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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 thank the Minister for his comments. I am surprised, and perhaps saddened, that he does not agree with his colleagues in the other place about the importance of saying that these powers will be used only in exceptional circumstances. We are all aware of people in our lives who believe that they are directing us to undertake a course of action voluntarily—my mother is particularly fond of that mode of operation.

It is important to set out, first and foremost, that the director general should be seeking consensus with police forces—and, dare I say it, with police and crime commissioners—on the importance and priority attached to certain operations to deal with serious organised crime. It is also important to set out the expectation that such a tasking power will be used only in exceptional circumstances. The Minister could not quite address the question of exceptionality and the circumstances in  which he believes this backstop power would be used. Indeed, the fact that he simply calls it a backstop power is a little concerning.