Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:30 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton Government Whip 8:30 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, I speak to Amendments Nos. 30 and 30A. Under Clause 22, before issuing or revising a local policing plan the police district commander must consult the local DPP and take account of any views expressed. Amendment No. 30, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Molyneaux, which is identical to one tabled in Committee, would oblige the police district commander also to consult any local consultative groups set up under Clause 23(2). The majority of such groups, if not all, should be established under subsection (1). It may be that the amendment is intended also to cover that. Notwithstanding that, we do not believe that the police should have to deal with DPPs and all the local bodies set up by the board or DPPs. We believe that the DPPs should co-ordinate the views of the latter; and, as we said in Committee, if the board is convinced that that is the right way forward it can include such an arrangement in its code. The code can cover the arrangements for monitoring the performance of the police in carrying out the local policing plan. With that assurance, I hope that the noble Lord does not feel it necessary to press Amendment No. 30.

I turn to Amendment No. 30A. I am happy to be able to reassure the noble Lord that the Bill does not prevent police consultation outside DPPs or other arrangements made under Clause 23. The Bill simply seeks to establish a framework for accountability and formal consultation as recommended by Patten. Therefore, there is nothing to prevent police consultation as envisaged by the amendment; otherwise, it would be impossible even for noble Lords to be consulted. I hope that, with that assurance, the noble Lord, Lord Molyneaux, will not pursue that amendment.