HC Deb 29 October 1984 vol 65 cc1037-60

Lords amendment: No. 217, in page 69, line 25, leave out "(2) The Police Complaints Authority" and insert "and"

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Giles Shaw)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take amendments Nos. 218, 231, 234 and 242 to 245.

Mr. Shaw

These amendments represent changes that increase the effectiveness of the powers of the police complaints authority. Amendments Nos. 217 and 218 remove the relatively narrow scope of the authority's functions. Amendment No. 231 provides power to prescribe a time limit in cases called in by the authority. Amendment No. 234 is a consequential drafting change. Amendment No. 243 provides for the authority to give its approval of the appointment of an investigating officer where such an appointment has been necessary prior to the referral of the case to the authority. Amendments Nos. 244 and 245 broaden and enforce the authority's powers to impose requirements in respect of any investigation that is supervises.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendment No. 218 agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 219, after clause 78, to insert the following new clause—Preliminary.—(1) Where a complaint is submitted to the chief officer of police for a police area, it shall be his duty to take any steps that appear to him to be desirable for the purpose of obtaining or preserving evidence relating to the conduct complained of.

(2) After performing the duties imposed on him by subsection (1) above the chief officer shall determine whether he is the appropriate authority in relation to the officer against whom the complaint was made.

(3) If he determines that he is not the appropriate authority, it shall be his duty—

  1. (a) to send the complaint or, if it was made orally, particulars of it, to the appropriate authority; and
  2. (b) to give notice that he has done so to the person by or on whose behalf the complaint was made.

(4) In this Part of this Act— "complaint" means any complaint about the conduct of a police officer which is submitted—

  1. (a) by a member of the public; or
  2. (b) on behalf of a member of the public and with his written consent;

"the appropriate authority" means—

  1. (a) in relation to an officer of the metropolitan police, the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis; and
  2. (b) in relation to an officer of any other police force—
    1. (i) if he is a senior officer, the police authority for the force's area; and
    2. (ii) if he is not a senior officer, the chief officer of the force;

"senior officer" means an officer holding a rank above the rank of chief superintendent.

(5) Nothing in this Part of this Act has effect in relation to a complaint in so far as it relates to the direction or control of a police force by the chief officer or the person performing the functions of the chief officer.

(6) If any conduct to which a complaint wholly or partly relates is or has been the subject of criminal or disciplinary proceedings, none of the provisions of this Part of this Act which relate to the recording and investigation of complaints have effect in relation to the complaint in so far as it relates to that conduct."

Mr. Shaw

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take amendments Nos. 220 to 230, 232, 233, 235 to 241, 246 to 251, 261, 268 to 271 and 282.

Mr. Shaw

This substantial group of amendments affects some related structural changes to part IX, which deals with disciplinary proceedings. The most important of those changes are introduced by the new clause set out in amendment No. 219.

The new clause inserted by amendment No. 219 replaces the present clause 79 and improves on it in several significant respects. The effect of subsections (1) and (2) is that the duty on a chief police officer to record a complaint is distinguished from that of taking necessary preliminary investigative steps. By subsection (1) the chief officer receiving a complaint is required to take such steps, and only then, by subsection (2), is he required to consider whether the complaint actually falls to him to investigate. Subsection (3) provides that where he determines that the complaint does not fall to him—that is, where the complainant wrongly directed it to him—he has two further duties placed upon him: first, to ensure that the complaint gets to the right destination; second, to inform the complainant that he has done that.

Subsection (4) introduces the concept of conduct into the terminology. The police complaints authority, which the Bill establishes, will be concerned with investigations into the conduct of police officers. The amendment accordingly provides — for the first time — a proper definition of a complaint in terms of an officer's conduct. As a result the language in part IX of the Bill has shifted from the terms "complaint" and "allegation" to "conduct". Subsection (4) also introduces the concept of the "appropriate authority" — the chief officer or police authority with responsibility for handling the complaint in question. That is also the source of other related amendments that are incorporated in the group.

Subsection (5) excludes from the system complaints about the way in which the chief officer or acting chief officer exercises his functions of direction and control. Where the complaint is that a chief officer acted from a corrupt or unlawful motive, that, quite properly, will come within the complaints system. Where the complaint is about the way in which the chief officer is directing the force, however, the proper method of dealing with the matter is for the police authority to call for a report from the chief officer under section 12(2) of the Police Act 1964 rather than to mount a complaint investigation.

Subsection (6) repeats, though in a refined form, the existing exclusion from the system of complaints alleging conduct which is or already has been the subject of formal criminal or disciplinary proceedings.

The second new clause, amendment No. 224, deals with complaints against senior officers—those above superintendent rank. It is intended to replace the present clause 84. That clause operates by substituting "police authority" for "chief officer" in the relevant earlier provisions, and accordingly was placed after them. This clause, on the other hand, makes substantive provision for the recording and investigation of complaints against senior officers, and thus is more appropriately placed immediately after the equivalent clause dealing with junior officers.

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The plan of the clause is quite simple. Subsection (1) provides that it is the duty of the appropriate authority to record and investigate a complaint against one of its senior officers. The duty to investigate, however, is subject to a restriction in subsection (2) and the effect of this is to modify the system of informal resolution of minor complaints as it affects senior officers. Under clause 80, a complaint is not to be regarded as suitable for informal resolution unless the complainant gives his consent and the chief officer is satisfied that the conduct complained of, even if proved, would not justify a criminal or disciplinary charge.

The remaining subsections deal with the process of investigation of complaints against senior officers. Under subsection (3) the appropriate authority is required to appoint an officer from within or outside the force to investigate the complaint. Under subsection (4), the chief officer requested to provide an officer for this purpose is required to do so. Under subsection (5), the investigating officer is required to be of at least the rank of the officer against whom the complaint is made — the same condition which applies to complaints against junior officers. Under subsection (6), the investigating officer is required to submit his report to the appropriate authority, unless the investigation has been supervised by the Police Complaints Authority. This clause places the arrangements for dealing with complaints against senior officers on, I believe, a simpler and more logical footing.

I hope that this House will agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Kaufman

I hope that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will agree to our basing on this group of amendments a discussion of the complaints procedure and the role of chief constables. I believe that amendment No. 282, in particular, allows us to do that. We wish to have a substantial debate on those issues within the rules of order.

As this is almost the last occasion on which I shall seek to speak on this Bill, perhaps I may also comment on the fact that we are now approaching the end of a record-breaking consideration. This Bill, which might be described as the No. 2 Bill, had its First Reading on 26 October last year. I believe that it would be difficult to find in the parliamentary records another Bill that has taken more than a year for its passage in one Session of Parliament—and that is in addition to the previous Bill which was considered before the general election.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues who have worked on the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Mr. Dubs) laboured through both Bills and my hon. Friends the Members for St. Helens, South (Mr. Bermingham), for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett), for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bell) and for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) have worked extremely hard to improve this Bill.

