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I raised this matter on Second Reading; indeed, I seem to remember being the only Member who did so. I am therefore quite surprised at the overwhelming opposition that has suddenly come from the Opposition Benches today.
Would my hon. Friend the Minister say that since the change in clause 112 provides that no one can be appointed a custody officer unless they are either a staff custody officer or a sergeant, we can afford to change the law to permit the pilots? If the pilots turn out badly, as would happen if cases had to be abandoned or a great many detainees complained that they had not been supervised properly, one could fall back on the fact that even in the new law the role of custody sergeant is retained. If, after the pilots, staff officers prove not to be viable, no harm has been done, because one can fall back on custody officers. Is that right?