Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:13 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Rogan Lord Rogan UUP 11:13 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 77, I should like to speak also to Amendment No. 78. These amendments are of a pragmatic nature. Together, they would remove the detailed provisions that dictate the procedure for calling a meeting to discuss the possibility of initiating an inquiry. Surely, the details should be related to the meeting at which the decision to initiate an inquiry is taken. The current elaborate procedures in the Bill are totally impractical and place an unnecessary fetter on the ability of the board to call for reports and inquiries. It is the power to call for reports and inquiries which enables the board to hold others to account and thus creates transparency in policing.

I suggest that a safeguard is already provided, in that a substantial number of board members must approve an inquiry before it is initiated. What is the value of that unnecessary and bureaucratic red tape? I urge noble Lords to embrace a pragmatic approach to the procedures by adopting the two amendments and creating a situation in which it is feasible for the board, where necessary, to call for that report or inquiry. I beg to move.