New Schedule 1 — Criminal Record Certificates: Amendments of Part 5 of Police Act 1997

Criminal Justice Bill — [3rd Alloted Day] – in the House of Commons at 6:30 pm on 20th May 2003.

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1 The Police Act 1997 (c. 50) is amended as follows.

2 In section 112 (criminal conviction certificates), in subsection (1)(a), after "prescribed" there is inserted "manner and".

3 (1) Section 113 (criminal record certificates) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) at the beginning there is inserted "Subject to subsection (4A)",

(b) in paragraph (a), after "prescribed" there is inserted "manner and",

(c) in paragraph (b), after "pays" there is inserted "in the prescribed manner".

(3) After subsection (4) there is inserted—

"(4A) The Secretary of State may treat an application under this section as an application under section 115 if—

(a) in his opinion the certificate is required for a purpose prescribed under subsection (2) of that section,

(b) the registered person provides him with the statement required by subsection (2) of that subsection, and

(c) the applicant consents and pays to the Secretary of State the amount (if any) by which the fee payable in relation to an application under section 115 exceeds the fee paid in relation to the application under this section.".

4 (1) Section 115 (enhanced criminal record certificates) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) at the beginning there is inserted "Subject to subsection (9A),", and

(b) in paragraph (a), after "prescribed" there is inserted "manner and".

(c) in paragraph (b), after "pays" there is inserted "in the prescribed manner".

(3) In subsection (2), for paragraphs (a) to (c) there is substituted "for such purposes as may be prescribed under this subsection".

(4) Subsections (3) to (5) and subsections (6C) to (6E) are omitted.

(5) After subsection (9) there is inserted—

"(9A) The Secretary of State may treat an application under this section as an application under section 113 if in his opinion the certificate is not required for a purpose prescribed under subsection (2).

(9B) Where by virtue of subsection (9A) the Secretary of State treats an application under this section as an application under section 113, he must refund to the applicant the amount (if any) by which the fee paid in relation to the application under this section exceeds the fee payable in relation to an application under section 113."

5 In section 116 (enhanced criminal record certificates: judicial appointments and Crown employment), in subsection (2)(b), for the words from "to which" onwards there is substituted "of such description as may be prescribed".

6 (1) Section 120 (registered persons) is amended as follows.

(2) For subsection (2) there is substituted—

"(2) Subject to regulations under section 120ZA and 120AA and to section 120A the Secretary of State shall include in the register any person who—

(a) applies to him in writing to be registered,

(b) satisfies the conditions in subsections (4) to (6), and

(c) has not in the period of two years ending with the date of the application been removed from the register under section 120A or 120AA."

(3) Subsection (3) is omitted.

7 After section 120 there is inserted—

"120ZA Regulations about registration.

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make further provision about registration.

(2) Regulations under this section may in particular make provision for—

(a) the payment of fees,

(b) the information to be included in the register,

(c) the registration of any person to be subject to conditions,

(d) the nomination by—

(i) a body corporate or unincorporate, or

(ii) a person appointed to an office by virtue of any enactment,

of the individuals authorised to act for it or, as the case may be, him in relation to the countersigning of applications under this Part, and

(e) the refusal by the Secretary of State, on such grounds as may be specified in or determined under the regulations, to accept or to continue to accept the nomination of a person as so authorised.

(3) The provision which may be made by virtue of subsection (2)(c) includes provision—

(a) for the registration or continued registration of any person to be subject to prescribed conditions or, if the regulations so provide, such conditions as the Secretary of State thinks fit, and

(b) for the Secretary of State to vary or revoke those conditions.

(4) The conditions imposed by virtue of subsection (2)(c) may in particular include conditions—

(a) requiring a registered person, before he countersigns an application at an individual's request, to verify the identity of that individual in the prescribed manner,

(b) requiring an application under section 113 or 115 to be transmitted by electronic means to the Secretary of State by the registered person who countersigns it, and

(c) requiring a registered person to comply with any code of practice for the time being in force under section 122."

8 At the end of the sidenote to section 120A (refusal and cancellation of registration) there is inserted "on grounds related to disclosure".

