Amendment 142

Domestic Abuse Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 8 February 2021.

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Baroness Bertin:

Moved by Baroness Bertin

142: Schedule 2, page 64, line 37, leave out paragraph (b)

Photo of Baroness Bertin Baroness Bertin Conservative

My Lords, as a member of the Joint Committee that undertook pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft domestic abuse Bill, I know that the extraterritorial jurisdiction provisions of the Bill are intended to fulfil the UK’s obligations under Article 44 of the Istanbul convention. I welcome the fact that these provisions will bring the UK closer to ratifying a convention that we signed in 2012 and which will protect women and girls from violence and abuse.

My amendments concern a very specific issue—marital rape—where I believe the Bill as presently drafted may leave a potential loophole. I recognise that the drafting of the amendments may itself be imperfect, and my noble friend the Minister will no doubt speak to that, but I would like to explore whether the Bill could be strengthened so that people from this country cannot exploit laxer laws elsewhere.

In this country, the common-law presumption of a marital exemption from the offence of rape was overturned by your Lordships’ House in the case of R v R in 1991. Some countries similarly do not have any exemption for marital rape, and in others marital rape is explicitly criminalised, but there is a small minority of countries in which marital rape is not illegal. As drafted, the Bill appears to require that a prosecution for rape and other sexual offences committed against adult victims outside the UK may be brought in the UK only when the offending behaviour is also an offence in the country where it happens, but that requirement could prevent us prosecuting someone for marital rape committed outside the UK, if such behaviour is not included in or is exempt from the equivalent offence in the other jurisdiction.

This may be a small gap. I certainly hope that there would not be many, if any, cases of marital rape perpetrated by a UK person in a country that does not consider such behaviour to be a crime, but I believe that, if there is potential for this to occur, we should act to prevent it. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Paddick Lord Paddick Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

My Lords, Section 72 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it an offence, in England and Wales, for a UK national or resident to commit sexual offences against children outside the UK, in an effort to clamp down on so-called sex tourism. Paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to this Bill makes it an offence, in England and Wales, for a UK national or resident to commit sexual offences, under Sections 1 to 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, against people aged 18 or over at the time of the offence, extending extraterritoriality to serious sexual offences against adults as well as children.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, has explained, the idea is to ensure that the Government comply with the Istanbul convention but, as she pointed out, for somebody to commit an offence, it has to be an offence not only in this country but in the country where the offence took place; in some of those countries, marital rape may not be criminalised. Therefore, I believe that the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, has identified a potential loophole. I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say in response.

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing)

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Bertin, for tabling these amendments and spotting this loophole in the Bill. It is good to have this debate today. As she has said, marital rape can happen in a country where it is not illegal locally, and we would then not be able to prosecute the offence here in the UK. Nobody in this Committee wants that situation. I hope the Government will confirm that they either accept her amendments, or accept that she has identified a very serious loophole and bring in their own amendments on Report.

Photo of Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My Lords, my noble friend Lady Bertin has, as she has explained, tabled an amendment which seeks to ensure that UK citizens who commit marital rape in countries where such behaviour is not criminal may be prosecuted in the UK. Such countries are thankfully in the minority. We of course want to prevent any exploitation of more lax laws on marital rape elsewhere.

I hope that the Committee will allow me a moment to put these amendments into context so that we can understand the legal architecture that we are talking about. Schedule 2 contains amendments to various enactments to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction over certain offences under the law of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Together with provisions in the Domestic Abuse and Family Proceedings Bill currently before the Northern Ireland Assembly—it gives extraterritorial effect to the new domestic abuse offence in Northern Ireland—and Clauses 66 and 67, it ensures that the UK complies with the jurisdiction requirements of Article 44 of the Istanbul convention. That article requires the UK to be able to prosecute criminal conduct set out in the convention when that conduct is committed outside the UK by one of our nationals or by a person who is habitually resident here. Part 1 of the schedule covers England and Wales and deals with cases under Sections 1 to 4 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, where the victim of the offence is aged 18 or over. Parts 2 and 3 cover Scotland and Northern Ireland on a corresponding basis.

