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Baroness Blatch: There is no question about the purpose; it is set out in law. The purpose is to identify a person. As the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, said, if a person can be identified in a more technologically advanced way, that way should be included. I would have thought that there was a collective generic term that would allow for the flexibility of new technology to be used for the purposes of identification only.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The appropriate course is to make sure that we can identify someone properly and reliably. That is what we have done in the Bill.

Lord Lucas: I shall give further thought to what the noble and learned Lord said. I am surprised that the Government wish to restrict themselves in that way, but so be it. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 89 agreed to.

Clause 90 [Section 89: interpretation]:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 437:



"(d) making, in respect of a person, an order under section 2, 2A or 20 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c. 37) (sex offender orders and interim orders made in England and Wales or Scotland) or Article 6 or 6A of the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 (S.I. 1998/2839 (N.I. 20)) (sex offender orders and interim orders made in Northern Ireland)."

The noble and learned Lord said: Amendment No. 437 will extend the ways in which a court may deal with a person for the purposes of deciding where they are required to notify. The amendment applies to offenders who are subject to the notification requirements but do not have a home address and have not previously notified a home address. That may be because they are homeless or because they spend most of their time abroad. In such cases, the offender is

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required to make the notification at a police station in the area in which they were last dealt with by a court in a certain way.

The amendment will extend those ways to include a sex offender order or interim sex offender order. It is a transitional provision to cover those who are subject to the notification requirements by virtue of a sex offender order made before the commencement of this part of the Bill. Although the amendment extends the provisions of Clause 90, it is not the result of a policy change. It is clear from subsections (7) and (8) of Clause 83 that the offenders concerned were always intended to fall within the provision. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 90, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 91 agreed to.

Clause 92 [Parental directions: variations, renewals and discharges]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 437A:


    Page 45, line 29, at end insert—


"( ) the chief officer of police for the area in which the young offender resides;"

The noble Lord said: The purpose of the amendments in this grouping is to ensure consistency across various clauses in Part 2 of the Bill. Amendments Nos. 437A, 439A, 446A and 458ZH ensure consistency across parental directions, notification orders, sexual offences prevention orders and risk of sexual harm orders by allowing the same class of police officer to apply for a direction or order and for an order to be varied, renewed and discharged.

Amendment No. 454A brings sexual offences prevention orders into line with notification orders in terms of defining who is a qualifying offender when the offence is committed outside the United Kingdom.

The main effect of these amendments is to add the words


    "whether or not he has been punished for it"

in the context of a conviction for a relevant offence. Under the present wording the police can only apply for a SOPO, which is a sexual offences prevention order, if a person who has committed a sexual offence overseas has been punished for that offence. Under the amendment such an application may be made in respect of a person with a conviction, an equivalent finding to those under the UK mental health legislation or a caution for a relevant offence. That will enable a SOPO to be made against an offender who has been convicted of a relevant offence overseas, but who absconded before serving his sentence or for an order to be made against an offender who has been convicted for a relevant offence but who received an absolute discharge.

The other amendments in this grouping are all minor drafting changes mainly needed to give effect to the amendments described above. I beg to move.

Lord Astor of Hever: We support these government amendments which tidy up sloppy drafting and remove ambiguity. We particularly welcome

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Amendment No. 454A, which allows those convicted in another country other than the United Kingdom of relevant offences to be liable to a sexual offences prevention order. A relevant offence is defined in Amendment No. 454D as an act which constitutes an offence under the law in force in the country concerned and would have constituted an offence listed in Schedule 2 or 3 if it had been done in any part of the UK. This is vital to make sure that those sexual offenders who come to this country from abroad will still fall within the category of those who can have such orders enforced on them to protect the public from any potential threat that they might pose.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 92, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 93 [Offences relating to notification]:

[Amendment No. 438 not moved.]

Clauses 93 and 94 agreed to.

Clause 95 [Information about release or transfer]:

[Amendment No. 439 not moved.]

Clause 95 agreed to.

Clause 96 [Notification orders: applications and grounds]:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment Nos. 439A, 440, 441, 441A and 442:


    Page 47, line 39, leave out "he" and insert "the defendant resides in his police area or the chief officer".


    Page 48, line 4, leave out from "finding" to "that" in line 5 and insert "equivalent to a finding"


    Page 48, line 7, leave out from beginning to "that" and insert "equivalent to a finding"


    Page 48, line 10, leave out "for" and insert "in respect of".


    Page 48, line 22, leave out "corresponding" and insert "equivalent"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 96, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 97 agreed to.

Clause 98 [Sections 96 and 97: relevant offences]:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton moved Amendment No. 443:


    Page 49, line 21, leave out "taken as having been" and insert "to be taken as"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 98, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 99 to 101 agreed to.

Clause 102 [Sections 96 to 99: Scotland]:

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 444:


    Page 50, line 38, leave out "Person" and insert "Post"

The noble Lord said: This is the shortest amendment I have ever moved. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas: I would like to know why the Government, two years before the time when we are supposed to have electronic government and about two years after we passed a Bill enabling such things to be done by electronic communications, are giving us a

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Bill that does not include such communications. Are the Government serious? I do not think they are, given my various troubles with them in the past. The Government protest their seriousness on many occasions, but how can such Bills come before us in which notices are served by post but no provision is made for them to be served electronically? Are the Government not up to speed with their own legislation and intentions, or do they just not really care?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am not going to get into a great debate about the e-serving of such notices at this late stage. My understanding is that we can do these things, but of course the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, is very wise in these matters.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 102, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 103 [Sexual offences prevention orders: applications and grounds]:

Lord Astor of Hever moved Amendment No. 445:


    Page 51, line 14, leave out "or 3"

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 446, 453 and 454. These are probing amendments designed to find out how many people would qualify for a sexual offences prevention order. We are concerned that the remit of Schedule 3 is broad and untargeted. There seems to be no rationale for the assumption that violent offenders should qualify for SOPOs when they have no previous history of sexual offences or any sexual element attaching to the offences of which they have been convicted.

We recognise that there are those whose behaviour escalates and who may present a danger of sexual violence to the public, despite not having been convicted of violent offences. However, the schedule is so widely drawn that an application can be made in respect of those convicted of offences such as arson or those against aircraft security, or assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The danger with such broad-brush provisions is that resources become so thinly spread that those who present the real danger slip through the net while the effects are overly punitive on those who present no real risk.

We also have concerns about how the application will be made in practice. How will a risk of sexual harm be evidenced? Will there be reporting restrictions on those applications to prevent a repeat of the public disorder that followed the printing by the News of the World of personal details? Will there be a presumption that a conviction for a violent offence is evidence of a proclivity to commit a sexual offence? Those questions are important. We need to get the details right before the new prevention orders come into force. I beg to move.


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