Clause 40 - Extension of powers of community

Anti-social Behaviour Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 15 Mai 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath 2:30, 15 Mai 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 68, in

clause 40, page 30, line 39, after 'cycles', insert

', skateboards, roller skates and inline skates'.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment No. 251, in

clause 40, page 31, line 2, at end insert

'skateboard user, user or roller skates or inline skates'.

Amendment No. 69, in

clause 40, page 31, leave out lines 3 to 6.

Amendment No. 71, in

clause 40, page 31, line 28, after 'cycles', insert

', skateboards, roller skates and inline skates'.

Amendment No. 252, in

clause 40, page 31, line 32, at end insert

'skateboard user, user of roller skates or inline skates'.

Amendment No. 72, in

clause 40, page 31, leave out lines 33 to 36.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

Good afternoon, Mr. O'Brien. This group of amendments address a matter that we take very seriously.

I had the benefit of a discussion with some of my colleagues during the time since the Committee rose. I do not wish to break the sanctity of the Commons Tea Room, so I shall not name the colleagues with whom I was discussing these matters. A colleague was making observations about the abuse that cyclists in central London make of traffic lights. We proceeded to the subject of how another colleague had given up cycling to and from the Palace of Westminster because he had been knocked off his bike three times in recent weeks. We then discussed the menace that so many of our

constituents suffer, particularly the elderly, from the misuse of skateboards, in-line skates and roller skates. None of us wants to be a killjoy. I am the first to recognise that it has been of great benefit when a number of local authorities, including in my own area, have built skateboard parks. Skateboards were a fad for a time, then seemed to go out of, and certainly come back into, fashion. If one has teenage children, as I have, then one is aware that many of the rock and pop videos that go with pop songs have not only pictures of young people using skateboards—here, in America and in many other countries all over the world—but promote the use of skateboards by young people as part of the pop and rock culture.

There is no doubt that there is a place for the responsible use of skateboards. Indeed in the recent local government elections, when I was canvassing in one of the housing estates on the outskirts of Camberley, which is the main town in my constituency, I was chatting to a group of young people about skateboards and the provision that there would be for new skateboard parks. They were articulate, sensible and intelligent teenagers with a point of view. I am sure that they were not the groups of youths who terrorise particularly elderly pedestrians by using skateboards inappropriately.

Given that the Government are rightly taking powers relating to cycles, we thought that it would be sensible to have a debate about whether one could make the legislation even more helpful in looking after the interests of elderly, or indeed any, pedestrians, by giving powers for similar provisions to be used when people are misusing skateboards, roller skates or in-line skates. I hope that the Minister will accept that this is a genuine attempt to improve the Bill and provide more flexible powers.

Furthermore, I have personally observed that the behaviour of cyclists has undoubtedly changed in my adult lifetime as a driver, not only in London but in towns and cities around the country. When I first learned to drive at the age of 17 the vast majority of cyclists using the road used to obey traffic lights. It was not a common practice to see lines of cars coming to a halt at traffic lights and cyclists charging through the red lights as if they did not apply to them. Now, I suspect that it is the common observation of any Member of the Committee and any citizen of London. Particularly in London, but also other towns and cities, many cyclists, both young and mature, seem to have it in their heads that red traffic lights do not apply to them. A great many accidents—

Photo of Shona McIsaac Shona McIsaac Llafur, Cleethorpes

I wonder if the hon. Gentleman has listened to or has read the Official Report of the debate held in Westminster Hall yesterday about this subject. Would he agree that increasingly it is not just cyclists, but drivers who jump red lights? It is not just one group but all groups that are breaking the law.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

The hon. Lady is right to say that there are occasions when car drivers can jump red lights and are sometimes prosecuted for it. However, I was drawing the attention of the Committee to my

observation that although it is not a universal practice—there are still law-abiding cyclists on the road—jumping the lights is very much more common. I am sure that the hon. Lady will be the first to accept that. I have not yet read the report of that debate, because of the preparation for this debate which was to start at 9.10 am. I have just spoken in the debate on the statement on the Olympics and intervened in the debate on schools funding. Unusually, I have not yet had the chance to read the Official Report of yesterday's Westminster Hall debate. Now that the hon. Lady has drawn my attention to it, I shall certainly do so. Normally, if I had not participated, I would have read the previous day's Chamber or Westminster Hall debates by mid-morning; but our bizarre new hours, which I continue to oppose, make it a great deal more difficult if one has also to attend a Committee between 9.10 and 11.25 am, and especially so if one is on the Front Bench, when one becomes more involved in the business of the House. When does one have the chance to read the Hansard of Westminster Hall debates? The hon. Lady was obviously involved in that debate—

Shona McIsaac indicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

She was not; I assumed that she knew about it because she was there. Perhaps she had no reason to be present for the statement on the Olympics or to take part in the debate on schools funding in the main Chamber, for which I was present, and only since we adjourned this morning has she had the chance to read yesterday's Hansard. I am genuinely grateful to her for drawing my attention to it.

A serious issue has been raised, which is that antisocial behaviour by cyclists and by young people who misuse skateboards, roller skates and in-line skates is an increasing problem. I now receive a lot of letters from my constituents, which I did not receive when I was first elected to the House 11 years ago, particularly from pensioners, saying that they do not feel safe when walking on the streets because groups of hooligans may knock them down by riding their skateboard or in-line skates on the pavement.

We are not suggesting that young people should not use those items when appropriate, but the amendments would add to the Bill a form of antisocial behaviour that is of increasing concern to the elderly. I hope that the Minister will take the amendments in that spirit. I may not have got it quite right, but I hope that amendments Nos. 251 and 252 make those consequential changes in the right way. No doubt the Minister will tell us whether we were right.

