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 Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 10:45, 13 Tachwedd 2001

We must consider the role of the director, and his or her functions. The extent to which the director is an independent law enforcement officer or an officer who does the bidding of the Home Secretary is ambiguous. I flag that up, because the point is important.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, for example, has complete independence. The Attorney-General cannot interfere with the exercise of his discretion, and nobody would suggest that that should be the case. However, a hybrid product is being created, and I am concerned about that, as the explanation provided is unclear. Will the director be left to get on with the job, with the exercise of his or her discretion ring-fenced from any influence from others, or will the director merely play an executive role by carrying out the will of the Government in respect of the proceeds of crime, confiscation and civil recovery? The document that the Minister provided suggested that the director would not have as much autonomy as the DPP. The Committee will return to that matter as it discusses the legislation further, but I want to flag up the fact that I wish the Minister to clarify the role that the Home Secretary will play in exercising influence over the actions of the director.