Clause 19 - Powers of entry and inspection

Private Security Industry Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 1st May 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Bruce George Bruce George Labour, Walsall South

I should like some advice. While the Committee has so far lost 22-0 in terms of amendments proposed and accepted, the House of Lords did fractionally better. One of the few amendments that it secured was the nonsense in clause 19(3) that inspections can be undertaken only at a ``reasonable hour''. Bearing in mind that we are discussing some of the biggest rogues in the kingdom, if we want to bust them by inspecting their premises to see whether they are doing anything illegal and whether they are undertaking the task that they said that they would, the idea that only a visit at a reasonable hour will be permitted is absolute nonsense. I cannot see how, out of all the amendments that were submitted by their noble lordships, that piece of stupidity managed to slip through the system.

My next point—although I doubt whether I shall be able to make it—is that there will be a multitude of inspectorates. When the Minister chooses an inspectorate, I ask him to be careful to ensure that it is genuinely independent. I hope that I have his assurance on that matter

I cannot understand the idea in the White Paper that there will be only 10 inspectors—one chief and nine ordinary inspectors. That would be enough for my constituency only. The Gaming Board has 35 inspectors who monitor the 5,000 staff who work in 118 casinos and bingo houses. If we are to have a proper inspectorate monitoring the industry, 10 inspectors is clearly a fraction of what is needed. I hope that I shall receive assurances later this afternoon that it will not be a joke inspectorate, which is what 10 inspectors would make it.

Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield

Order. If the right hon. Member for Walsall, South wants to continue his speech at 4.30 pm, I shall certainly call him.

It being One o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till this day at half-past Four o'clock.