|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), which is currently part of the Home Office, will be placed on an independent statutory footing on 1 April in accordance with Part I of the Police Act 1997. NCIS will continue to have a United Kingdom-wide remit. The National Crime Squad will be created on 1 April in accordance with Part II of the Police Act 1997 and will replace the six existing Regional Crime Squads in England and Wales. The accountability arrangements for both services are similar to those for police forces. Each will be maintained by a service authority performing the same role as a police authority for a police force.
NCIS and the National Crime Squad will both be under the direction and control of a director general holding the rank of chief constable. In recognition of their operational independence, noble Lords may wish to write to the directors general if they have any questions or concerns about the operations or day to day management of NCIS or the National Crime Squad. The Director General of NCIS is Mr. John Abbott QPM, NCIS, PO Box 8000, London SE11 5EN. The Director General of the National Crime Squad is Mr. Roy Penrose OBE QPM, National Crime Squad, PO Box 2500, London SW1V 2WF.
The service authorities will be responsible for securing that NCIS and the National Crime Squad are efficient and effective. They will provide strategic direction and oversight, leaving the day to day management of NCIS and the National Crime Squad to
I will answer Parliamentary Questions and ministerial correspondence about NCIS and the National Crime Squad on the same basis as for police forces. I will, of course, deal with any questions about the exercise of the Secretary of State's powers or responsibilities in relation to the two services or wider policy issues. If such questions relate solely to the activities of NCIS in Scotland or Northern Ireland, it may be appropriate for Lord Sewel or Lord Dubs to respond. Where other general information is sought, I shall provide it if available. I shall usually reply that questions about how the service authorities or the directors general exercise their specific responsibilities are for those bodies or individuals to answer.
I will write to the noble Lords, Lords Richard, Cranborne, Rodgers and Weatherill to set out these arrangements. A copy of my letter will be placed in the Library, together with copies of the first service plans for NCIS and the National Crime Squad.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: With the implementation, on 1 April 1998, of the remaining provisions of Part IV of the Police Act 1997, the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO), hitherto part of the Home Office, will become an executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). As an NDPB, PITO will henceforth be independent of the Home Office, although as the responsible Minister, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary will be accountable to Parliament for the overall efficiency and effectiveness with which the organisation carries out its statutory functions.
In recognition of PITO's new independent status, noble Lords are invited to write direct to the Organisation's Chairman, Sir Trefor Morris, if they have any questions or concerns about the information technology or procurement activities undertaken by PITO on behalf of the police service or other customers, or about its administration. Sir Trefor's address is: Police Information Technology Organisation, Room 504, Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London SW1P 2AW.
I will continue to be responsible for answering parliamentary Questions in your Lordships' House, unless they relate solely to PITO's activities in Scotland, in which case my noble friend Lord Sewel would be responsible. Advice on the administration and/or activities of PITO may be sought from the organisation in order to answer parliamentary Questions. Where a
Turning to ministerial correspondence, if either the Home Secretary or I, or our Scottish Office counterparts, receive correspondence from noble Lords about matters which fall within PITO's area of responsibilities, we will normally reply to the effect that the correspondence has been forwarded to the Chairman with a request that he replies personally to the noble Lord concerned. Noble Lords will continue to receive a full ministerial reply where the correspondence involves wider policy considerations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): As we anticipated in the explanatory memorandum that I submitted on 30 September 1997 (9734/97), there are a number of key issues that have emerged from the proposals for the directive. There are fears that the proposals are design restrictive and could lead to the eventual removal from the market of certain types of vehicle widely used in the UK. There are also concerns that the technical provisions for safety and accessibility are not acceptable.
Discussions and negotiations on the draft are currently taking place in Council Working Group. The UK, during its Presidency, is giving the proposal high priority and is making every effort to make progress towards agreement on an acceptable text. Adoption of a common position may be possible by the end of the year.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|