In keeping with the normal principles of extraterritorial jurisdiction, there is a requirement that a prosecution for one of the relevant sexual offences—which includes rape—may be brought in the UK only where the offending behaviour is also an offence in the country where it happens. That is called dual criminality, which respects the notion that generally it is inappropriate for the criminal law of state A to be applied to conduct that occurs in state B where that conduct does not offend the law of state B. In most circumstances, the dual criminality requirement is not a barrier to prosecution because serious sexual offences against adults are likely to be criminal in most other countries. However, it could mean that, in some circumstances, UK authorities would not be able to prosecute someone for a marital rape committed outside the UK if such behaviour is not included in or exempt from the equivalent offence in the other jurisdiction. As it stands, the Bill applies a dual criminality requirement for the relevant sexual offences committed outside the UK by UK nationals and UK residents. My noble friend’s amendment would remove the dual criminality requirement for UK nationals, but not for UK residents. As explained by my noble friend, and by the noble Lords, Lord Paddick and Lord Kennedy of Southwark, the effect of this would be that the UK could prosecute UK nationals who commit marital rape against adult victims in countries where such behaviour is not criminal, but could prosecute UK residents who commit marital rape of adult victims abroad only if the behaviour is also criminal in the country where it is committed.

In principle, that is the right approach, as the link to the UK is stronger where the offending behaviour is perpetrated outside the UK by a UK national, rather than by a non-UK national ordinarily resident in the UK. Existing law already makes that distinction with regard to extraterritorial sexual offences where the victim is under 18. The amendments extend only to England and Wales and, as my noble friend identified, one would need to alter the drafting if they were to go further. However, I do not want to focus on the drafting issue. I am grateful to her for raising this important issue and possible lacuna in the Bill. Marital rape is abhorrent behaviour, and I agree that we should consider carefully the case for amending the Bill to cater for it. But—it is an important but—as the extraterritoriality jurisdiction provisions are UK-wide, we need first to consult the devolved Administrations to ensure a consistent approach across the UK. To that end, I respectfully invite my noble friend to withdraw her amendment on the clear understanding that we will give this matter serious and sympathetic consideration ahead of Report.

Photo of Baroness Bertin Baroness Bertin Conservative 3:45, 8 February 2021

I thank the noble Lords, Lord Kennedy and Lord Paddick, for their very thoughtful remarks, and for their support on this amendment. It is a very small gap, but I think it worth plugging none the less. I thank the Minister for his thorough and illuminating remarks, from which I learned quite a bit. I am pleased that they were very warm words as well, and I thank him for his consideration of this amendment. I look forward to further conversations and some progress, I hope. It has been a refreshingly short debate, and I will keep it so. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 142 withdrawn.

Amendments 143 and 144 not moved.

Schedule 2 agreed.

Amendment 145 not moved.

Photo of Baroness Henig Baroness Henig Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, we now come to the group beginning with the question that Clause 69 stand part of the Bill. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or the amendment in this group to a Division must make that clear in debate.

Clause 69: Polygraph conditions for offenders released on licence

Debate on whether Clause 69 should stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Justice)

My Lords, opposition to clauses standing part of a Bill usually arises out of outright opposition, and in my case I said at Second Reading that I shared the view of my noble friend Lady Burt that polygraph testing on the present state of the technology has no place in our criminal justice system. The basic response of most lawyers to polygraph testing is to oppose its use in a criminal context precisely because there is no firm evidence of its reliability. We tend to the view, which I am sure the Minister understands, that a system of evaluating evidence whose reliability is not assured and produces essentially binary results—true or false—is inherently inimical to the approach of common-law lawyers used to a carefully balanced system of gathering, testing, and evaluating evidence.

