It is our intention that NCIS should be the UK's main designated authority, with the Crown Office performing the role in Scotland. It makes good sense for NCIS to perform that role as it will be the home of the UK's Schengen bureau, and we expect most requests to be transmitted by the secure Schengen system. Similarly, it is entirely appropriate for the Crown Office to perform the role in Scotland, providing administrative assistance to the judiciary north of the border. Designating an additional authority for Scotland will allow swifter transmission of the relevant warrant when it is known, for example, that the individual being sought is actually in Scotland.
I fail to see the harm in designating an additional authority. As to whether that should be in the Bill, I ask hon. Gentlemen to think back and remember that not so long ago NCIS did not exist. It has an administrative function, and if someone were at some point to change the arrangements north or south of the border or retitle NCIS, primary legislation would be needed if the authorities had been designated in the Bill. There is no need for that, because our intentions are clear, sensible and known to everyone. However, there may be a structural change in the future as there has been in the recent past—not that any is planned—and I ask Opposition Members to accept that it would be nonsense to have to rewrite primary legislation in order to cope with such a situation.