I believe that the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths), too, has worked on the Bill since the beginning, but I am sorry that he interprets his duty' towards it as he has done today. I do not believe that such an approach assists the House in its wish to have a structured and serious debate. As I have already notified him, the hon. Gentleman knows that I do not say this as any personal reflection on him, but now that the Bill has reached its final parliamentary stages I believe that it would be appropriate for the Police Federation to consider reverting its previous practice of having an Opposition Member as its parliamentary adviser. That practice obtained for many years. My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South Penarth (Mr. Callaghan) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) undertook the duty. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds undertook it during the period of the Labour Government.

Without any personal reflection on the hon. Gentleman, I regard it as a serious error on the part of the Police Federation to have maintained an adviser from the Conservative party during the period of a Conservative Government because it identifies the federation and thus the police with one political party. As the Home Secretary has said, the police must be loyal to Governments of all parties. Therefore, I do not believe that it is good for them to be identified with one party alone. Now that the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds has done his duty on this prolonged item of legislation, I believe that it would be wise and sensible for the federation to consider reverting to its previous practice of having as its parliamentary adviser a member of the principal Opposition party.

Since the Bill was introduced just over a year ago a great many changes have been made in it. Many have been beneficial and the next major debate will deal with one of the most beneficial changes in the entire passage of the Bill. Some changes, however, have not been beneficial and the Opposition must acknowledge some culpability in that some of those changes slipped by without our noticing. One change, however, is extremely worrying and it is covered by this group of amendments.

The change to which I refer was foreshadowed in the words of the Home Secretary earlier this month at the Conservative party conference when he announced that in the future the Government intended to prevent a local authority from being able to suspend a chief constable from duty except with the agreement of the police complaints authority. There is no doubt that when the Home Secretary made that statement he was speaking from an extremely partisan point of view. He said: Nor will we stand idly by and let Left-wing police authorities undermine police operations … I will continue to take every action necessary to ensure that the chief constable's independent position is not jeopardised so that he can keep his dogs and horses and so that Left-wing politicians do not undermine his force. First, the Home Secretary was making an assumption about the constitutional position of chief constables which is not necessarily borne out by the law. Secondly, he announced his intention to produce an ad hominem piece of legislation — not a general piece of legislation introduced for general purposes but a change in the law deliberately introduced to attack certain local authorities which he described as "Left-wing". I do not suppose that many Labour authorities would complain about being so decribed, but to use the phrase in a pejorative manner is highly objectionable.

My own police authority in Greater Manchester, for example, is excellent. The chairwoman of that authority, councillor Gay Cox, is an outstanding member of the local authority, deeply concerned about law and order but equally and properly concerned about the necessity for proper accountability of the police to the police authority.

There is an assumption on the part of chief constables and of the Government that chief constables have autonomy. I believe that the time may come when it is appropriate for Greater Manchester county council, the Merseyside county council or the West Midlands county council to test the situation in law. It may be important to test in law the presumed autonomy of chief constables in relation to the elected police authorities to which they are supposed to work. At present the Home Secretary and many chief constables assume that the chief constables have operational and policy autonomy regardless of the wishes and approach of the local authority. Many absurdities are committed by chief constables because of this assumption.

There is an increasing danger — I fear that the amendment will exacerbate and emphasise it — of policing which is uncontrolled and self-generated, policing by the whim of the chief constable. One chief constable might have a special preoccupation with drinking and driving. He might over a short period breath-test 8,000 people, to the detriment of other police activities. Another might be preoccupied with pornographic bookshops and might divert his force to raiding such shops, to the detriment of the proper policing of the neighbourhood and the protection of its inhabitants from violence and burglary.

In the miners strike—which has lasted since March—we have seen an interpretation of the powers of chief constables which strikes me as extremely disturbing, although it is simply an exacerbation of the position which existed already for those who were able to see it. Chief constables have been acting not only without consultation with, and not only without the agreement of, but even in defiance of the police authority which appointed them and has to finance them.

If one studies the movement of police during the strike one finds, for example, that in Greater Manchester the chief constable is moving police against the wishes of the police authority to an area whose police authority does not wish to receive them. The chief constable is incurring expenditure against the wishes of his police authority and, by moving his men, is forcing expenditure upon the receiving authority, but neither the sending nor the receiving authority may refuse to pay the money which the ratepayers have to provide. In the end, of course, the Home Secretary will reimburse some of it.

Policing is taking place against the wishes of the police authority, and expenditure is being incurred against the wishes of the financing authority. The director of social services of the city of Manchester could not spend any appreciable sum of money on improving social services in the city—and we have the best social services of any large city—without the agreement of the social services committee and then of the city council. However, the chief constable has spent about £3 million on the miners strike so far—we do not even know exactly how much—against the wishes of the police authority, and our ratepayers have to find that money.

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Then there is the anomalous and disturbing question of the national reporting centre which is based at New Scotland Yard but organised by the Association of Chief Police Officers. That is relevant to the amendment because the chief officers concerned are the chief constables; the association is the chief constables' trade union. By an extraordinary and extra-constitutional procedure, our 43 police forces are under the orders of one man —currently Mr. McLachlan, the chief constable of Nottinghamshire. One hundred and twenty thousand policemen can be moved around the country from one month to another, at the expenditure so far of about £200 million of taxpayers' and ratepayers' money. That activity is controlled from a control room in New Scotland Yard. It is not controlled by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and therefore is not answerable to the Home Secretary. It is not answerable to the ratepayers of Nottingham, who employ the chief constable who is the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, or to the ratepayers of any of the other 42 authorities which provide the remainder of the £200 million.

We have a de facto national police force which is totally extra-constitutional and not answerable in any way to anyone. I do not know even whether Mr. McLachlan is answerable to the executive of his association, but it is disgraceful that the executive of a trade union should control 120,000 policemen and their movements and activities.

So far as one can tell, what now exists, in embryo and in essence, is a national police militia under the control of one man who is answerable to no one except himself. That being so, we believe that this group of amendments is of profound concern. All the brooms chopped up by the sorcerer's apprentice are marching along out of anyone's control. The sorcerer's apprentice has let loose the national reporting centre and the 43 chief constables who can move their men and incur expenditure without any authority from the body which appoints and employs them.

That is bad enough. A surreptitious change is taking place in the nature of policing in this country which is dangerous to democracy. We have decided in this country —and the arrangement has stood the test of time—not to have a national police force. We have decided that the national police force under a Minister of the interior is a step on the way to a police state, and we have deliberately chosen to have no such thing. Yet, although Parliament has legislated to prevent the formation of a national police force, and although I believe that both sides of the House agree that there should be no national police force, insidiously and surreptitiously a national police force is coming into being with no constitutional arrangements to limit it. It is coming into being because of the interpretation of the 1964 Act which assumes that a chief constable is not answerable for what he does to his local authority. That is highly arguable.

