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Clause 4 - Relationships between NCA and other agencies: tasking etc

Part of Crime and Courts Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:30 pm on 24th January 2013.

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Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 12:30 pm, 24th January 2013

I beg to move amendment 27, in clause 4, page 4, line 28, after ‘may’, insert ‘in exceptional circumstances’.

The amendment is about the nature of the powers. It is designed to get the Minister to set out more clearly when he thinks the powers will be used. We have just had an interesting discussion in which the Minister talked about the minutiae of policing operations in which the NCA might be involved and which requests for resources might be made.

When the matter was discussed in the other place, the Government spokesman talked about the powers being used only in exceptional circumstances. The amendment would simply make that clear in the Bill so that we do not get what I referred to in our previous debate as mission creep, through which resources are routinely required from police forces across the country for NCA activities, given the consequential impact that that might have on local policing priorities and local policing action. Has the Minister set out more clearly for the director general—indeed, does he intend to in our final framework document—the circumstances in which the powers can be requested, when a decision can be made that a voluntary arrangement cannot be reached, and therefore when the formal power to task will be used?