Clause 1 - The Security Industry Authority

Part of Private Security Industry Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 24th April 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Minister of State, Home Office 10:45 am, 24th April 2001

That is correct. The point is what is the main employment, and therefore what is the definition of that employment. There are other Bills currently before the House, or in the other place, in which we are considering issues such as outbreaks of disorder in other circumstances. That is not germane to the key purpose of this Bill, which is to focus on people whose main employment is within the security industry.

On training, I was interested in the letter that the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald received from the trainer in Newcastle-under-Lyme. I think that it illustrated as clearly as anything could the importance of training in the process. That is why subsection (2)(e) states that a function of the authority shall be

``to set or approve standards of conduct, training and levels of supervision''.

That is key to the clause. Many argue for a much stronger and better training regime—individual Members of Parliament with experience of the matter, trade unions and many of the companies involved. We should establish what types of training are involved, both on fundamental issues such as what forms of restraint may be used in which circumstances—handcuffs have been mentioned, for example—and on how to operate generally. Consideration must be given to whether carrying a two by four is the appropriate way in which to deal with such situations.

The hon. Member for Surrey Heath referred to well-established organisations that have done a lot of work in such matters, such as the Security Industry Training Organisation, the National Security Inspectorate, the British Security Industry Association and the Joint Security Industry Council. They would be the first to say that to establish a national regime whereby standards are approved by a national body is the right way forward. The letter to which he referred emphasised the strength of the case for such action. It will be a central function of the authority.

I cannot be as helpful about the hon. Gentleman's final point as he would wish. Subsection (3) states:

``The Authority may do anything that it considers is calculated to facilitate, or is incidental or conducive to, the carrying out of any of its functions''.

That is an important responsibility of the authority. We live in a dynamic world. An example to which reference has already been made is the fact that 30 years ago the current structure of security in pubs and clubs would not have been recognisable. The industry has evolved. My right hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, South referred to the security camera. Reforms in the industry will take place because of the rapid process of change. It is an important obligation of the authority to have that responsibility under subsection (3).

We are not considering further amendments to define that provision more widely. I say in its defence that the clause is only ancillary to the SIA's function, which is why it is covered by subsection (3), not subsection (2). Its power is not that broad: it is supplementary to what else is happening. The power is important, however, for the reasons of change that I have set out. I urge the Committee to agree to the clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.