It is true that nothing in the 1964 Act expressly prohibits police authorities from giving operational instructions. It would be healthy if a local authority sought to test the matter in court for the benefit of democracy. Present circumstances are dangerous, disturbing and apparently uncontrollable. That is bad enough. A local authority has two powers in relation to its chief constable. The first is the power to appoint him, subject to the approval of the Home Secretary, and the second is the power to dismiss him, subject to the agreement of the Home Secretary. I use the word "him" not for any sexist reason but simply because we have no women chief constables.

At the moment, local authorities have the right to suspend a chief constable, but the Home Secretary announced at Brighton that that power will be taken away unless suspension is approved by the police complaints authority, which the Bill will establish when enacted. That is even worse than the present arrangements for appointment and dismissal. After a fashion, the Home Secretary is answerable to the House, but the police complaints authority will be a quango and therefore not answerable in any way. Democratically elected local authorities will therefore lose an important residual power to the whim of a quango. When the Home Secretary used the invidious words that I have read at the Conservative party conference at Brighton, when he attacked Left-wing police authorities as undermining police operations and when he attacked Left-wing politicians as undermining police forces, no doubt he had in mind the miners' strike and the justified disagreement of local authorities to the deployment of their police forces without their consent.

However, there are other circumstances in which local authorities would wish to suspend their chief constables. We have an example now. The Derbyshire police authority has decided to suspend its chief constable for a reason that is wholly unrelated to the mining strike. It arises from allegations about his misuse of ratepayers' money in regard to decorating his office, expense accounts and other matters. Who can say that a local authority is to blame if it tries to protect its ratepayers from its chief constable misusing their money?

As far as we can learn from newspapers, the chief constable in question has decided to ask for early retirement. I am not suggesting that, by that, he is confirming the allegations that have been made against him, but it would be monstrous if a local authority which was properly vigilant in protecting its ratepayers' money was not permitted, without the agreement of the police complaints authority, to suspend a chief constable in order to have an impartial investigation of his activities undertaken. That would be to remove an important residual right of properly elected police authorities.

An important constitutional relationship — that between police forces and an elected authority, whether the Home Secretary or a local police authority, which appoints and finances him — is being changed. Moreover, that relationship is being changed not openly or with the agreement of Parliament but by stealth. The police's democratic accountability—nobody is above the law — is being destroyed. That change of the law is parallel to other changes in local Government that the Government are introducing such as rate capping, holdback and abolition of the metropolitan counties because it is a further move towards centralisation and a dangerous move away from local democracy.

We believe that basic democratic principles are at stake. We shall therefore vote against Lords amendment No. 219 to register our anger and dismay at what is happening.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

I am always glad when you are in the Chair, Mr. Speaker, but that is especially so now, as the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) has touched on matters that affect arrangements in the House between me and the Police Federation. I should like to respond to what he said, although I am at a loss to see how his comments relate to this group of amendments.

The right hon. Gentleman did not mention the fact that we are considering nearly 65 amendments. He has rightly chosen to discuss those that relate to relations between the chief officer of police and his police authority. This group of amendments covers many other matters which the House should discuss. Lords amendment No. 219 provides in subsection (1) that when a chief officer examines a complaint against a member of his force, it shall be his duty to take any steps that appear to him to be desirable for the purpose of obtaining or preserving evidence relating to the conduct complained of. We should remember that we are discussing an internal investigation by a chief officer of a complaint about someone under his discipline. Such people can be treated harshly.

For other citizens, we have rightly provided many safeguards. When a police officer investigates an offence he may not do a wide range of things that would be inconsistent with the Bill's safeguards. There are no such safeguards where a complaint is made against a police officer. The language is precise. It says that the chief officer shall … take any steps that appear to him to be desirable". That is unjust. There should be some limitation to what the chief officer can do.

I speak almost from a trade union point of view. I complained about this matter in Committee. I am disturbed that, after the Bill has gone through another place, the Government still stand on the principle that an accused police officer shall be subject to any steps that appear desirable to his boss. I shall give a disagreeable example. When we last debated the Bill the House's mind was rightly exercised by the powers that might be available for intimate search. We properly insisted on a series of safeguards such as a superintendent's certificate and the presence of medical practitioners. However, I am advised that there is nothing to stop a chief officer conducting an intimate search. That is unjust as a police officer under discipline will be treated differently from any other citizen.

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Mr. Peter Hardy (Wentworth)

The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) is pursuing a case which should be considered. Although the balance is wrong, as he demonstrates, does he agree that it may be wrong because there is an imbalance elsewhere? If a chief constable wishes to prosecute one of his officers who may have been alleged to have committed a serious offence, he cannot take action himself without the permission of the Director of Public Prosecutions. If that matter were rectified, there could be a better balance in the arrangements about which the hon. Gentleman complains.

Mr. Griffiths

I have sympathy with the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) regarding this matter, as I do regarding many others. We are dealing not necessarily with criminal prosecution which would go to the Director of Public Prosecutions, but with an internal complaint. The matter may not touch on crime. It may concern incivility, excessive use of force, rudeness to a senior officer, or one of the many occasions of bullying a junior officer. I am sorry that the Bill will not provide a proper safeguard.

In Committee, a safeguard giving police the right of access to a lawyer if they were subjected to demotion or dismissal was won. That helps, but it does not overcome the problem that the chief officer has absolute discretion and can operate like Captain Bligh of the Bounty. It is wrong that he should be able to do so in 1984.

My second small point concerns amendment No. 219. Subsection (4) deals with any complaint about the conduct of a police officer, which is submitted—(a) by a member of the public"—— no one can complain about that because it is quite proper——

or (b) on behalf of a member of the public and with his written consent". I am happy to see the words "written consent". They result from one of my amendments in Committee and ensure that legal eagles and ambulance-chasing lawyers cannot start proceedings against an officer simply because they have come across something which they think will help them to complain. Such a position would have been odious. Those words ensure that a complainant must give his written consent to do so.

Nevertheless, I remain unhappy that the complaint mechanism can be started against a police officer without the member of the public making his own complaint. I regret that it would be sufficient for a lawyer, perhaps an hon. Member, or a social worker, to go to that person, get a complaint from him and set the mechanism operating, provided that the complainant signs it.

I recognise that there are occasions when a person who may be shy or for reasons of health cannot progress a complaint himself must be able to give someone else the opportunity to handle the case for him. I do not complain about that. However, it opens the door to what I can only describe as the civil or the race relations industries—I hope that I am not being unfair in saying that, but there are hangers-on in any good cause—getting on to a complaint without the complainant being properly involved.

It is not easy to deal with 70 amendments in one debate, but my third point concerns amendment No. 221. It inserts into clause 80: If a chief officer determines that he is the appropriate authority in relation to an officer, about whose conduct a complaint had been made and who is not a senior officer, he shall record it. I do not understand why he must record it in the case of a non-senior police officer. Entirely different arrangements apply to chief officers. I do not like that, because I believe in democracy in the nick. I do not see why there should be written into the statute a different procedure for recording a complaint against an officer up to the rank of chief inspector, presumably, from that for officers above that rank. That is an odious distinction.

