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Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:18 pm on 6th April 2005.

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Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State (Criminal Justice System and Law Reform), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management) 6:18 pm, 6th April 2005

My Lords, this is an important amendment that will allow SOCA to be included in the provisions that exempt police, fire and ambulance vehicles from speed limits, where it is necessary in pursuit of their functions. Section 87 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, which makes that exemption, will not automatically extend to SOCA as the agency will not be a police body pursuing police purposes. Noble Lords may recognise that similar provisions were included in the Road Safety Bill. They have therefore enjoyed previous scrutiny and debate. However, as that Bill will not receive Royal Assent in the current session, it is essential that we make provision for that exemption in the SOCA Bill. There are safeguards inherent in the amendment that will limit the exemption to SOCA staff who are carrying out the purposes of the agency and those who are undergoing training to do so. Furthermore, the exemption covers only those vehicles driven by someone who has had training to drive at high speeds. With those considerations, I invite noble Lords to accept the amendment. I beg to move.