However, my perception of polygraph testing has now become somewhat more nuanced. A major contributor to a shift in my view was an excellent teach-in organised by the Ministry of Justice last Thursday, very well presented by Heather Sutton, senior policy adviser on polygraphs and sexual offending, and Professor Don Grubin, emeritus professor of forensic psychiatry at Newcastle University. They gave a number of noble Lords a comprehensive outline of the way in which polygraph testing is used in the management of offenders subject to recall from licence under existing legislation. For my part, I have no experience of the use of polygraph testing, and no expertise on the subject. Opposition to its use as part of this Bill was canvassed in another place by my honourable friend Daisy Cooper MP. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalk MP, provided a detailed and helpful response to a number of questions which she raised. As a result of his answers and what we were told on Thursday, I accept that there may be some force—subject to a number of questions—to the argument that there is a legitimate place for the use of polygraph testing in necessary cases, where its purpose is to avoid serious harm.

I add one particular proviso, among others, that evidence of polygraph testing must never be relied on as part of the evidence in a criminal case until its reliability is far more conclusively established than it is now. However, as I understood it, we were assured last Thursday—I would be grateful for confirmation of this from the Dispatch Box—that no decisions on recalls from licence can be taken as a result of a test indicating deception. If the result of a test implies that an offender is lying about a breach of a licence condition or about further offences, for example, investigators will ask the police to look further to see what the truth is before taking any positive action. There is therefore no recall, as I understand it, on the basis of a failed test, which will lead only to recall if the police find other evidence establishing that a breach has occurred.

However, I have some concerns about cases where an offender makes a disclosure in a polygraph test confessing to behaviour that is a dangerous breach and might therefore be recalled. It is important in such cases that the veracity or genuineness of the disclosure and its voluntariness can be thoroughly tested before any recall can take place. Our understanding was that such a disclosure would be followed generally by a hearing before a recall was confirmed, but again I seek confirmation of that.

This is genuinely a probing amendment. It is for that reason that our stand part opposition is coupled with Amendment 191, through which I advocate regulations to prevent Clause 69 being brought into force before such a scheme is piloted. I note that the Government propose to pilot these provisions before rolling them out. However, we ask that regulations bringing Clause 69 into force are not made permanent before Parliament has had an opportunity to consider a report from the Government on that pilot and has agreed to regulations being made permanent under that clause.

I appreciate that polygraph testing is used already in the case of high-risk sexual offenders to manage compliance with licence conditions and that it is included in the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill for monitoring terrorist offenders released on licence. As I understand Clause 69 of this Bill, testing will be imposed on adult high-risk offenders who are convicted of serious offences involving domestic abuse, including coercive or controlling behaviour in the domestic context, breaches of restraining orders and of a domestic abuse protection order, who have been sentenced to at least 12 months’ imprisonment. I understand that its application will be limited to offenders released on licence and to monitoring their compliance with licence conditions. However, I understand that it is also proposed to include on a discretionary basis offenders for whom concerns about the risk of reoffending would justify mandatory testing to manage risks posed by the offender to the community.

I pose a number of questions to the Minister in connection with that and other issues. Is there a cast-iron guarantee that the results of polygraph testing carried out under the clause could not be used to secure convictions for a criminal offence? To what extent could an offender be recalled from licence on the basis of a polygraph test in which he made disclosure of a breach of condition of his licence? What would be the procedure for such a recall? What is the effect of a breach of polygraph licensing conditions to be? Could evidence of such a breach be itself based on a failed polygraph test? What are the Government’s proposals for piloting in respect of polygraph tests in connection with monitoring compliance with licensing conditions in domestic abuse cases? Will there be a report of any such pilots back to Parliament? Will Parliament have an opportunity to consider the question of polygraph testing before the regulations make it permanent?

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Immigration)

My Lords, this is not the only Bill currently in your Lordships’ House that seeks to extend the use of polygraphs. I am not surprised that lawyers and what I have learned in another Bill to call operational partners have different starting points in their attitudes and expectations of polygraphs. My position is similar to that of my noble friend.

Given that we have more than one Bill proposing to introduce polygraph conditions, is this indicative of a policy change on the part of the Government, with wider use of polygraphs—perhaps wider than just these two Bills? If so, what consultation and evaluation has there been? I appreciate that it is intended that there will be a pilot of the use under this Bill, which my noble friend seeks to be absolutely sure about in Amendment 191.