Other amendments deal with the informal resolution of complaints. This is not the time or place to rehearse all the prolix arguments about informal procedure. The Police Federation, in which I have an interest—the right hon. Member for Gorton declared my interest in it for me—remains unhappy about the arrangement. It assumes that informal conciliation can proceed if the complainant agrees, but that the consent of the police officer to that procedure need not necessarily be sought or obtained. That is one-sided. There should be an even-handed approach between the two parties to the complaint.

I now turn to the graver issue which the right hon. Member for Gorton raised. He put the case from his point of view eloquently. During the summer months I have also been greatly exercised about the relationship between chief officers of police and their police authorities. Nearly three years ago I took part in a debate with the former hon. Member for Lincoln, Mr. Dick Taverne, who was a Labour Minister, subsequently defected into the fifth party and was duly dispatched from the House by his electorate. The heart of the debate concerned the relationship between chief officers of police and their police authorities. The right hon. Member for Gorton was right to say that the Bill will alter that relationship. I believe that it will alter it for the better. The right hon. Member believes that it will alter it for the worse.

The right hon. Member for Gorton was not entirely correct when he tried to delineate the powers of a police authority in respect of a chief officer. It can certainly hire him, as it does, but it can also fire him, with the consent of the Home Secretary. I shall return to that point when I deal with the amendments that change that procedure. Henceforth, the police complaints authority will be included in that relationship.

A police authority has many other important powers vis-a-vis a chief officer of police. For example, it is largely responsible for the housekeeping of a force area. That is no small matter. It involves housing, the purchase of cars, the disbursement of large sums of money which determine the training facilities, accommodation and a large number of practical matters which assert the real authority of a police authority vis-a-vis its police force.

The negative side is the unfortunate way in which police authorities have used that power. For example, some years ago the South Yorkshire police authority determined that all police houses should burn coal. Consequently, some gas fires and electric heating which had previously been installed in police houses, were taken out. The police had to live in homes that were heated only with solid fuel. The local police authority wanted to assist its principal industry—the mining industry. However, it got into deep trouble, because at the material time the clean air legislation required that the only solid fuel that could be burnt was smokeless fuel. Unfortunately, the local coal board agencies were unable to produce a smokeless fuel, and it had to be imported from Belgium. That was an unfortunate result of the police authority's insistence on having its way, but it makes my point. The police authority has and exercises that power, I believe rightly.

A more particular power is that of police authorities to determine the availability of officers for training. One thing that I have regretted about the almost permanent state of verbal cold war that has arisen between chief officers and police authorities recently is that some authorities have impeded the training of police officers. I shall not go into detail, but I shall give one example. In Derbyshire, the police authority prevented several officers of the rank of inspector from going on courses that they must complete because they affect not only promotion and pay but the ability of the force to maintain public order and to do its job under the law. In one case, the police authority removed an inspector from a course that he was already attending. I complain about what police authorities do, but I am bound to recognise their power to do it.

Another example is that, regrettably, in many parts of the country there is incompatible police equipment. When I visited Toxteth during the riots I was appalled to discover that some special units from different forces could not talk to each other because they had incompatible personal radios. The reason was clear: the police authorities could choose which equipment their forces should have. I complain about that because it is operationally bad. It will not do for the right hon. Member for Gorton to say that police authorities have no power when they can make such a thing happen. The right hon. Gentleman's description of the powers of police authorities over their chief constables was inadequate.

The gravamen of the right hon. Gentleman's argument, and the subject about which the House will decide this evening, was differences of opinion between a police authority and its chief officer about the conduct of his job. There are two distinct aspects to the argument. The first is what I would describe as general policing policy. The local police authority has a power, a duty and, I believe, a right to play a large part in setting the general policing policy of its area. If authorities will operate under the Police Act 1964, they can do that. They do so in most police areas. Unfortunately, some police authorities do not know how to work the 1964 Act. There are many reasons for that, but often a lack of know-how on the part of the police authority leads it to fail to exercise its powers to effect general policing policy.

The second aspect is police operations. There I part company with the right hon. Member for Gorton in so far as he appeared to be suggesting that a police authority should have the power to intervene in police operations. The problem is one of definition. If a chief officer says to his police authority, "That is not general policing policy but operations, and therefore you can have nothing to do with it", he will separate himself from the authority, be regarded as arrogant and unfriendly and asking for trouble. The area of definition between general policing policy and specific operational policing requires much understanding between the authority and the chief officer if it is to be operated correctly. Most operate it correctly, but some do it wrongly; and, unfortunately, the areas where it has gone wrong are primarily those that have been most affected by the miners strike.

Other hon. Members are more knowledgeable about the immediate details of the miners strike than I, although I have visited five mining areas in connection with the police. Where a police authority, because it is caught up politically or emotionally with what is happening in an industrial dispute, allows its feelings to spill over so that it begins to exercise its authority over police operations, it can go too far. That has frequently happened during the miners strike. It is entirely wrong for some police authorities to forbid their chief officers to acquire riot equipment. None of us likes riot equipment—the police least of all. No police officer whom I know joined the force to be a riot policeman; he joined to be an ordinary policeman. But where the law is at risk and the Queen's peace must be maintained, the equipment must be available. Therefore, it is wrong for some police authorities to deny to their chief officers the right to obtain that equipment.

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The consequence is incompatibility of equipment, with one area having such equipment and a neighbouring area having none. When the police must provide mutual aid in different areas, they frequently discover that they cannot do so because of the incompatibility of equipment. That is an example of police authorities interfering in operations in an improper way and limiting what their chief officers can do.

The right hon. Gentleman's main point was whether it is sensible to insert the police complaints authority between a police authority that has moved into operations and a chief officer. On balance, I believe that it is; but I am not persuaded that the police complaints authority will be a splendid organisation. I am not sure whether it will be a good mechanism for this task. Nevertheless, it is the one that hon. Members considered in Committee, it is the one we have, and I believe that it will help greatly.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the Home Secretary's speech at the Conservative party conference. My right hon. and learned Friend was right to say that he would seek to protect chief officers of police against police authorities that were using political prejudice against their operations. He could do no less than that. If he had done less than that, he would have been derelict in his great office of state. Therefore, he proposes that where a chief officer is wrongly attacked by a police authority for political reasons, the Government will provide this new mechanism. On balance, it is a sound proposal and I hope that the House will carry it.

I conclude as I began. I ask the right hon. Member for Gorton to lend his attention on this, because it is a personal matter that he raised to which I am entitled to reply in a personal way. My relations with the Police Federation are exactly those that were devised by the former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Callaghan). Perhaps it is about time that this matter was cleared up. In general, I, too, have believed that there is an advantage in the parliamentary adviser to the Police Federation being a member of an Opposition party, because he must frequently attack the Government. I am about to attack the Government vigorously. During the years, I have had to negotiate with Labour and Conservative Governments in respect of pay, pensions and conditions, but mainly on legislation.

