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Clause 111 - Staff custody officers: designation

Part of Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:15 pm on 18th January 2005.

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Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee 5:15 pm, 18th January 2005

I understand the point entirely. The amount of training to be given for roles in the police service is a matter for chief constables because it is an operational matter. The purpose of developing the national occupational standards, the framework and the pilots is to explore the issues that have been highlighted. Until we are absolutely reassured that the job can be done properly and in accordance with the legislation, I do not want to take the necessary step. The hon. Gentleman himself said that if the duties are not carried out properly, there will be a defective case file and an ineffective trial. That is not something that the Government want ever to happen. The length of time involved would be an operational matter for the chief constable. The role in question is a serious one that requires proper training and we do not want policing on the cheap. I am not sure what the pay rates will be, but I would imagine that the job will be complex and not likely to be done for a small amount of money.

I can inform hon. Members that 10 forces have volunteered for the pilot study and that two others are in discussions, so a fair range of forces would like to take part.