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Viscount Brookeborough: Perhaps I may be of some help on that point. The people are not nominated to that first selection group; they nominate themselves. They offer themselves up and then go through a serious selection process, which is run by a professional business as advisors to the council. A shortlist of those who are eligible—some of whom would become ineligible—if they put forward their name, are then put forward to the board who select, using all the other criteria we have discussed.

Baroness O'Cathain: Perhaps I may ask a rather naive question. If someone is deemed not to be worthy to be a member of the DPP, surely they should be disqualified and not allowed to stand again?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: That is the difference between the approach of the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, and what is currently in the Bill. The critical point is that they should not be able to have substantive membership of the DPP. That is the important point. Whether or not they make an application is by the way. The real question is that they should be disqualified. The system described by the noble Viscount and which I indicated earlier, brings about what the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, wants.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment Nos. 35 and 36 not moved.]

Clause 13 agreed to.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 [Core policing principles]:

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass moved Amendment No. 37:

The noble Lord said: This is a probing amendment, because it appears that the Bill now confuses or mixes up core policing principles with police functions. There is a confusion as to what is a principle, what is a function and what is a priority. If, as suggested in the Bill, police officers shall carry out their functions with the aim of securing the support of the local community and acting in co-operation with it, and that is a finite statement, it strikes me that it may well be one which is in conflict with the general functions of policing as defined in Section 32 of the 2000 Act, where those general functions are defined as being to protect life and property; to preserve order; to prevent the commission of offences and to bring offenders to justice.

While it is commendable and desirable that those general functions as defined in Section 32 are carried out in a way which secures the support of the local community and acting in co-operation with the local community, there may be occasions when the two

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objectives are not concurrently attainable. I have no doubt that without me going into detail, the Minister will be able to understand the type of situation that perhaps exists today on the lower Shankhill, where the Adair faction, while having influence, are in conflict with other members of that community.

Where do the police seek to secure support when there are two factions in conflict with each other? I am sure that it happens in many other situations throughout Northern Ireland. Is it not a priority that the functions as defined in Section 32 should take precedence? Hence, would it not be helpful to add on page 9, line 13, after "functions", "insofar as practicable"? If that were inserted into that sentence there would be nothing irrational or contradictory in terms of new Section 31A and Section 32 of the 2000 Act. I beg to move.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: I support the amendment, or at least the thinking behind it. Many, if not all of us, visualise areas which can be described as communities where there is a general intention to defy and defeat what is required by proper policing in a certain set of circumstances which, regrettably, can occur quite frequently. There may be some difficulty in the drafting of the amendment: "insofar as practicable". Perhaps another way to tackle it might be to add after Section 32(1) a new subsection(1(a) or (2)(a), "subject to the foregoing duty, it shall be the duty of the police to", and then to proceed as drafted. I suggest something of that character. I believe that there is a realistic and practical justification for the amendment, which I hope the noble and learned Lord will consider.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Amendment No. 38 is linked with this amendment. I return to the word "community" which I think of as a good word. However, it has been put to us that there are occasions in Northern Ireland where community means the local hard men. In such circumstances, acting in co-operation with the local community could have rather undesirable consequences. Policing should be left to the professionals. Therefore, consultation might be a better way to define this relationship, rather than co-operation.

I have been thinking about this since the amendment was drafted. I wonder whether a glossary of terms might be useful. The word "community" may mean different things in different places, even in the Bill. I should like to think that the word "community" had a good and warm feel to it about something which is real and genuine and certainly does not mean disruptive hard men. Therefore, this attempts to assist with that, bearing in mind that we are talking about core policing principles. I am not certain that that is right. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I think that the observations have proceeded on a misapprehension. As the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, says quite correctly, this clause deals with policing principles. It states:

    "Police officers shall carry out their functions".

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A police officer is sworn to uphold the law. That has nothing to do with getting on happily or turning a blind eye in no-go areas. These are principles. The clause states:

    "Police officers shall carry out their functions with the aim . . . of securing the support of the local community".

That is so, but it relates to the support of the local community in discharging their functions, which are the upholding of the peace and the maintenance of law and order. Secondly, the clause states,

    "acting in co-operation with the local community".

Again, that is so in the context of carrying out their functions. Indeed, if one is talking about no-go areas and hard men, if someone is directed to consult them, I should have thought that that would have been rather less firm. This is a principle and it is admirably set out with absolute clarity. It is not an A to Z of how one carries out one's duty off the Shankhill Road; it concerns what one is supposed to be about and I suggest that it is admirably expressed.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass: I accept the good intentions and the clear definition given by the noble and learned Lord in response. None the less, I wonder whether, to some extent, he contradicted his advice to the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, on Amendment No. 32 when he suggested that, in defining things in terms of gender and ethnicity, he was defining something specific within what was intended to be a much broader field. Insofar as this part of the Bill seeks to define two areas, which I believe are referred to as "core policing principles", are those the only principles that one would apply to police and policing? I think not. Therefore, in the interest of consistency—although, if I remember an earlier part of the debate, the Bill is not particularly concerned with the concept of consistency—will the Minister concede that something needs to be done in order to tidy up this aspect of the Bill as I have attempted to do in Amendment No. 37?

Baroness Park of Monmouth: I continue to share the anxiety about this matter. I believe that it is an extremely likely scenario that the hard men in a community, whether loyalist or Sinn Fein/IRA, could—it would be in their interests to do so—cause, through influence, threats and the rest, someone to be put forward who would be accepted as an independent member and who himself or herself might be a perfectly respectable member of society whom the board could very properly accept.

However, if that person were under the control of the paramilitaries, then the position of the police would become extremely difficult. Presumably they would have to discuss the application of policing with such people in the community. I believe that it is very hard on the ordinary community for us not to recognise clearly in the Bill that there is a distinction between the ordinary people who are under the threat and the heel of the paramilitaries, and the paramilitaries who wish to put themselves forward as "the community", or to put their nominees forward. I hope that when we reach the next stage, somehow we

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can find the wording that makes it clear that when we say "community", we do not mean the paramilitaries or their nominees. I do not know how that can be done. It will make a laughing stock of the police if they are seen and known by the ordinary man in the street to be solemnly having to co-operate and consult with people whom the man in the street knows perfectly well to be representing not his normal interests, but those of paramilitaries, who may also be criminals.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I shall reply immediately to the noble Baroness on that. The answer is found in a combination of Section 31A on page 9 of the present Bill, which says:

    "(1) Police officers shall carry out their functions with the aim—".

I paraphrased what their functions were. They are amply described in Section 32 of the 2000 Act—on page 16, if that is helpful to the Committee. One needs to go back to the 2000 Act. The general functions of the police referred to are:

    "(a) to protect life and property;

    (b) to preserve order;

    (c) to prevent the commission of offences;

    (d) where an offence has been committed, to take measures to bring the offender to justice."

None of those would conceivably be compatible with giving into the hard men in the no-go areas, because they would not be preserving order, preventing the commission of offences or taking measures to bring the offender to justice. That is why one needs to take care in looking at Section 31A in the overarching context of Section 32, which remains unamended.

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