Clause 17 - Inspections

Part of Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 11 January 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) 5:30, 11 January 2005

I hope that my comments will reassure the hon. Gentleman about why we consider joint arrangements practical and in the interests of inspection. SOCA will be a UK-wide body and we have sought to put in place UK-wide arrangements, wherever possible. As we have said before, criminals have no respect for internal borders, let alone international borders. It would be artificial and counter-productive to have separate inspection arrangements in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the one hand and in Scotland on the other. However, I fully accept that, as they will have the appropriate knowledge of Scottish police forces and of the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency. Scottish inspectors have a role to play relevant to an inspection of SOCA's activities in Scotland. The Bill therefore provides for joint inspections by Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary and its Scottish counterpart. That is a sensible and workable arrangement that we have agreed with the Scottish Executive.

We want to encourage close collaboration between the various criminal justice inspectorates rather than reinforce the existing division of responsibilities. As such, the amendment would be detrimental to the arrangements for monitoring the efficiency and effectiveness of SOCA, so I invite the hon. Gentleman withdraw it.