Clause 1 - The Agency and its Director

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:45 am ar 13 Tachwedd 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 10:45, 13 Tachwedd 2001

I appreciate the comments of the hon. Member for Beaconsfield. As we progress through the Bill, we shall consider the issues that he raised in more detail.

I have a dilemma on this subject, because the hon. Member for Beaconsfield is worried that the director will be subject to political control and will not have a free hand, while the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) questions whether the director should have a totally free hand in relation to those whom he appoints. We are trying to achieve total operational freedom for the director in pursuing cases, and it would be wholly wrong if the Home Secretary had the capacity to interfere in that process. The director is not a law enforcement agency but a person who is appointed to pursue the proceeds of crime. Important differences therefore exist between this agency and a law enforcement agency.

Mr. Wilshire rose—