Last week, during Committee on the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Bill, I asked about consultation with the probation service with regard to the balance between periods of custody and licence—a different point. I have now received a letter from the Advocate-General for Scotland, for which I am grateful, which, inter alia, said:

The Probation Service is not normally consulted in respect of the creation of new custodial sentences or their licence periods.”

It is, of course, the licence period in which I am interested.

I have a similar question about consultation on the use of polygraphs during the licence period. The provisions preclude evidential use. As I understand it—the Minister will correct me if I am wrong—their purpose is to discourage reoffending. I have said before that I would prefer to put effort into training probation officers in spotting small signs of what is the truth, what is editing the facts and what are porkies.

The Home Office fact sheet published in conjunction with the Bill refers to eligibility criteria as if there are criteria beyond what is in the Offender Management Act and the Bill. Another question is whether there are additional criteria. It also refers to high-risk perpetrators. Does that mean more than the custodial sentence, as provided by the Act? Does it mean more than repeat offences? Can the Minister say something about the assessment tools in arriving at the conclusion that someone is high risk?

The Home Office factsheet refers to risk as a test. The briefing last week to which my noble friend referred was very interesting and informative, and clearly those involved with the current use of polygraphs on sex offenders are enthusiastic—one would have expected that. But we were told that, in the US, historically there has been some inappropriate or, one could say, dodgy use. I was interested that the accreditation was to standards set by the American Polygraph Association. Given that our legal systems are not identical, has the Minister any comment on that?

I had understood that it was not possible actually to fail a test, because the examinations are used to point probation officers to an offender’s possible actions and behaviours, but that term is also used in the fact sheet, where it refers to “sanctions for failing”. One step available is the imposition of additional licence conditions. My noble friend mentioned DAPOs, or domestic abuse prevention orders. Can a polygraph test be used to prompt an investigation as to whether a DAPO or, indeed, a domestic abuse prevention notice, has been complied with before custody? Can a court dealing with a DAPO require a polygraph?

I suppose that one could summarise our attitude to Clause 69 as positive but remaining to be completely convinced—so possibly somewhere between yes and no.

Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 4:00, 8 February 2021

I call the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon. We do not seem to have him, so we will go on to the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy of Southwark.

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing)

My Lords, the opposition to Clause 69 standing part, and Amendment 191, both in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, have enabled us to debate the whole issue of mandatory polygraph tests, and the fact that such tests could be made a licence condition for domestic abuse offenders.

I certainly want to see effective action taken against offenders, and effective punishments given to them. I have some concerns about the use of the polygraph test. If we rely on it further and further, it should be piloted in the way set out in Amendment 191, and we must be convinced of its reliability. As the noble Lord set out in his amendment, a report evaluating the trials must then be laid before Parliament and debated and a positive resolution passed by both Houses. I have had no involvement in this technology and I have no understanding of it—apart from what I have seen on television—so I believe that we must be very careful to get this right.

I was concerned by the comment made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, which seemed to suggest that we would not have our own standards but would import them from another country—America. I would much rather that as a country we had our own standards, in which we had confidence, than import them from elsewhere. But polygraph testing is not widely used in this country and before we go much further, we need to be confident that it is reliable, and an effective and useful tool in the management of offenders.

Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, shall we see if we have the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris, on the call? I do not think we do, sadly, in which case I call the Minister.

Photo of Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, seeks to strike out—alone among the clauses in the Bill—Clause 69. I will endeavour to persuade him, and the rest of the Committee, that this clause, like others, can play an important part in protecting victims of domestic abuse. Right at the start, however, I join the noble Lord, Lord Marks, and the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, in thanking those at the MoJ who provided the presentation made to them. This was a very good example of how that sort of interaction—what one might call a learning session—can help everyone when we debate these matters in Committee.

Clause 69 allows the Secretary of State for Justice to introduce mandatory polygraph examinations as a licence condition for offenders convicted of a relevant domestic abuse-related offence. The relevant offences have included, until now: murder, specified violent offences, and the controlling or coercive behaviour offences set out in the Serious Crime Act 2015.

