Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill report stage: day one

30 June 2011

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill began its report stage – further opportunity to consider all amendments – in the House of Lords on Wednesday 29 June. Amendments discussed covered Clause 1 and Schedules 1 and 2 of the Bill. Members of the Lords voted against an amendment on the appointment of a non-executive board to work with each police and crime commissioner

A second day of report stage is scheduled for Monday 4 July.

Amendment 3, moved by Lord Harris of Haringey, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and former member of the Association of Police Authorities, sought to create a governance structure to support police and crime commissioners by the appointment of a non-executive board that would specifically ensure good governance of financial, staff and equality matters.

Moving the amendment, Lord Harris explained: ‘It is about making sure that decisions are taken properly and transparently so that these single individuals cannot be subjected to criticism that they have acted in a wilful or inappropriate way. It says that on key financial matters, key personnel matters and on matters perhaps relating to equalities, they must act with the support of a group of non-executives who would be appointed for this purpose.’ These individuals would have ‘very substantial personal mandates’ with ‘all the authority and perhaps arrogance that that brings,’ he said. The amendment would provide the public with an assurance that good governance was being followed: ‘It would provide a mechanism by which you could make sure that those decisions were taken in a sound and proper way.’

The House disagreed with the amendment, voting against it by 201 votes to 186.

Further information

The Bill covers five main policy areas:

  • police accountability and governance 
  • alcohol licensing 
  • regulation of protests around Parliament Square
  • misuse of drugs
  • arrest warrants in respect of private prosecutions for universal jurisdiction offences.

The House of Lords agreed to two amendments during committee stage: Amendment 31, moved by Baroness Harris of Richmond, which would insert a new clause after Clause 1 to establish a Police Commission. The amendment is consequential to Amendment 1, also moved by Baroness Harris, which was agreed to by the House on the first day in committee. Amendment 1 removes proposals for the election of Police and Crime Commissioners from the Bill.

The Bill completed all its stages in the House of Commons on 18 February and had its first reading in the House of Lords on 1 April.

The Bill has been the subject of three select committee reports:

Report stage gives all Members of the Lords further opportunity to consider all amendments – proposals for change – to a Bill.

Image: iStockphoto

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