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Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for that response. Between now and Third Reading I shall carry out more research into the matter to ascertain where we are and what is required. If it seems appropriate, I shall table a more satisfactory amendment. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 18 [Fixed-term appointments]:

[Amendment No. 30 not moved.]

Lord Smith of Clifton moved Amendment No. 31:



"DISCRIMINATION IN APPOINTMENTS: EXPIRY, RENEWAL AND REPEAL OF TEMPORARY PROVISIONS
In section 47(3) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 (c. 32) (expiry, renewal and repeal of temporary provisions), for "three years" substitute "one year"."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 31 I shall speak also to Amendment No. 32. The purpose of the first amendment resonates with what many noble Lords have said about the difficulties that the 50:50 recruitment process creates. We are all committed to it but we need to look at it fairly regularly in order to see whether and how it is operating. That is why we suggest an opportunity to monitor the situation and to discuss it annually instead of every three years, as provided in the original Act of 2000.

Amendment No. 32 is tabled in order to give a designated end date so that all parties—not only political parties but also the agencies which are

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concerned with policing in Northern Ireland—have a fixed point beyond which, one hopes, it will not be necessary to extend the provision. The Patten report suggested that it should be for only eight years. Our amendment suggests 10 years, two more than envisaged by Patten. We are trying to reflect the report's original intention of ending the provision completely after 10 years because if, in the ninth year, it were extended by another three years it could roll on. We want to give a signal to all those people concerned with policing in Northern Ireland that it should definitely stop after 10 years. I beg to move.

Lord Glentoran: My Lords, I supported the first part of the amendment in Grand Committee. I see no reason to change my mind. It seems a sensible and useful amendment.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I sympathise with the motives and thinking which lie behind the amendments. There is already a good deal of flexibility. I remind the House that the first review will occur in the earlier part of 2004, so we are not far away.

In Grand Committee, I said that an annual review would be cumbersome. I shall develop the reasons. The time it takes for applications to be made and recruitment to follow has been halved from the year or so it took pre-Patten to about six months. But that is only before recruits enter training. They spend 20 weeks at the foundation faculty obtaining an accredited qualification; they have another two months training in other policing skills; and they spend about 18 further months as probationer constables. Perhaps I put it clumsily, but in management terms a review every year could not work. Those figures underline the fact that having a review after not longer than three years—that is within the Secretary of State's power—is about right.

We have had success. In each of the first four campaigns the applicants—I round up the figures—numbered 7,500, 4,900, 4,700 and 4,300. The levels of Roman Catholic applications are 35 per cent, 39 per cent, 35 per cent and 35 per cent. I believe that it would be ill-advised to tinker too much at this stage. I stress that the review must take place in not more than three years but the Secretary of State can have a review sooner than that.

In paragraph 15.10 of the report, Patten states:


    "We believe that the ratio of recruits should be kept to 50:50, at least for the ten years of the model".

Therefore, I repeat that I do sympathise with what the noble Lord, Lord Smith of Clifton, has said, but at this stage, we ought to leave things as they are.

I can say, however, that when it comes to the review, I shall ensure—it may be a false assumption that I will still be doing this job—that there is ample time to look at these issues, which are intricate and important.

Lord Smith of Clifton: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for that assurance. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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[Amendment No. 32 not moved.]

Clause 19 [Disclosure of information and holding of inquiries]:

[Amendments Nos. 33 to 35 not moved.]

Clause 20 [Police powers for designated police support staff]:

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 36:


    Page 12, line 10, leave out "subsection (1)" and insert "this section"

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 38 to 41, 43 to 50, 70 and 71, 73, 81 to 84 and 88 and 89. This is a substantial group of amendments, which have been designed to improve the wording of the Bill. The police have requested amendments to enable them to enter into contracts with the private sector for the provision of services relating to the detention or escort of persons who have been arrested or are otherwise in custody. The Chief Constable may then designate any person who is an employee of the contractor, either as a detention officer or an escort officer. Therefore, the amendments are in line with Section 39 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

I repeat that this provision comes at the request of the Chief Constable. It will allow him to take forward proposals for greater civilianisation in the police service. I hope that that chimes with what noble Lords have said earlier. Possibly, one of the better consequences may be the freeing of police officers for other police duties. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Shutt of Greetland moved Amendment No. 37:


    Page 12, line 15, leave out "adequate" and insert "full"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we are back to words again. Clause 20 suggests that there should be some training for people who are police support staff. Subsection (2)(c) states that,


    "the person has received adequate training".

The amendment would delete the word "adequate" and insert the word "full". There is a sense in which the word "adequate" is inadequate. The word is often prefaced by the word "barely", and barely adequate is certainly not correct.

When we considered the matter in Committee, the noble and learned Lord suggested that the provision should be that the person had received the "appropriate" training, which would be a better word. My amendment would make it absolutely clear that those who are hired would have full training in the work that they are required to do. That would be far more appropriate and would give confidence that members of the police support staff are fully trained to do the work. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Shutt, said, this issue was raised in Committee. The Northern Ireland Office officials prudently anticipated that an amendment might be

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tabled at this stage. The NIO has sought reassurance from the Chief Constable that all designated persons will receive appropriate training that is fit for the purpose. I hope that that meets the concerns expressed by the noble Lord. As he knows, adequate training is replicated in the Police Reform Act. I hope that the fact that such a step has been taken, together with my categoric assurance on behalf of the Chief Constable, will meet the concerns of the noble Lord.

Lord Shutt of Greetland: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for his response. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 38 to 41:


    Page 12, line 17, after "conferred" insert "or imposed"


    Page 12, line 18, leave out "designated person" and insert "person designated under this section"


    Page 12, line 21, after "designation" insert "under this section"


    Page 12, line 23, leave out "designated person" and insert "person designated under this section"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 42:


    Page 12, line 24, after "are" insert "any or all of"

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, Clause 20(5) describes the powers and duties that are capable of being applied by designation. The amendment simply replicates the provisions in the Police Reform Act so that particular provisions of the schedule can be applied to the designated person. This is intended to give the Chief Constable flexibility in which provision should apply. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 43 to 49:


    Page 12, line 26, after "designated" insert "under this section"


    Page 12, line 27, after "designated" insert "under this section"


    Page 12, line 28, after "designated" insert "under this section"


    Page 12, line 29, leave out "designated person" and insert "person designated under this section"


    Page 12, line 36, leave out "designated person" and insert "person designated under this section"


    Page 13, line 1, leave out "designated person" and insert "person designated under this section"


    Page 13, line 8, leave out subsections (11) and (12).

On Question, amendments agreed to.

23 Jan 2003 : Column 898


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