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As my noble friend has said, Clause 6 is very short on detail. I am concerned that it seems to refer exclusively, in one sense, to the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and makes no reference to the security services more generally; nor, indeed, does the noble Baroness's amendment. I assume that the security forces will be heavily engaged in maintaining the safety of competitors and the public during the Olympics. It seems strange that there is no reference to them whatever as their omission from the Bill may be taken, in one sense, to exclude them.
The hierarchy of responsibility is another matter but, by not referring to the security services at allparticularly if, for example, the Olympic Delivery Authority wanted to provide accommodation and equipment for themit may be argued that the legislation does not cover something which needs to be covered.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to noble Lords for introducing this short debate on security issues, which are of paramount importance. The last thing that would have crossed my mind is that the noble Baroness is mischief-making in raising this issuefar from it. She is doing the public a service in emphasising that we cannot conduct the games without paying due regard to security. After all, the Olympic Games have a history of security aspects dramatically intruding on them from time to time and, of course, the International Olympic Committee needed to be reassured by the bids that the security issues would be approached properly.
If we needed a reminder, the day following the announcement indicated to us all how we need to be on our guard and to be properly protected. The safety and security of everyone who participates in and attends the games is of paramount importance. That is why we amended the Bill in the other place to give the ODA a specific duty under Clause 6 to have regard to the importance of ensuring the safety of those attending or participating in the games. We take the issue of security very seriously. The Government, the interim ODA and LOCOG are already working with the police and the security services to consider and to plan how the London games can be made safe and secure. That work will feed into the design of the Olympic venues, which is part of the anxiety emphasised by the
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noble Baroness in her opening contribution. We shall continue a close working relationship over the next six years.
I entirely accept that the noble Baroness is bringing before the Committee a representation from reputable authorities, but the reason we have had no representations from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and senior police about anxieties on this score with regard to the Bill is that they regard the Bill and the consultation already taking place as evidence of the significance that the Government inevitably attach to the matter.
In addition to the ODA's work in planning and building safe and secure venues, LOCOG has a budget of £213 million for security within Olympic venues. That is a substantial budget but, in addition, the police will provide security outside venues. As a result of our detailed security plans, the president of the IOC has stated that he has,
Considering Amendment No. 33 more closely, one sees that it makes an important point about the need to address security provisions adequately. Clause 6 places an obligation on the ODA to have regard to the importance of safety. The authority is obliged to hold consultations as it considers appropriate with the police to ensure that it takes expert advice on these critical matters. That was the burden of several representations in this short debate.
In fulfilling this duty, through consultation with the police, the ODA will need to ensure that adequate arrangements are made for police premises and facilities. A Cabinet-level security committee will lead on the security arrangements for the games, and should anxieties develop that the ODA was ignoring the concerns of the police or other proper authorities concerned with security, the Secretary of State holds a power of direction in reserve. I do not, therefore, think that the Bill needs to make the specific point mentioned in this amendment. It is an important point, but I hope that I have reassured the Committee that it has already been taken care of through a combination of the ODA's general duty, the application of Clause 6 and the other non-statutory processes in place for handling security arrangements.
Lord Higgins: The Minister has not dealt with my pointthat at the moment the clause deals entirely with the police, as does the noble Baroness's amendment, but clearly the security forces will be involved. The fact that it is being overseen by a Cabinet Committee will not helpeven, if I may say so, the Cabinet Committeeif the scope of the Bill is not sufficient to cover expenditure by the security forces in this context. The Minister referred earlier to the Public Accounts Committee. I should have thought that there
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should be some reference to the security forces in the Bill if we are not to leave a gap which may later cause problems.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The noble Lord will recognise that in this area we do not specify every detail of the security forces and their co-operation. I seek to identify that we cannot guarantee a safe games without the fullest consultation and employment of all agencies that can contribute to it. We are already setting about that and have the necessary authority in place to guarantee that those processes continue. I also indicated the very substantial figure already devoted to security. I understand what the noble Lord is sayingit is not on wider security mattersbut a substantial sum is directed towards security within venues. It is asking a great deal at this stage to go much further than this, against a background in which the police are satisfied, in so far as we have not had additional representations from them about this clause, at a high level. As I said, we have been able not only to assure, but to gain the support of, the International Olympic Committee that we are going about this task in a purposeful and effective manner. It is very difficult when discussing the Bill, rather than practices under the Bill, to argue that we could specify a great deal more than what we have done, when I can give evidence that we are acting completely consistently with others' expectations.
Lord Dixon-Smith: Could the Minister say something further to assure my noble friend? Surely the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has a very close and intimate relationship with all the other security servicesas perforce he must do, because of the significant diplomatic and international fiscal nature of the metropolis.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to the noble Lord, but I took that somewhat as a given. We all know the times in which we live, and we have all seen the extensive security operation that we had to mount as the immediate consequence of 7 July, and how much work has had to be done, and is being done, to protect all our fellow citizens. That work requires extensive co-ordination between forces in authority but I do not think that the Government could be expected to state how those forces interrelate in a clause in the Bill. Clause 6 makes clear the recognised obligation on security that will need to be met. That is the assurance that I give the Committee.
Lord Higgins: I am simply puzzled about why the Minister is so resistant to including the security forces in the Bill. Perhaps we should consider the matter further before Report. I do not want to delay the Committee further now, but the wording seems strange.
Baroness Hamwee: I am grateful to noble Lords and to the Minister for their comments. Having spent some time on Tuesday criticising the Secretary of State's level of involvement with the ODA, I was hoping that the Minister would say, as he did, that the Secretary of State could use powers of direction in this context.
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I fully understand the significance already given to the issue of security. I am aware that the Metropolitan Police has a team among whose responsibilities are planning for the Olympics. This amendment was suggested by the resources directorate of the MPA. It is not thinking of operational matters, but of how to design in the facilities that will enable the operation to work well. Clearly, it will want to consider what the Minister said.
This is not a suggestion that the Government are in any way cavalier about security matters, but it is to take forward the thinking that has gone on to apply it to the planning process. It made the point that the facilities that it has identified as necessary do not seem, so far as it can tell, to have been taken into account in the considerable work that has already gone on. That may well be why it was prompted to raise the point with me a few days ago. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
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