Polygraph examinations are already successfully used in the management of sexual offenders supervised by the National Probation Service. The clause extends the use of testing to include—in response to the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee—high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators: those who have been released from custody having served a sentence of 12 months or more and are on licence.

The polygraph testing is used to monitor an offender’s compliance with other licence conditions, such as those restricting contact with their victim, requiring the offender to notify the probation officer when they form new relationships, or prohibiting entry into an exclusion zone; for example, around their victim’s home. It is also used to monitor dynamic risk factors such as alcohol or substance misuse.

I will try to respond to a number of questions asked by the noble Lord, Lord Marks, but if I miss any out, I undertake to write to him after reviewing the Official Report.

The policy underpinning these provisions does not allow offenders to be recalled to custody for failing a test. I use the word “fail” being cognisant of the fact that, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, we are not talking here about failing in the normal sense of the word. Indeed, I think the noble Baroness explained her approach to polygraphs as being somewhere between a yes and a no; that might be applicable to the polygraph itself. The clause does, however, enable offenders to be recalled for making disclosures during testing which, when considered with other evidence, suggest that the risk can no longer be managed in the community.

The offender can also be recalled to custody if he or she refuses to take the test or tries to trick it in some way; for example, by controlling their breathing. However, in response to the questions put to me, I draw the Committee’s attention to the fact that disclosures made voluntarily by the offender during the polygraph examination may reveal that they can no longer be safely managed in the community. Those circumstances would also lead to a return to custody. The important point to bear in mind in that regard is that that is no different from a situation in which an offender makes such disclosures without the polygraph licence condition.

Polygraph testing can be required as part of the licence conditions imposed on an offender following their release from custody. It can be imposed only where it is deemed necessary and proportionate to the risk posed. Importantly, in its report on the draft Bill the Joint Committee did not object in principle to extending polygraph testing to domestic abuse offenders; it sought assurance on two issues.

First, it sought an absolute assurance that no statement or data derived from a polygraph test would be used in criminal proceedings. The Joint Committee acknowledged that this appeared to be the effect of the draft Bill. In that regard, the provision in Clause 69 must be viewed alongside the existing provisions relating to polygraph testing in the Offender Management Act 2007. Section 30 of that Act provides unequivocally that any statement or any physiological reaction made by an offender during the polygraph session may not be used in criminal proceedings in which that person is a defendant.

To be clear, however, this does not preclude information derived from a polygraph examination being shared with the police, who may decide to use the information to conduct further inquiries. If, as a result of those inquiries, the police obtain other evidence that suggests that an offence has been committed, charges may be brought against the offender.

The second concern raised by the Joint Committee was that polygraph testing should not become a substitute for careful risk analysis—a point that, I think, was also made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. I assure the Committee that the use of polygraph examinations will not replace any other risk assessment tools or measures, such as the multiagency public protection arrangements—MAPPA—but will provide an additional source of information that would not otherwise be available.

The evaluation of the pilot mandatory polygraph testing for sexual offenders concluded that offender managers found polygraph testing very helpful. To date, 5,000 tests of that type have been carried out on 2,249 offenders, and 1,449 tests have resulted in the offenders making significant disclosures that led to either a refined risk management plan or recall to custody.

With regard to the qualifications of those carrying out the examinations, I assure the Committee that they are carried out by qualified and experienced probation officers who have completed three months’ residential training to become accredited polygraph examiners, and all polygraph examinations are quality assured by an independent external provider.

However, while the use of polygraph examinations is tried and tested, as I have said, in the context of the management of sex offenders, the Government accept that domestic abuse perpetrators represent a different cohort of offender. That is why we are committed to piloting the provisions in Clause 69. I draw the Committee’s attention to the commencement provisions in Clause 79, which expressly provides for such piloting; we will begin this as soon as is practicable after Royal Assent.

We intend to run a three-year pilot in the north of England, involving about 600 offenders. Half will be subject to testing and half—the control or comparison group—will not. The Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, will conduct an independent evaluation of the pilot, and only if the results were positive would we roll out testing across England and Wales. In response to the specific question put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Marks, in conjunction with his Amendment 191, I am happy to commit that the Government will lay a copy of the evaluation report before both Houses prior to any decision on wider rollout, enabling noble Lords to consider the findings in full. I hope that that is helpful in response to his question.

