Lords Constitution Committee criticises Government’s reform proposals

06 May 2011

The Government’s reform proposals risk politicising operational decision-making by the police says the House of Lords Constitution Committee in report published today (Friday 6 May)

In its report on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, the Committee stresses that operational independence of the police is rightly regarded as a constitutional imperative. The Government have not yet set out the concepts of operational responsibility and impartiality.

The Committee states that the Government should not change police governance before it can show that reform will not compromise operational independence. To this end, it calls for parliament to be given the opportunity to scrutinise the Government’s promised protocol setting out the roles and powers of ministers, chief constables, police and crime commissioners and other bodies under the reforms.

Committee Chairman, Baroness Jay of Paddington, said: “The radical reforms promised by the Government must not come at any cost. These proposals risk seriously compromising the independence of police operations. It is therefore essential that the Government publish the promised protocol before the Bill starts its committee stage in the House of Lords.”

Further information

The House of Lords Constitution Committee examines all Public Bills for constitutional implications and investigates broad constitutional issues. It is one of the five permanent investigative committees in the House of Lords. 

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