Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Amendment) Order 2005

– in the House of Lords at 3:12 pm on 9th December 2005.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip 3:12 pm, 9th December 2005

rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 23 November be approved [11th Report from the Joint Committee].

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip

My Lords, I promise that this opening will not be quite as long as that for the previous order. The order amending the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and other legislation that was amended by that Act was seen and cleared by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments on 30 November. The order, subject to the approval of this House and the other place, will come into force on 1 January next year.

The amendments cover the number of typographical and drafting errors in the original Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and other legislation which needs to be amended before the provisions come into effect. Articles 2 to 5 of the order cover drafting amendments correcting minor errors including in Section 179 of the 2005 Act which relates to the Short Title and extent of the Act, and entries in the repeals and revocations of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the 2005 Act.

The amendments to Section 179 extend Section 56 of the 2005 Act, which provides for the application of discrimination legislation to the Serious Organised Crime Agency seconded staff to Scotland and Northern Ireland. In so far as these amendments relate to Scotland, we have already consulted Scottish Ministers in accordance with Section 173 and I can report that they are content.

The amendments also provide clarity on drafting and correct an inaccurate reference relating to Part V of the Police Act 1997. The first change simply inserts words omitted in error from the text of the Act, so that it is accurate and clear. The second correction changes the amendment to the Police Act 1997 so that it refers to the correct subsection of that legislation. Identical amendments will be made by order by Scottish Ministers as matters relating to the operation of the CRB are devolved.

Sections 113 and 114 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 will amend the search warrant provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Noble Lords should already be aware of the changes to PACE, which are due to come into effect as I have set out earlier. These relate to "specific premises" and "all premises" warrants and their associated safeguards.

Since the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 received Royal Assent, it has come to light that the current drafting of the amendments to PACE will inadvertently render all non-PACE warrants unlawful. All warrants, regardless of their legal base, must comply with the conditions in Sections 15 and 16 of PACE. As currently drafted, Section 15 requires all warrants to comply with the conditions for specific premises and all premises warrants.

Search warrants under other legislation, such as Section 26 of the Theft Act 1968 and Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 can apply only to a single premises, and therefore it is impossible for these warrants to comply with the conditions in Section 15 of PACE. It was always the intention to retain the ability for the police to apply for warrants under other legislation. The amendments in Articles 7 and 8 of this order will correct this drafting error so that the conditions for "specific premises" and "all premises" warrants apply only to this type of warrant.

I have outlined the amendments and the changes and corrections that the amendments make in terms of typographical and drafting errors to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005, and I commend the order to the House.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 23 November be approved [11th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)

Photo of Viscount Bridgeman Viscount Bridgeman Spokespersons In the Lords, (Assisted By Shadow Law Officers), Spokespersons In the Lords, Northern Ireland, Deputy Chief Whip, Whips

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that explanation. Had not the primary SOCO legislation been rushed through both Houses, as, indeed, it was, these drafting and typographical amendments might not have been necessary. But we support the order.

Photo of Lord Dholakia Lord Dholakia Deputy Leader, House of Lords, Spokesperson in the Lords, Home Affairs

My Lords, these are mainly typographical errors. They need to be corrected. We are content.

Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Government Whip, Government Whip

My Lords, I am grateful to both noble Lords. The noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, makes the telling and killing point.

On Question, Motion agreed to.