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Clause 111 - Staff custody officers: designation

Part of Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 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 5:30 pm, 18th January 2005

Indeed. He said:

''Subject to the obvious practical concerns about training and supervision''. —[Official Report, 7 December 2004; Vol. 428, c. 1065.]

That seemed fairly clear to me. I do not want to trespass on private matters—[Interruption.] I am sure that Opposition Members can resolve that matter for themselves.

The amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome would restrict custody sergeants to being retired or former police sergeants. That would be a very limited pool to draw from, and it would make things difficult. The key issue is not what a person is or was, but whether that person is suitable, competent, properly trained and experienced to carry out that role. Some police sergeants might not have had the necessary training in the specific role of being a custody officer. His amendment would therefore not necessarily serve the purpose for which he tabled it. The decision on custody officers needs to be an operational one to make our police services more efficient and effective; his amendment would not help to take that issue forward, and I ask members of the Committee to resist it.