Clause 45

Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:30 pm on 18th January 2007.

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Private Security Industry

Question proposed,That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Lembit Öpik Lembit Öpik Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Welsh Affairs

Will the Minister say whether regulation of the private security industry will extend to the whole United Kingdom as a result of the legislation?

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

My understanding is that the provisions on regulation of the private security industry that apply in England will be extended to  Scotland later this year—in October, I think. They will subsequently be extended to Northern Ireland through the powers taken under the Bill, though the legislation does not specify a particular date. We shall introduce them as soon as is practicable, but we have to take account of the fact that the Security Industry Authority has considerable work to do, so we must ensure that we choose the appropriate time.

Photo of Lembit Öpik Lembit Öpik Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, Welsh Affairs

I am grateful for that clarification. Does that mean that once implementation has occurred throughout the United Kingdom, the regulations pertaining to the private security industry will be the same across the country?

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office

I confirm that that is the case. The key change in Northern Ireland will be that each individual worker in the industry will have to be the subject of proper checks in relation to criminal records. It will also—importantly—be necessary for them to have undergone adequate and proper training. The current system simply involves licensing of companies, without reference to individual operators within those companies.

I do not know whether clauses 45 and 46 and the connected schedule will arouse much debate this afternoon, although I suspect that there is much common ground in the Committee. The measure is important in dealing with organised criminal activity in Northern Ireland. The need to tackle extortion and the type of private security that is criminal is important to the future of Northern Ireland. I am delighted that the Bill contains the measures and to be speaking in firm support of them. I hope that the Committee gives them its full support.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 45 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 5 agreed to.

Clauses 46 and 47 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 6 agreed to.

Clause 48 ordered to stand part of the Bill.