|Criminal Justice and Police Bill
Mr. Heald: I realise that the Home Secretary will be consulted on the matter, but if the body that the Minister describes will be non-departmental, why should the Home Secretary determine what the curriculum is? If the body is composed of stakeholders in the policethe Association of Police Authorities, the Association of Chief Police Officers and possibly the Police Superintendents Associationwhy should the Home Secretary say what the curriculum is?
Mr. Clarke: First, the role of setting the curriculum is different from that of providing the training. Secondly, the core curriculum will be established by the Home Secretary on the basis of advice from the service as a whole, from across the range. Thirdlythis is not a criticism of the existing state of affairs or that which we inheritedto achieve the ambition, stated by the hon. Gentleman, of having an entrepreneurial, active and non-committee-driven approach to the provision of training. Giving that role to the Home Secretary will strengthen and develop that approach.
With that, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will consider withdrawing his amendment, and that the Committee will agree that the clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Heald: The Minister has gone a good way towards satisfying my concerns. I want to think over some of the points that he has made. He may also wish to reflect on exactly what kind of body he is setting up. If the body is designed to represent the interests of police authorities, ACPO and so forth, if police forces are independent bodies and the training organisation will be independent, it is odd that the Home Secretary should intervene. It is good that there will be plenty of consultation, but I hope that the Minister will reflect on the matter and ensure, should the police training authority go ahead, that the training authority is the body that makes decisions.
Mr. Clarke: I make a small point, which may help. The new chief executive was appointed through the tripartite structure, not directly by the Home Secretary, although he finally approved the appointment. Since then, a number of events have introduced the new chief executive to all sections of the service, including the Police Federation. The whole way in which we intend to conduct the matter is in precisely the spirit that the hon. Gentleman describes.
Mr. Heald: I am grateful to the Minister. Basically, if an operation is entrepreneurial, one would normally expect those involved to say what needs to be learned. The Minister may have gone far enough to satisfy me. I will think about that, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Heald: The Police Federation has raised a question that is slightly different to the point made by the Minister. It says:
Mr. Clarke: I agree, and there is no intention of doing that. However, training for the many civilians in the police service is important. Once the Private Security Industry Bill receives Royal Assent, as I hope it will once it comes here from the other place, I imagine that such services will be developed.
The hon. Gentleman is right to say that the priority of the organisation is proper training for the police. A personal preoccupation of mine is the importance of developing police training side by side with that of members of other professions, such as lawyers and social workers. A weakness of current training systems is that different professionals work in similar areas but have different training, and in some areas, joint training is important.
The authority is required to provide training to officers; other trainees are provided for on a business-case basis. That requirement provides the priority to which the hon. Gentleman referred.
Mr. Heald: That is helpful. Are joint qualifications for joint training proposed for particular professions? The structure involved is much greater than we have discussed so far. The proposals suggest particular qualifications for police officers, including basic skills and academic qualifications. Three are proposed. Is that package of three qualifications to be jointly worked with other professions? Is the Minister saying that academic training might be combined with that for the CPS, for example? It is hard to envisage who might jointly train for some of the core curriculum subjects detailed in the briefing note, but civilian staff and the police could work together on some issues. Perhaps the Minister could explain what is meant.
Mr. Clarke: I just want to confirm the priorities for the police. It will take a long time, but developing joint training has benefits. However, joint qualifications are rather more complicated and would require a lot of consultation and consent. Nevertheless, I would not rule them out, as they would be positive. However, the first requirement is to put in place a framework that will work, and that is what the Bill will do.
Mr. Heald: The Minister provided some assurance on the point made by the Police Federation, and we do not intend to vote against the clause. However, perhaps he would consider Mr. Moseley's pointhe may want to write to me about the matter in detailabout ensuring that basic training takes priority over anything additional and exciting from the private sector.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 87 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
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