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Clause 46

Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 13th May 2008.

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Notification of changes

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

I beg to move amendment No. 147, in clause 46, page 33, line 37, at end insert—

‘This does not apply if the person is at the same time required to notify the police under section 44 (initial notification).’.

Photo of Edward O'Hara Edward O'Hara Labour, Knowsley South

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 149 to 152.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

These are deeply tedious technical points. Let me explain the tedium.

Amendment No. 147 ensures that there is no double requirement to notify changes by stating that if the individual is already required to notify the police upon his release from custody, prison or detention in a hospital, he is required to notify only under clause 44 and not under clause 46 as well, which could be an inference under the current draft.

Amendment No. 149 adds notifications that are made to the police under clause 47—“Periodic re-notification”—to those covered by “previous notifications” in clause 46. Amendment No. 150 clarifies that the one-year period for re-notification under clause 47 runs from the last notification made by the individual.

Amendment No. 151 makes it clear that a person is not required to re-notify under clause 47 if the annual re-notification date falls when he is remanded in custody, imprisoned or detained in a hospital. Further to that, amendment No. 152 provides that if the person is remanded in custody, imprisoned or detained in a hospital when the period of one year since his last notification ends, he is required to notify the police on his release in accordance with clause 46(4); it further provides that the information he has to notify is that specified in clause 44(2).

The amendments tidy up a range of technical points in respect of the interlocking nature of all the clauses in the part of the Bill relating to notification requirements. I commend them to the Committee.

Photo of David Heath David Heath Liberal Democrat, Somerton and Frome

I have one small anxiety. I hope that the people to whom the notification orders apply are made aware, while in custody, of all the details about what they are required to do. I am thinking particularly about the fact that they are required to provide notification that they have been released from custody. Many people might assume that the criminal justice system would be aware that a person had been released from custody, although that is an unsafe assumption in the current circumstances. Nevertheless, a reasonable person might assume that the criminal justice system was aware that a court had released somebody from custody or from detention in a hospital. Unless that is spelled out to the person, I fear that they might inadvertently be in breach of the notification procedures even while they were attempting to do everything required of them, having made the sensible assumption that once a court says “you are now free to go”, the fact is logged somewhere in the system.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

That part of the hon. Gentleman’s comments is perfectly fair, but it is incumbent on the individual—having previously been under a notification requirement—to understand fully where that requirement picks up again once he is released from custody. It is a bit two-way but I take the point none the less.

In terms of the hon. Gentleman’s first point, I say simply that we are getting there. The one thing I have discovered, having been tangential to—but never responsible for—prisons and the interface between prisons and criminal justice, is the enormous churn of numbers on a daily basis. It is quite phenomenal when explored in any detail—those on short term and those being moved from security to open prisons as a prelude to release. The hon. Gentleman is right; any normal person would expect that everyone in the entire system knows when someone is released, but sometimes there is more than one link-up to make in that regard.

There are also responsibilities on the individual, however, bearing in mind that they are already under a notification requirement and, for whatever reason, are now detained in prison or custody. They should know precisely when they should pick up and notify again in terms of the register regime. Between the individual and the criminal justice system, it is to be hoped that sanity will prevail.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

I beg to move amendment No. 148, in clause 46, page 33, line 40, leave out from ‘changes’ to the end of line 41 and insert ‘in that information’.

This amendment simply makes the drafting throughout clause 44 rather simpler and easier to understand in terms of how it relates to clause 46(5). It does not change the policy in any way, but it links to the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome’s earlier point about how key elements relate to each other. I hope the amendment makes that clearer rather than otherwise, and I commend it to the Committee.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 149, in clause 46, page 34, line 11, leave out ‘or this section’ and insert

‘, this section or section 47 (periodic re-notification)’.—[Mr. McNulty.]

Clause 46, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.