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Earl Howe: I think that it does. I am grateful for the Minister's full reply. However, I shall have to reflect on the content of his reply at greater leisure. As he said, this is a technical area, and the concerns that lie behind the amendment are serious. However, for now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
The Committee adjourned at twenty-eight minutes past seven o'clock.
The Government have decided to amend the Civil Aviation Bill to clarify the responsibilities of airport managers and police in relation to the protection and policing of airports that have been designated by the Secretary of State under Section 25 of the Aviation Security Act 1982 ("the Act"). There are currently nine airports designated for policing purposesHeathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Prestwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. The primary responsibility for policing activity at these airports lies with the chief constable and the airport manager must make such payments in respect of policing the airport as the manager and the relevant authority may agree. If they cannot agree, the Secretary of State may be required to determine the amount to be paid to the police by the airport manager (Section 26(3)).
Recently it has become clear that the relationship between the responsibilities of airport managers, aircraft operators and others carrying out security activities directed by the Secretary of State under Part 2 of the Act (Sections 10 to 24) and of the chief constable whose officers police a designated airport under Part 3 (Sections 25 to 31) is uncertain and also that the scope of the Secretary of State's power under Section 26(3) of the Act is unclear.
Given the importance of this issue to the UK's aviation security programme the Government have therefore decided to use the Civil Aviation Bill to seek to amend the Act, to clarify the relationship between the activities of the airport manager and other directed parties at an airport, and policing activities in order to prevent disputes on this point and to provide a more independent method for settling any disputes that may arise in future. The aim of the amendment is to acknowledge that designated airports require both directed parties and police to perform activities, but that in making policing decisions the chief constable should be aware of the role of the directed parties and deploy his resources so that they complement those of the directed parties.
In addition to seeking this amendment, the Government have also decided to commission an independent, wide-ranging review of policing at airports. The review will aim to identify a sustainable approach to the policing of airports which takes account of the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in protecting an airport and in particular addresses the need for funding arrangements that are objective and transparent. The review will be asked to compare the present method of policing airports with
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that of other modes of transport to establish any differences or similarities in policing approaches, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities that may apply. The review will also consider whether the principle of designation can be made to work. If it cannot, the review is asked to propose alternative options. I expect the review team to report back with recommendations by spring next year.
Where an aerodrome has been designated under Section 25 of the Act the respective responsibilities of directed parties and the police will be defined. In addition, the manager of the aerodrome, the police authority and the chief officer of police (the three parties) shall be required to enter into a police services agreement (the Agreement). The Agreement must:
set out the level of police services and resources required in the year(s) ahead. The agreement must acknowledge that the police resources will be under the direction and control of the chief officer of police. Since other agencies' and directed parties' activities may affect the police services required those agencies and parties must be consulted before the agreement is concluded;
make provision for modifications to the services to be provided by the police or to the payments to be made by the aerodrome manager as a result of changes of circumstances during the currency of the agreement.
Where the three parties (i) cannot reach an agreement because they disagree on a particular aspect such as the level of policing to be provided, or (ii) having reached an agreement are in dispute as to its terms, construction or operation, the matter will be referred to determination by an expert. The expert must be independent of both parties and have had no prior involvement in the dispute to be determined. The expert's decision will be final and binding, save that a party may appeal to the High Court on a point of law. An expert's decision may, with the permission of the High Court, be enforced as if it were a judgment of the High Court (and may, in particular, be enforced by the use of powers in relation to contempt of court).
Any of the three parties is entitled to ask the Secretary of State to set up the determination. The expert should be a person appointed by the Secretary of State for the particular dispute, and agreed by the aerodrome manager on one side and the police parties for the other side. If the parties cannot agree, the Secretary of State will require each side to appoint an expert and those two experts to appoint a further panel member to act as chairman.
The expert will determine the procedure to be followed in determining a dispute, but any procedure must give each party to the dispute an opportunity to make representations. The Secretary of State will also
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have an opportunity to make representations before the expert.
The definition of the parties' respective roles in protecting an airport and provision for expert determination of any disputes will have effect from today's date and appropriate transitional provision will be made. The provisions regarding the police services agreement will take effect on Royal Assent.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Andy Burnham) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I am pleased to inform the House that I have today placed in the Library the annual report of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate for the year 2004. This is the first annual report published by the inspectorate.
Publication of the report honours a commitment given by the Government in response to a recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures in July 2002 that more information should be made available about the work of inspectorate.
In the Government's response, published in January 2003, we welcomed the Select Committee's endorsement of the integrity of the inspectorate and of the important contribution that it has made to the welfare of animals in designated establishments. We also recognised that public awareness of the valuable job done by the inspectorate needed to be improved and concluded that this could be remedied, at least in part, by the publication of an annual report on its work.
The inspectorate's first annual report published today explains what the inspectors do and how they do it, and provides details of the inspectorate's staffing and structure, ways of working, professional background and skills, and training and development. There are currently 30 inspectors and our long-term target is to have 33.
The report explains the inspectorate's role in assessing and advising Home Office Ministers and
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officials on applications for personal and project licences and certificates of designation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. It also provides details of the inspection system, through which compliance with licence authorities granted under the 1986 Act is monitored and provides information about visiting patterns and practice and the number of visits carried out during the year.
The report also explains the important role of inspectors in gathering and transmitting information on good practice and provides examples of the many events and initiatives to which the inspectorate made significant contributions during the year.
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