Although the right hon. Member for Gorton will recall mainly the occasions on which I found it necessary to disagree with him, because the Police Federation disagreed with him, he is unaware of the numerous occasions on which I found it necessary to disagree with the Conservative Government. He knows that I am obliged to him for the fact that, with his help, I obtained a valuable amelioration of the police discipline code in respect of the provision of lawyers. That is an ample illustration that it is perfectly possible—sitting on either side of the House makes no difference—to pursue a matter on its merits.

Mr. Kaufman

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for responding to what I said in the way that he has. However, this is not about whether the hon. Gentleman attacks the Government from time to time. At issue is the fact that for the past 11 years the police have identified themselves with one political party—the the Conservative party—by by having an adviser from that party. What took place under the Labour Government from 1974 to 1979 followed the same practice as led the police to have as their adviser, first, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Callaghan) and then my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris). I am not questioning whether the hon. Gentleman agreed with his Government, but rather that by maintaining a Conservative Member of Parliament as its adviser for the past five and half years under a Conservative Government—therefore, a Conservative party adviser for 11 years—the Police Federation is identifying with the Conservative party. That is wrong, and a mistake.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Before we go too far down this road, I ask hon. Members to confine themselves to this group of amendments.

Mr. Griffiths

The right hon. Gentleman and I are obliged to you, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence in allowing this matter to have gone as far as it has. Indeed, I was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman was allowed to get away with it when he raised it in the first place. I am merely responding and feel lucky that I am able to do so. I shall, however, do so briefly.

First and foremost, it is for the federation to make its own choice. It has that absolute right, and it has so decided. Secondly, there is no question of identifying a particular Member of this House with a particular Government. If one were a member of the Government, that would be a different matter, but a Back Bencher makes his own judgment——

Mr. Robert Kilroy-Silk (Knowsley, North)


Mr. Griffiths

If the hon. Gentleman has any doubts about that, he need only recall that in Committee I frequently voted with Labour Members because I thought that it was right to do so. If he stays around later this evening he will find something similar happening yet again.

Members of the Police Federation are no doubt listening, but at the end of the day I represent the electorate of Bury St. Edmunds in this House. I do not represent the Police Federation or the Conservative Government. I represent all the people who, regardless of party, sent me here. What I do for the Police Federation is on my own judgment. I am not accountable to it, to this Government or to the right hon. Gentleman, and I shall continue to do the job so long as I judge it to be right, so long as my constituents send me here to do it, and so long as the Police Federation is satisfied that I shall continue to be its adviser.

Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse (Pontefract and Castleford)

I shall not detain the House for long, but I have been tempted to speak in the debate to relate my personal experiences. Whatever I say is in no way an attack on the police, but I wish to draw attention to the concern now felt in the mining communities arising from the miners' strike. It is right and proper that those who live in the mining areas have an assurance that they will get a fair crack of the whip within the framework of the law.

We have all heard about the differing attitudes of chief police officers. In the early days we heard about the chief constable of Devon and Cornwall and the Dartford tunnel incident. On television we heard the chief constable of Manchester say that he would not have taken the same decision. Only yesterday the chief constable of Nottingham said on "Face the Press" that he was completely in charge of the situation now.

One understands that chief constables are responsible for the operation of their police forces. Given that to be the case, one assumes that the chief constable of north Yorkshire was responsible for the incident which I witnessed on 7 September this year. On that day I visited the Kellingley colliery which is on the perimeter of my constituency. Most of its employees are my constituents. I went there because I was concerned about some of the reports and television pictures that had appeared. We also have seen pictures of a television company car being overturned and set on fire. My line has always been that if one behaves in this way one expects the police to maintain the law. That is where I have always stood, and that is where I now stand.

However, on that day I experienced something that I never thought possible; indeed, I thought that I was dreaming. When I arrived, about 200 pickets were present. There was also a line of policemen opposite at the entrance to Kellingley colliery. Later I saw two groups of policemen march from the eastern side of the colliery, one wearing riot helmets and the other wearing riot helmets and carrying small shields. A van then arrived carrying two men and was halfway through the colliery gates before the pickets realised it. I was standing about 20 yards away as an observer.

There was a push from the pickets towards the police, who held their line, The van went on its way. The push stopped and the men turned around to go back towards the town of Knottingley. An order was then given, and when the men's backs were turned the police charged them and knocked some of them to the floor by using truncheons or helmets. On that occasion there had been no provocation from the pickets.

Another order was then given, and the policemen with the riot shields charged in to assist their colleagues who had already knocked men to the floor. The way in which the men were manhandled was awful——

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he must relate his remarks to the complaints procedure.

Mr. Lofthouse

I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I shall relate what I am saying to the amendments because it concerns the amendments, and you will appreciate why a little later.

The police were not satisfied with that, and one of them decided to charge me. He knocked me flying and used a filthy foul name. I shall not go into any further details because I have complained through the complaints procedure.

Mr. Martin Stevens (Fulham)

Can the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the police were aware of his identity?

7 pm

Mr. Lofthouse

As far as I am aware, they were not.

The police were then called off and went back into their lines. They were then pointing out men whom they were going to grab next. People who had done nothing wrong were arrested, taken away and charged.

This incident is related to the amendment because we are told that chief constables are responsible for operations. However, if one makes a complaint—as I have—it must be against the individual, not the chief constable. In this instance, if the chief constable of Yorkshire is responsible for the operations on that day on that picket line, what avenue does an individual have to complain against him? One can complain about one of his officers, but to whom is that officer responsible? As far as I can see, no one is directly responsible for such operational duties.

The Minister, the Government, the House and the country should be aware that because these people can see no avenue to get at the person responsible for such incidents, great hatred for policemen is created in the mining communities. That hatred has never been seen before in the 58 years that I have lived in such communities. I am worried about what will happen after the strike is over. We all hope that we shall get back to the days of good relations between the local police forces and the miners. However, if these people do not have an avenue of justice, and when all that they can see is thousands of arrests, charges and people being found guilty, but no examples of policemen being brought to justice, there will be trouble. We must be able to show these people that the chief constable who is responsible can be held responsible. If we do not, this bitterness will go on.

I have had correspondence with the hon. Member for Pudsey (Mr. Shaw), who has outlined what the law is in these cases. This may be the law, and policemen may have to work within the framework of the law, but in practice does it work? I challenge the Minister to show us whether there have been any cases in which policemen have been found guilty of misusing their powers and breaking the law.

On the day of which I have spoken, I saw policemen breaking the law. They were guilty people. I have already said that there is an inquiry going on and I have no objections to how it is taking place, but at the moment the man responsible — the chief constable — cannot be brought to book for the action of the officers whom he commands. If we cannot find a way to ensure that, we shall not get back to the former understanding between mining communities and policemen. We hope that we can, and we have an obligation to make sure that we do.

