police intelligence. That is provided for in Clause 19.

It is essential that the security industry authority acts responsibly when such handling of sensitive information about individuals takes place. There are, however, already strict rules governing the disclosure of information obtained from the Criminal Records Bureau. These strict rules are contained in Section 124 of the Police Act 1997. That section outlines the limited circumstances under which a person may disclose the information and to whom. Anyone breaching these conditions would be committing a serious criminal offence. The authority will also need to have due regard to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Our argument is that adequate restrictions are already in place. These should meet the noble Lord's concerns. That is certainly their intention, and we do not wish the system to work in any other way.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I am grateful for that reply. I shall ponder on it. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Clauses 20 and 21 agreed to.

Clause 22 [Orders and regulations]:

[Amendments Nos. 35 to 37 not moved.]

Clause 22 agreed to.

Clause 23 [Interpretation]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 38:


    Page 15, line 42, at end insert--


(""security operative" shall be construed in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 2;").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 38 seeks to insert into line 42 of Clause 23 a reference to the definition of "security operative". It seemed odd to me that there was not already such a definition in the clause but there is a definition of "activities of a security operative" in line 2 of the clause. Therefore, I thought that perhaps the words "security operative" must always be accompanied by the words "activities of a". I then looked at paragraph 6(3) of Schedule 2 and discovered that "security operative" appears without the words "activities of". It seemed to me that it should be defined and I therefore tabled this amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Clause 23 provides interpretation of terms not explained elsewhere in the Bill. The term "security operative" is, by contrast, already defined elsewhere. Therefore, we believe that there is no need to repeat the definition in Clause 23. Schedule 2 defines the activities of security operatives that are subject to regulation by this Bill. Paragraph 1(1) of Schedule 2 makes clear the activities of a security operative. The term "security operative" is thus used in Clause 3(3) in such a way as to link firmly the provisions of Clause 3 to the list of designated activities in Schedule 2. With that explanation on record, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Cope, will be able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: It is not quite accurate to say that Clause 23 only defines things that are not defined elsewhere. Activities of a security officer are defined by reference to Part I of Schedule 2. That is not abnormal. Some of the other definitions are done by reference to other Acts of Parliament. I treat definitions seriously. Acts of Parliament or Bills are difficult enough to read as it is. Many years ago my noble friend Lord Renton made some excellent recommendations intended to improve the drafting. One recommendation referred to the way in which definitions should be handled. Successive governments, including those in which I was involved, have largely ignored the excellent recommendations of that committee. Nevertheless, I believe that whenever we can put them into practice we should.

Clearly, the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, will not agree to the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 38.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 23 agreed to.

Clause 24 agreed to.

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Schedule 1 [The Security Industry Authority]:

Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 39:


    Schedule 1, page 17, line 6, at end insert ("provided that there shall not be a majority of the members who are engaged in activities covered by this Act").

The noble Viscount said: In moving Amendment No. 39, I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 40, 41 and 42. These amendments concern the composition of the security industry authority and the appointment of a chief executive. I am sure that the Minister will say that when they come to appoint members of the authority the Secretary of State will use his good judgment and say that it should have a person from here and another from there. This is too important to be left to the Secretary of State. There should be some guidelines by Parliament.

The amendments are quite simple. They seek to improve Schedule 1. The first provides that there should not be a majority of members engaged in activities covered by the Act. That means that lay members should have a majority on the authority, and it ought not to be just the industry. It goes on to say in the next amendment that there should be at least one serving police officer. That means that there should be a representative from the police force on the authority. I am sure that this is something that the Secretary of State would normally consider. However, we think it is important to put it in the Bill. We also felt it important that the chairman should be a lay person who could be independent when looking at the various voting issues.

Finally, I mention Amendment No. 42, which seeks to have an open application procedure determined by the Secretary of State for the appointment of the chief executive. This will be an important role. The appointment must be open and seen to be open. It must follow the principles of open government. I am sure that the Minister would agree with the principle even if he does not agree with the amendment.

It is important that the membership of the authority represents a wide range of interests. It should not be exclusive to anyone. It must have representatives from the industry and the police. The Minister might have other recommendations. We feel that these amendments at least offer suggestions as to what the membership should be. Amendment No. 40A in the name of noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, provides that there should be adequate representation of the security industry, employees' representatives, the police and customers' interests. It is very similar to our amendment but is put in a different way. I support the principles behind both amendments. They both seek the same end. We believe that Schedule 1 should provide reassurance to the industry, the police and all the parties involved that there will be adequate representation on the security industry authority. I beg to move.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: Perhaps I may speak to Amendment No. 40A, which stands in my name. I am not tied to the number 10; nor do I suggest that the

30 Jan 2001 : Column 664

categories I have listed from (a) to (d) are exhaustive. What I am interested in is a response from the Minister which will outline the type of authority and the kind of representation that the Government have in mind. I look forward with interest to the Minister's reply.


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