New Clause 18

Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 29 November 2007.

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Offences under football banning order

‘If a constable has reasonable grounds to believe that a person (“P”) is about to breach the terms of a football banning order, he may require P to present his passport.’.—[Mr. Hollobone.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

My new clause arises out of concerns expressed to us by the Police Federation. In Committee, on 16 October, Jan Berry, the police officer who gave evidence, said that she shared the concerns that I put to her:

“currently, officers only have the right to request to see passports, and that many individuals—for example, those subject to a football banning order—are acutely aware of that and decline”.——[Official Report, Criminal Justice and Immigration Public Bill Committee, 16 October 2007; c. 57, Q110.]

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction)

I hope that I can persuade the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendment, because it is unnecessary. Football banning orders have been incredibly successful in reducing football-related violence here and abroad. The police already possess extensive and specific powers during a football control period, which commences five days before an overseas match or tournament. Banned individuals are required by the enforcing authority to report to a designated police station five days before an overseas match or tournament to surrender their passport and to report to a designated police station on match days.

If an officer has reasonable grounds for believing that a person has breached, or is about to breach, the terms of a football banning order, they can arrest them without warrant. Breaches of football banning orders are already offences. Under section 14J(1)(b) of the Football Spectators Act 1989, a breach of any requirement by the enforcing authority to surrender a passport during the control period is an offence. In those circumstances, under section 42 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, summary arrest might be necessary in order to ascertain the identity of the person in question or to prevent that person from causing physical injury or loss or damage to property.

The new clause misunderstands the primary purpose of police ports operations. It is extremely rare for an individual subject to a football banning order to try and travel to an overseas tournament, because they do not have their passport. Just two people attempted to breach an order during the 2006 World cup. The police ports operation enables the police to identify known individuals whom they believe will cause violence, at which point they can prevent them from travelling and subject them to the courts and an almost instantaneous football banning order, which would require them to give up their passport. I hope that with that reassurance, the hon. Gentleman will recognise that significant powers are available to the police and that his new clause is unnecessary.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

I am very happy to withdraw my new clause on the proviso that the Minister agrees to write to Jan Berry at the Police Federation with his explanation.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Crime Reduction)

I shall do that, but I also spoke to the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on football-related disorder and violence, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Thomas, about this. He said that there was no issue with respect to passports and police officer powers. I will write to Jan Berry to inform her of that.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.