Mr. Hardy

I wish to be brief, but it is appropriate that another hon. Member representing a coalfield constituency should speak, not least because I feel that my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse) has dealt with a serious problem. It is outrageous and astonishing that a Member of Parliament should have had that experience and that it has received scarcely any public attention. When a Member of Parliament, exercising his responsibilities in his constituency, is assaulted and abused in the way that my hon. Friend has been, and without any reason or provocation—my hon. Friend's attitude has been entirely responsible—we roust give the matter serious consideration.

I recognise that the Bill is very important, and that this batch of amendments is also important, not least because it refers to the powers of chief constables. We can make as many arrangements as we like. We can have the greatest multitude of amendments that we can possibly devise about police power, but fundamentally police power must rest on the basis of consent and respect. In areas such as mine, I am fearful about the loss of respect and the element of contempt that has been brought into police-public relations.

Whatever the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) may say about the wisdom or otherwise of the South Yorkshire county council requiring the police officers' houses to be heated by coal — a perfectly satisfactory source of domestic heating which I hope that I shall maintain myself, supplies of anthracite over the next few months permitting—the hon. Gentleman will be aware that our police force had a high reputation, and that relationships in South Yorkshire between police and public were excellent. I know that there were only seven complaints against the police throughout the 1970s, three of which were relatively slight. I have no grounds for lack of confidence in the local police force.

The Government may feel that by the changes that they are making in the law they will be contributing to maintaining an efficient police force. However, unless they recognise that something has to be done, whether in this Bill or in some other way, and unless they recognise that there must be some urgent and serious action to restore good relationships between the police and the public, then all these arrangements will——

Sir Kenneth Lewis (Stamford and Spalding)

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that in the mining areas where there has been reasonable picketing of some dozens of miners there has been no trouble between the police and the pickets? Has not the trouble been where there have been armies of pickets, and frequently the police have been put in an impossible position because of those armies of pickets?

Mr. Hardy

There may be some general evidence to support the conclusion of the hon. Member for Stamford and Spalding (Sir K. Lewis), but it would be dangerous for us to assume that that is always the case. There have been unsatisfactory incidents where the numbers of pickets have been small and one such case was dismissed in the courts recently. I referred to that case in a debate on 23 July.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman should not refer to that debate. We are dealing with complaints procedures and related matters.

Mr. Hardy

So that I can fulfil your request, Mr. Speaker, and also maintain the brevity that I promised, I shall conclude my remarks by referring the Minister, if not the hon. Member for Stamford and Spalding, to the debate on 23 July, which is relevant to these amendments. If we are to ensure that we return to decency in police-public relationships, these amendments may not be helpful. If they are the Government's last words, I am fearful of the future.

The Minister may insist on the Bill being completed this evening, but I suggest that he reconsiders the Government's response to the call which I and many of my hon. Friends made in July that there be an impartial inquiry into the miners strike. If we have that impartial inquiry — I stress that it must be impartial because I am not seeking to pursue any partisan interest—that would be a not unreasonable qualification of the Government's position as demonstrated in their amendment. The experience of my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford and the desperate anxieties that are felt in Britain's coalfields require that the Government should approach the matter with the flexibility and common sense that I suggest is necessary.

Mr. Giles Shaw

I recognise and fully understand the anxieties expressed by the hon. Members for Fitzwilliam — if that is what I may call the hon. Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy) — and for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse). The hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford would not expect me to comment further on the incident that he described other than to say that the matter is to be fully investigated.

The hon. Member for Wentworth rightly drew attention to the fact that it behoves us all to return as quickly as we can to normal policing with community consent. I can assure him that that is the profound desire of the police service, from the top to the bottom, in relation to the position in which it has found itself in the past few months. However, the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Sir K. Lewis) was perfectly fair. The police have had their resources stretched and have experienced real tension in order to deal with a matter of public order, which is surely at the root of the matter we are discussing. The Bill seeks to provide a framework within which policing can continue broadly to serve the country to a standard higher than anywhere else in the world that we care to name.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edumnds (Mr. Griffiths) raised some specific points. He drew attention to amendment No. 221, but it is my understanding that by recording the complaint in relation to an officer about whose conduct a complaint has been made and who is not a senior officer he is doing more than recognise that in the disciplinary procedures there are separate disciplinary actions in relation to other ranks and those of the rank of assistant chief constable and above. There is a point at which the policing authority becomes a disciplinary authority for senior officers. It does no more than record that a separation is to be made at the outset of the complaint.

My hon. Friend referred to the possible draconian powers of chief police officers including, dare I say, intimate searches. I must remind him that under the Bill as amended last Thursday there is no power for police officers to conduct an intimate search other than in the case of a class A drug. Therefore, that should not deter him.

A much more cogent point related to the position of chief officers under the clause. That was the point on which the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) opened the debate and it is a crucial point. I understand why the right hon. Gentleman is wont to select this as another piece of evidence that there is a fundamental shift in the tripartite structure of policing which the country has enjoyed for so long. Let me try to nail that point firmly to the floor. There is no intention to depart from the well tried and tested belief that policing in Britain should have a significant local authority responsibility, a significant Government responsibility, and a significant independent responsibility by chief officers of police to exercise their functions without over-intervention from either of the other parties.

The problem that we have been up against in recent months, as exemplified by the comments of the hon. Member for Pontefract and Castleford, is that the pressures have been so great that the fabric of the tripartite arrangement has shown signs of creaking. There have been police authorities — the right hon. Member for Gorton knows Greater Manchester much better than I do — which have had differences of view with the chief officers of police. There have been police authorities — South Yorkshire comes to mind—which have taken or sought to take actions in an attempt to change certain aspects of police policy against the wishes of their chief officer of police. There have also been many — happily the majority of police authorities — which have been working even in areas which have been under extreme pressure, as current events have shown, which have got on perfectly well with their chief officers of police.

7.15 pm

However, I accept that there is a need to examine the structure at this time and to ensure that we either make it work or amend it to work better. It is in that context that the proposals of which the amendments form part come before the House. In governing the actions of chief police officers there is a need to make a certain change and I shall describe the precise change which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has sought to introduce.

The right hon. Member for Gorton referred to another example of change—the use of the national reporting centre. It has been well established in the House that the NRC was first set up way back in the 1960s—I think in 1964——

Mr. Kaufman


Mr. Shaw

I bow to the right hon. Gentleman's decision. I thought that it was earlier than that— 1964 or 1968.

Mr. Kaufman

It is not my decision; it is an answer that was given to me by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Shaw

In that case it must be right.

The fact remains that over the past 12 years the NRC has been operating when called upon as a mechanism—no more than that—under which chief officers of police may distribute resources among themselves at their individual request. There is no control mechanism in the NRC that belongs to the Government, as the right hon. Gentleman conceded, nor is there any control mechanism that requires the NRC to operate under any other than the aegis of the Association of Chief Police Officers. It is a distribution point for voluntary aid. That is the way in which it is currently operating. It is not the commencement of that wedge which would drive the tripartite arrangement into a central arrangement.