Given the benefits that we have seen with the use of polygraph testing to help us to manage the risk posed by convicted sex offenders, I apprehend that the noble Lord, Lord Marks, now sees the merit, at least in principle, of analysing the question of whether we can use the same procedure with regard to serious domestic abuse perpetrators. Indeed, last week, we heard calls for the more efficient and effective use of technology to protect victims of domestic abuse—Clause 69 does just that.

With the repetition of the point that I will go through the Official Report, because there may be one or two questions that I have not directly answered but which deserve and will get a written answer from me, I invite the noble Lord to withdraw his challenge to Clause 69, which I commend to the Committee.

Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, I am afraid that we have had no luck getting in contact with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris, so I call the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames.

Photo of Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Justice)

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lords who have spoken in this debate and to the Minister for his careful response. I echo both his thanks to those in his department who organised the learning session last week and his view that it sets a good example; it would be very good to hear more often from experts in the department—particularly about the use of technology, where Members of this House perhaps have less expertise than they do in other legal areas.

My noble friend Lady Hamwee asked a number of questions, some of which were answered by the Minister. I am not sure that he addressed the question of what is meant by, and what the criteria are for, “high-risk” perpetrators. She also wanted to know what exactly is meant by “failing” a test; I understand, as did the Minister, the concept of evaluating a test, but there is a problem with our general understanding of results of polygraph tests as binary and with the use of the term “failed test”, which frequently figures in discussions around this issue. Given his echo of the description of answers as “somewhere between yes and no”, as expressed by my noble friend Lady Hamwee, the Minister clearly appreciated that these tests cannot provide definitive answers. Will he and others give consideration to how far they should be treated as more indicative than binary?

I am less concerned about the use of information, as described by the Minister, that is derived from polygraph testing and used to submit information to the police for further investigation, which would then come up with real evidence. I am, however, a little concerned about recall based on disclosures. I understand the point that there is some similarity between disclosures that arise as a result not of polygraph testing but of, for instance, discussions with probation officers; however, I still think that there need to be safeguards. The Minister may like to consider those and put out some guidance as to how they are to be dealt with.

I join my noble friend Lady Hamwee and the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, in questioning how far it is appropriate to use US systems of accreditation for testing in this country. I take the point that there is proper training for polygraph operators in this country, but I am not sure that the Minister answered the point about the origin of the accreditation system.

I understand what the Minister said about piloting and the role of Parliament in considering polygraph testing. I understand that he will lay a report on the rollout before Parliament so that it can consider it, but I would like to know if it is proposed that there will be further regulations before the clause and system are made permanent, which will need parliamentary approval—perhaps he could tell us that in due course. However, on the basis of what he has said, I withdraw my opposition to the Question that Clause 69 stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 4:15, 8 February 2021

My Lords, I regret to say that I have had a late request to speak after the Minister from the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. I apologise: there is often a delay when the clerk sends a message to the Woolsack. I call the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee.

Photo of Baroness Hamwee Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Immigration)

Thank you. I apologise for throwing the proceedings. I have just received an email saying that I am about to be called.

My question concerns how the Minister dealt with the fact that information—I hesitate to use the term “evidence”—obtained during a test cannot be used as evidence in legal proceedings. It has only just occurred to me that, of course, family proceedings in particular—as well as civil proceedings—are very important in respect of domestic abuse. I am unclear as to the status of what is learned during a polygraph test for family proceedings. If the Minister cannot answer that now, could he add it to the questions that he will reply to after today?

Photo of Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Lord Wolfson of Tredegar The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

My Lords, it might be most efficient for me to do just that. I will add it to the list of questions and respond in writing.

Clause 69 agreed.

Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, we now come to the group consisting of Amendment 146. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate and that anyone wishing to press this amendment to a Division must make that clear in debate.

Clause 70: Guidance about the disclosure of information by police forces