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Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chan, L.
Chandos, V.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Colville of Culross, V.
Cooke of Thorndon, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L. [Teller]
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Hardy of Wath, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rooker, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Simon, V.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Alexander of Weedon, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Barker, B.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Bowness, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Buscombe, B.
Caithness, E.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chadlington, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Denham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Feldman, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greaves, L.
Greenway, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haskins, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hylton, L.
Jacobs, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L. [Teller]
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Newby, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Perry of Walton, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Russell, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stern, B.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Clause 4 disagreed to accordingly.

30 Jun 2003 : Column 658

Clause 5 [Limits on period of detention without charge]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 21:


    Page 4, line 26, leave out "an arrestable offence" and insert "an offence which is triable only on indictment"

The noble Baroness said: With the leave of the Committee, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 22, 23 and 24, the last of which is in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley.

30 Jun 2003 : Column 659

At present, detention for up to 36 hours is confined only to what are termed "serious arrestable offences", as defined in PACE. The Government propose to enlarge the range of offences for which detention for up to 36 hours is possible by changing this to "all arrestable offences". My amendments present two alternatives of choice to the Government and to the Committee. The first would change "arrestable offences" to offences "triable only on indictment". Although that would of course allow robbery, at which it appears the clause is aimed, to be covered, I recognise that this would create some anomalies in relation to theft of substantial sums, as was pointed out at col. 88 in Committee in another place.

I have therefore drawn up my alternative set of amendments, Nos. 22 and 23, as a pair. They would retain the existing wording of "serious arrestable offence" but would allow detention of up to 36 hours for other offences as specified by the Secretary of State. That approach would allow the Government to specify offences such as robbery, if that is what they wish; it would give them flexibility while also giving us some certainty and parliamentary scrutiny of what offences would be covered.

I ask the Government at what particular mischief the clause is aimed. Surely the police do not, as a rule, want to detain people for 36 hours for every sort of arrestable offence. I find that difficult to believe. So why have the Government rejected the approach of specifying particular offences such as robbery, for which the power is sought?

I have added my name to the amendment in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, but will leave it to her to expound upon it. I simply say here, as I did on a previous occasion, that in this respect, as in others, it is vital that we should consider the interests and welfare of children. I beg to move.

Lord Waddington: It seems to me that as a result of Amendment No. 6, which was carried a short time ago, we are left in a completely absurd position. Clearly, something has to be done. As a result of the acceptance of Amendment No. 6, possession of a class C drug is an arrestable offence; as a result of Clause 5, anybody who is arrested for an arrestable offence can be detained without charge for up to 36 hours. That means that anybody in possession of some of the fairly innocuous drugs listed as class C drugs, including anabolic steroids, can find himself detained for 36 hours. That is manifestly absurd.

Somehow or other, the Government have to get themselves out of the mess they have got into as a result of Amendment No. 6. I am not quite sure how they will do it, but things certainly cannot be left as they are.

Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: Following on from what my noble friend Lord Waddington has said, if one accepts the premise that the time one should be held in detention prior to charge should be as short as possible, on what basis do the Government justify making this change at all? Am I right in saying that all the research that has been done and figures that have been collated show that the average time for which

30 Jun 2003 : Column 660

people are kept in detention, for arrestable but not seriously arrestable offences, is well below the limit of 24 hours? If that is so, what is the justification of putting it up to 36 hours?

I point out to the Minister that, in practice, many arrests for the type of offence that will now be covered will take place in the evening. This will result in people spending the equivalent of two nights in the nick rather than one—for them, a great deal of time. There is no justification for removing or changing the wording at all in view of the way "arrestable offence" is already defined in the PACE legislation.

7 p.m.

Lord Alexander of Weedon: I support Amendment No. 22 in particular as it seems to give the Government an appropriate degree of flexibility. What concerns me about the proposal is that there seems not to be any very good reason for it. It will apply to minor offences, as my noble friend Lord Waddington said, but it will also cover offences such as touting for car hire services and traffic offences.

The Home Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons was in no sense convinced that there was a general problem. Its report said:


    "We therefore question the need for an extension in non-serious cases. There are other—more appropriate—provisions in the Bill, which are designed to assist the police in conducting their investigations before charge".

There does not seem to be any special reason why we should need a longer period of detention without charge than most other civilised jurisdictions. In another place, the figures were helpfully supplied for other jurisdictions. We are told that in Australia,


    "in New South Wales, the period of detention is four hours. In Queensland, it is eight hours, which can be extended for a further eight hours with a magistrate's approval. In South Australia, the period is four hours, with a four-hour extension granted by a magistrate. In Canada, the period is 24 hours, with a possible extension from a justice of the peace. In Denmark, it is 24 hours, with a 48-hour maximum, to be extended by the court. In Finland, the period is 24 hours. In France, it is 24 hours, with an extra 24 hours possible on the stamp of the public prosecutor. In the Netherlands, the period is six hours, excluding the hours between midnight and 9 a.m., and there can be an extension of another six hours thereafter".—[Official Report, Commons, 2/4/03; col. 931.]

When other jurisdictions operate with a system in which 24 hours is an absolute maximum, unless extended by judicial authority, it would be deeply disappointing if for some reason we went for a longer period in our own country where we pride ourselves on the need to be alert—to keep people in custody for the minimum period. That is something for which the Minister would have to provide a very good explanation, which so far, reading all the material surrounding the Bill, I have not seen.


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