The right hon. Gentleman stressed the position of chief officers. The amendments under discussion provide for a change in the way in which the police complaints authority operates. There was in the Bill as it left the House a fairly detailed description of the police complaints authority and its powers. Under amendments Nos. 217 and 218 those detailed powers have been eliminated and the police complaints authority may now investigate matters which can come from any source.

The Government accept that there is a need to use the police complaints authority in its wider role in one area only. The existing disciplinary system established under the Police Act 1964 provides that the disciplinary authority for police officers of the rank of assistant chief constable and above is indeed the police authority. That is a right and proper arrangement. Therefore, the Bill provides for it to continue and for the formalisation and clarification of the procedures for investigating complaints against senior officers.

However, there is one power which the police authority has as a disciplinary authority which is potentially capable of misuse, and which, should it be carelessly misused, could produce a difficult situation. I am referring to the power of suspension. The authority has the power to suspend an officer at the time it appears that he may have committed either a criminal or disciplinary offence but before any inquiry into the case has been carried out. That important power is at present unlimited. The House will recognise just how crucial a power it is to the morale, efficiency and effectiveness of any police force if a chief officer is to be suspended and put in limbo irrespective of whether charges which may be brought are found to have been proven. The seriousness of any suspension of an officer can be damaging to the effectiveness of a force.

Accordingly, we propose to provide in regulations that any decision by a police authority to suspend an officer of the ranks in question should be subject to ratification by the police complaints authority. We expect such a case to be a rare event, but it is important that the intention to suspend an officer of senior rank should be subject to review by an independent, non-partisan organisation. The complaints authority will achieve that status and will acquire nationwide responsibilities and experience of the complaints and discipline system. It Will be in an unrivalled position to determine such issues.

The regulations will require that the decision of a police authority to suspend a senior officer will have to be referred to the complaints authority for ratification. The complaints authority will be required to consider whether the case meets the criteria for suspension that we shall be setting out in regulation and then to notify the police authority of its conclusion.

The proposed arrangements are not intended to interfere with the legitimate exercise by a police authority of its disciplinary powers; they are meant solely as a safeguard for senior officers against the remote possibility of an arbitrary or unjust exercise of the power of suspension. In that light, they will be seen as reasonable provisions in dealing with disciplinary action affecting a senior officer.

In due course, we shall be publishing the regulations and no doubt they will come before the House so that hon. Members may examine and discuss them. We ask the House to agree with the amendments so that important changes in the police disciplinary procedures may be proceeded with as soon as possible.

Question put, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 269, Noes 146.

Division No. 476] [7.21 pm
Aitken, Jonathan Crouch, David
Alexander, Richard Dorrell, Stephen
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.
Ancram, Michael Dunn, Robert
Arnold, Tom Durant, Tony
Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H. Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)
Atkins, Robert (South Ribble) Favell, Anthony
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y) Fenner, Mrs Peggy
Baldry, Tony Fletcher, Alexander
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Bendall, Vivian Forth, Eric
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Body, Richard Fox, Marcus
Boscawen, Hon Robert Franks, Cecil
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Fraser, Peter (Angus East)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Freeman, Roger
Braine, Sir Bernard Fry, Peter
Bright, Graham Gale, Roger
Brinton, Tim Galley, Roy
Brittan, Rt Hon Leon Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Brooke, Hon Peter Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)
Bruinvels, Peter Garel-Jones, Tristan
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A. Glyn, Dr Alan
Budgen, Nick Goodlad, Alastair
Butler, Hon Adam Gorst, John
Butterfill, John Gow, Ian
Carlisle, John (N Luton) Gower, Sir Raymond
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Griffiths, E. (By St Edm'ds)
Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S) Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)
Cartwright, John Grist, Ian
Cash, William Ground, Patrick
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Gummer, John Selwyn
Chapman, Sydney Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Chope, Christopher Hargreaves, Kenneth
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Harris, David
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Haselhurst, Alan
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Cockeram, Eric Hawkins, C. (High Peak)
Cope, John Hayes, J.
Cormack, Patrick Hayhoe, Barney
Critchley, Julian Hayward, Robert
Henderson, Barry Nelson, Anthony
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Neubert, Michael
Hickmet, Richard Newton, Tony
Hicks, Robert Nicholls, Patrick
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Norris, Steven
Hind, Kenneth Onslow, Cranley
Hirst, Michael Oppenheim, Phillip
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling) Ottaway, Richard
Holt, Richard Page, Sir John (Harrow W)
Hooson, Tom Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A) Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Patten, John (Oxford)
Howell, Ralph (N Norfolk) Pawsey, James
Hubbard-Miles, Peter Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hunt, David (Wirral) Pollock, Alexander
Hunter, Andrew Porter, Barry
Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Powell, William (Corby)
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd) Powley, John
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Jones, Robert (W Herts) Price, Sir David
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Prior, Rt Hon James
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Proctor, K. Harvey
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Kershaw, Sir Anthony Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Key, Robert Rathbone, Tim
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)
Knight, Gregory (Derby N) Renton, Tim
Knowles, Michael Rhodes James, Robert
Knox, David Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Lamont, Norman Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Lang, Ian Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Latham, Michael Rifkind, Malcolm
Lawler, Geoffrey Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Lawrence, Ivan Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Lee, John (Pendle) Rost, Peter
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Rowe, Andrew
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Lester, Jim Ryder, Richard
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Sackville, Hon Thomas
Lightbown, David Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Lilley, Peter Scott, Nicholas
Lloyd, Ian (Havant) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Lord, Michael Shelton, William (Streatham)
Lyell, Nicholas Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
McCrindle, Robert Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
MacGregor, John Shersby, Michael
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Silvester, Fred
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Sims, Roger
Maclean, David John Skeet, T. H. H.
Maclennan, Robert Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
McQuarrie, Albert Soames, Hon Nicholas
Madel, David Speed, Keith
Major, John Spence, John
Malins, Humfrey Spencer, Derek
Malone, Gerald Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Maples, John Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Marland, Paul Squire, Robin
Mates, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor
Mather, Carol Steen, Anthony
Maude, Hon Francis Stern, Michael
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Mellor David Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Merchant, Piers Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Stewart, Ian (N Hertf'dshire)
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Stradling Thomas, J.
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Sumberg, David
Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon) Tapsell, Peter
Miscampbell, Norman Taylor, John (Solihull)
Moate, Roger Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Montgomery, Fergus Temple-Morris, Peter
Moore, John Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
Morris, M. (N'hampton, S) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Morrison, Hon P. (Chester) Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
Moynihan, Hon C. Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Mudd, David Thome, Neil (Ilford S)
Neale, Gerrard Thurnham, Peter
Needham, Richard Townend, John (Bridlington)
Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath) Whitfield, John
Tracey, Richard Whitney, Raymond
Trippier, David Winterton, Mrs Ann
Twinn, Dr Ian Winterton, Nicholas
van Straubenzee, Sir W. Wolfson, Mark
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Wood, Timothy
Viggers, Peter Woodcock, Michael
Waddington, David Wrigglesworth, Ian
Waldegrave, Hon William Yeo, Tim
Walden, George Young, Sir George (Acton)
Walker, Bill (T'side N) Younger, Rt Hon George
Waller, Gary
Wardle, C. (Bexhill) Tellers for the Ayes:
Warren, Kenneth Mr. Archie Hamilton and Mr. Peter Lloyd.
Watson, John
Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Gourlay, Harry
Anderson, Donald Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Hardy, Peter
Ashdown, Paddy Harman, Ms Harriet
Ashton, Joe Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Atkinson, N. (Tottenham) Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Haynes, Frank
Beith, A. J. Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh) Home Robertson, John
Bidwell, Sydney Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Blair, Anthony Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Boyes, Roland Hughes, Roy (Newport East)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E) Janner, Hon Greville
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) John, Brynmor
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith) Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Bruce, Malcolm Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Buchan, Norman Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Caborn, Richard Kirkwood, Archy
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Leadbitter, Ted
Campbell, Ian Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Litherland, Robert
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Clarke, Thomas Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Loyden, Edward
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) McCartney, Hugh
Cohen, Harry McKelvey, William
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. McNamara, Kevin
Conlan, Bernard McTaggart, Robert
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) McWilliam, John
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) Madden, Max
Corbett, Robin Marek, Dr John
Cowans, Harry Maxton, John
Craigen, J. M. Maynard, Miss Joan
Cunliffe, Lawrence Meadowcroft, Michael
Cunningham, Dr John Michie, William
Dalyell, Tam Mikardo, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (L'lli) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) Nellist, David
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Deakins, Eric O'Brien, William
Dewar, Donald O'Neill, Martin
Dormand, Jack Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Douglas, Dick Park, George
Dubs, Alfred Patchett, Terry
Duffy, A. E. P. Pendry, Tom
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Pike, Peter
Eastham, Ken Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Ellis, Raymond Prescott, John
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Radice, Giles
Ewing, Harry Randall, Stuart
Fatchett, Derek Redmond, M.
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Richardson, Ms Jo
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Robertson, George
Fisher, Mark Rogers, Allan
Flannery, Martin Rooker, J. W.
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Foster, Derek Rowlands, Ted
Godman, Dr Norman Sedgemore, Brian
Golding, John Sheerman, Barry
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Thome, Stan (Preston)
Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood) Tinn, James
Silkin, Rt Hon J. Torney, Tom
Skinner, Dennis Wallace, James
Smith, C.(lsl'ton S & F'bury) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Snape, Peter Wareing, Robert
Soley, Clive Welsh, Michael
Spearing, Nigel Williams, Rt Hon A.
Stott, Roger Winnick, David
Straw, Jack
Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Tellers for the Noes:
Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen) Mr. James Hamilton and Mr. Allen McKay.
Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 220 to 251 agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 252, after clause 84, to insert the following new clause—