9 After section 120A there is inserted—

"120AA Refusal, cancellation or suspension of registration on other grounds

(1) Regulations may make provision enabling the Secretary of State in prescribed cases to refuse to register a person who, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, is likely to countersign fewer applications under this Part in any period of twelve months than a prescribed minimum number.

(2) Subsection (3) applies where a registered person—

(a) is, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, no longer likely to wish to countersign applications under this Part,

(b) has, in any period of twelve months during which he was registered, countersigned fewer applications under this Part than the minimum number specified in respect of him by regulations under subsection (1), or

(c) has failed to comply with any condition of his registration.

(3) Subject to section 120AB, the Secretary of State may—

(a) suspend that person's registration for such period not exceeding 6 months as the Secretary of State thinks fit, or

(b) remove that person from the register.

120AB Procedure for cancellation or suspension under section 120AA

(1) Before cancelling or suspending a person's registration by virtue of section 120AA, the Secretary of State must send him written notice of his intention to do so.

(2) Every such notice must—

(a) give the Secretary of State's reasons for proposing to cancel or suspend the registration, and

(b) inform the person concerned of his right under subsection (3) to make representations.

(3) A person who receives such a notice may, within 21 days of service, make representations in writing to the Secretary of State as to why the registration should not be cancelled or suspended.

(4) After considering such representations, the Secretary of State must give the registered person written notice—

(a) that at the end of a further period of six weeks beginning with the date of service, the person's registration will be cancelled or suspended, or

(b) that he does not propose to take any further action.

(5) If no representations are received within the period mentioned in subsection (3) the Secretary of State may cancel or suspend the person's registration at the end of the period mentioned in that subsection.

(6) Subsection (1) does not prevent the Secretary of State from imposing on the registered person a lesser sanction than that specified in the notice under that subsection.

(7) Any notice under this section that is required to be given in writing may be given by being transmitted electronically.

(8) This section does not apply where—

(a) the Secretary of State is satisfied, in the case of a registered person other than a body, that the person has died or is incapable, by reason of physical or mental impairment, of countersigning applications under this Part, or

(b) the registered person has requested to be removed from the register.

(9) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend subsection (4)(a) by substituting for the period there specified, such other period as may be specified in the regulations."

10 After section 122 there is inserted—

"122A Delegation of functions of Secretary of State

(1) The Secretary of State may, to such extent and subject to such conditions as he thinks fit, delegate any relevant function of his under this Part to such person as he may determine.

(2) A function is relevant for the purposes of subsection (1) if it does not consist of a power—

(a) to make regulations, or

(b) to publish or revise a code of practice or to lay any such code before Parliament.

(3) A delegation under subsection (1) may be varied or revoked at any time."

11 After section 124 (offences: disclosure) there is inserted—

"124A Further offences: disclosure of information obtained in connection with delegated function

(1) Any person who is engaged in the discharge of functions conferred by this Part on the Secretary of State commits an offence if he discloses information which has been obtained by him in connection with those functions and which relates to a particular person unless he discloses the information, in the course of his duties,—

(a) to another person engaged in the discharge of those functions,

(b) to the chief officer of a police force in connection with a request under this Part to provide information to the Secretary of State, or

(c) to an applicant or registered person who is entitled under this Part to the information disclosed to him.

(2) Where information is disclosed to a person and the disclosure—

(a) is an offence under subsection (1), or

(b) would be an offence under subsection (1) but for subsection (3)(a), (d) or (e),

the person to whom the information is disclosed commits an offence if he discloses it to any other person.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure of information which is made—

(a) with the written consent of the person to whom the information relates,

(b) to a government department,

(c) to a person appointed to an office by virtue of any enactment,

(d) in accordance with an obligation to provide information under or by virtue of any enactment, or

(e) for some other purpose specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State.

(4) A person who is guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, or to both."

12 In section 125 (regulations)—

(a) subsection (3) is omitted, and

(b) in subsection (4), the words "to which subsection (3) does not apply" are omitted.'—[Paul Goggins.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.