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Policing and Crime Bill - Report (2nd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:38 pm on 7th December 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen Baroness Chisholm of Owlpen Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 3:38 pm, 7th December 2016

My Lords, Section 32 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 limits police jurisdiction throughout Northern Ireland and its adjacent UK waters within the seaward limits of the territorial sea in the same manner as Section 30 of the Police Act 1996 applies in England and Wales. However, within these limits, the police do not have powers suitable for the maritime context.

The new clauses proposed in this group comprise a new Chapter 6A of Part 4 of the Bill, making provision for the police and other law enforcement in Northern Ireland to have powers corresponding to those conferred on law enforcement in England and Wales and in Scotland by virtue of Chapters 5 and 6 of Part 4. In particular, new Chapter 6A provides Northern Ireland law enforcement with maritime-specific powers, such as to stop, board, detain and divert ships for the purpose of preventing, detecting or investigating an offence under the law of Northern Ireland. Unlike the provisions in Chapters 5 and 6 of Part 4, and at the request of the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, the powers are, however, limited to ships in the territorial waters of Northern Ireland and do not extend to international or foreign waters.

There are particular policing accountability and oversight arrangements in Northern Ireland, and it has not been possible for the Department of Justice to secure the necessary agreement with relevant stakeholders within the time available for the exercise of powers by law enforcement officers from England, Wales or Scotland in Northern Ireland waters in hot-pursuit situations. Again at the request of the Minister of Justice in Northern Ireland, these amendments would remove the hot-pursuit provisions that relate to law enforcement officers from outside Northern Ireland entering Northern Ireland waters. The Northern Ireland Assembly agreed the necessary legislative consent Motion in respect of these provisions on 28 November.

I note that the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, has an amendment in this group and I propose to respond to it when winding up. For now, I beg to move.