Steps to be taken after investigation—general—

".—(1) It shall be the duty of the appropriate authority, on receiving

  1. (a)report concerning the conduct of a senior officer which is submitted to them under section [Investigation of complaints against senior officers] (6) above; or
  2. (b)copy of a report concerning the conduct of a senior officer which is sent to them under section 83(8) above, to send a copy of the report to the Director of Public Prosecutions unless the report satisfies them that no criminal offence has been committed.

(2) Nothing in the following provisions of this section or in sections [Steps to be taken where accused has admitted charges] to 88 below has effect in relation to senior officers.

(3) On receiving—

  1. (a) a report concerning the conduct of an officer who is not a senior officer which is submitted to him under section 80(8) above; or
  2. (b) a copy of a report concerning the conduct of such an officer which is sent to him under section 83(8) above, it shall be the duty of a chief officer of police—
    1. (i) to determine whether the report indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed by a member of the police force for his area; and
    2. (ii) if he determines that it does, to consider whether the offence indicated is such that the officer ought to be charged with it.

(4) If the chief officer—

  1. (a) determines that the report does indicate that a criminal offence may have been committed by a member of the police force for his area; and
  2. (b) considers that the offence indicated is such that the officer ought to be charged with it, he shall send a copy of the report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(5) Subject to section [Steps to be taken where accused has admitted charges] (1) below, after the Director has dealt with the question of criminal proceedings, the chief officer shall send the Authority a memorandum, signed by him and stating whether he has preferred disciplinary charges in respect of the conduct which was the subject of the investigation and, if not, his reasons for not doing so.

(6) If the chief officer—

  1. (a) determines that the report does indicate that a criminal offence may have been committed by a member of the police force for his area; and
  2. (b) considers that the offence indicated is not such that the officer ought to be charged with it, he shall send the Authority a memorandum to that effect, signed by him and stating whether he proposes to prefer disciplinary charges in respect of the conduct which was the subject of the investigation and, if not, his reasons for not proposing to do so.

(7) Subject to section [Steps to be taken where accused has admitted charges] (1) below, if the chief officer considers that the report does not indicate that a criminal offence may have been committed by a member of the police force for his area, he shall send the Authority a memorandum to that effect, signed by him and stating whether he has preferred disciplinary charges in respect of the conduct which was the subject of the investigation and, if not, his reasons for not doing so.

(8) A memorandum under this section—

  1. (a) shall give particulars—
    1. (i) of any disciplinary charges which a chief officer has preferred or proposes to prefer in respect of the conduct which was the subject of the investigation; and
    2. (ii) of any exceptional circumstances affecting the case by reason of which he considers that section 88 below should apply to the hearing, and
    3. (b) shall state his opinion of the complaint or other matter to which it relates.

(9) Where the investigation—

  1. (a) related to conduct which was the subject of a complaint; and
  2. (b) was not supervised by the Authority, the chief officer shall send the Authority—
    1. (i) a copy of the complaint or of the record of the complaint; and
    2. (ii) a copy of the report of the investigation, at the same time as he sends them the memorandum.

(10) Subject to section 87(4A) below—

  1. (a) if a chief officer's memorandum states that he proposes to prefer disciplinary charges, it shall be his duty to prefer and proceed with them; and
  2. (b) if such a memorandum states that he has preferred such charges, it shall be Ins duty to proceed with them."

7.30 pm
Mr. Shaw

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendments Nos. 253 to 260 and amendment No. 272.

Mr. Shaw

Amendments Nos. 252 and 253 replace clause 85 as it left this House. Clause 85 deals with the steps to be taken by the chief officer after a complaint investigation is completed, the decision whether to pass the report to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and whether to bring disciplinary charges. Major change was necessary. Following the debate in Committee, the criterion has been changed for reference to the DPP of minor criminal allegations.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 2.53 to 261 agreed to.

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