Amendments Nos. 69 and 72 are probing, but they would delete sub-paragraph (2) of new paragraph 11A to schedule 4 of the 2002 Act and sub-paragraph (2) of new paragraph 8A to schedule 5 of that Act. Once again, our wording might not be perfect, but given that we felt that those paragraphs might be too limiting, we thought it worth probing in order to discover whether the Bill would be more widely applicable if it were not limited to people committing an offence under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 by riding on a footway. I see no need to limit the provisions of the Bill in that way. No doubt the Minister will explain his thinking.

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow

I am intrigued. There is obviously an offence of cycling on the footway, but to what other areas does the hon. Gentleman perceive the provision extending if that limitation is moved?

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

The hon. Gentleman and I may have read the provision differently, but given the use of the word ''only'', I think that it means:

''The power . . . may only be exercised . . . in relation to a person who he''—{**ww**} the officer—

''has reason to believe has committed an offence under section 72''.

In other words, it is a restriction. It is saying that the powers can be used only against someone who has committed an offence against section 72 of the 1835 Act. If we remove that restriction, it seems to me that the application of the rest of the clause would be easier and less limited, and that it could be open to wider offences.

Many other offences than that are provided for under the Highways Act 1835. That is why I seek to remove sub-paragraph (2). There are obviously more Acts connected with the highways than the 1835 Act, including many Road Traffic Acts. If the provision is not limited to that offence under that section of the Act 1835, the clause would be more effective for a wider range of offences.

I repeat that those amendments are probing, but I shall listen with care to the Minister.

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Ceidwadwyr, Hertsmere

I listened carefully to the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins). He was right to raise the subject, which I was pleased to see was also raised in Westminster Hall, as the hon. Member for Cleethorpes (Shona McIsaac) explained. I have to confess to the hon. Lady that I have not read the Westminster Hall debate—

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

Order. I must confess that I have not read the Westminster Hall debate either, but we are not discussing it. I ask hon. Members to keep to the business in hand.

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Ceidwadwyr, Hertsmere

I am grateful for your direction, Mr. O'Brien. I shall not be asked difficult questions about the Westminster Hall debate, so you have saved my bacon.

Amendments Nos. 68 and 71 are interesting amendments. The intention of clause 40 is to extend the powers of community support officers to stop cyclists in circumstances in which the police would have the same power. The amendments would widen the circumstances and categories of people who could be stopped by community support officers. That is a sensible intention, and the amendment would fill a lacuna.

Will the Minister enlighten us about whether police officers have the same power to stop people who are using skateboards, roller skates and in-line skates in the circumstances described? It would be sensible to put community support officers' powers on the same footing as those of police officers, and I hope that the Minister will pay serious attention to that. My hon.

Friend the Member for Surrey Heath is right to draw attention to the fact that the same issues arise in connection with skateboards, roller skates and in-line skates as arise with cycles.

It has been a long time since I put on a pair of roller skates and I do not think that I have ever ascended a skateboard. If I did, I would probably be a hazard to everyone, because I would have great difficulty learning how to use it properly. I understand that there are people who use skateboards properly, and we should live and let live: if skateboards provide a source of recreation and they are used properly, I am delighted. However, the amendment is concerned with people who do not use them properly. They can pose a risk to other people and should therefore be subject to the same regime as cyclists and other users of the highway.

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow 2:45, 15 Mai 2003

I am slightly concerned by the possibility of extending the powers to cover people on skateboards and roller skates. I hear complaints in my constituency about skateboards. I have received about 70 letters complaining about a lack of facilities for skateboarders and one complaint against skateboarding, which would not have been covered by the amendments as the person in question was skateboarding in a car park rather than on the highway.

The Minister will be able to confirm whether it is correct, but my understanding is that local authorities have the power to introduce byelaws to ban the use of skateboards from, for example, town centres where they are causing a significant nuisance. Wolverhampton city council has done precisely that. I know that only because some of the skateboarders in my constituency have complained that they can no longer skateboard in the middle of Wolverhampton, although I have tabled parliamentary questions on skateboarding issues and prosecutions.

If someone should not be on a pavement, should they be on the road instead? We expect a cyclist to use the road unless they are very young and probably accompanied by a parent. However, many of us are concerned that somebody on roller skates or a skateboard might be expected to use the road, which is the implication of the provision. I am concerned about the safety implications for young children. Councils can use byelaws to deal with a particular problem in a particular area, and in large areas of the country there is no problem. To make it an offence for children to use the footpath would increase the danger to them.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Subsections (3) and (6) of clause 40 give community support officers the power to stop cyclists in order to issue a fixed penalty notice. That power is restricted to occasions on which an offence of cycling on the footway is suspected. Amendments Nos. 69 and 72 would remove the restriction.

Photo of Shona McIsaac Shona McIsaac Llafur, Cleethorpes

I am interested in the offence of cycling on the footpath. Does the legislation specify an age limit? I would not want to put my six-year-old niece on her bright pink Barbie bicycle, which has pink tassels, on to the road. She rides on the pavement, but that is deemed to be an offence.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The power to issue fixed penalty notices would not apply to children under 10, although it could technically apply to children. My hon. Friend knows that cycling on the pavement is a nuisance in some areas. We have already taken the power to issue fixed penalty notices in those circumstances, but it is obviously up to the good sense of the people who issue fixed penalty notices to issue them only in appropriate circumstances, when danger and nuisance are being caused. One would not expect community support officers to go round attempting to give fixed penalty notices to children playing on bikes. The extension of the power compliments their ability to issue a fixed penalty notice, because they do not currently have the power to stop cyclists in order to issue a fixed penalty notice.

Amendments Nos. 69 and 72 would remove the restriction. They would give community support officers and accredited persons a much wider power that is currently available to police officers. The police have that wider power of enforcement in respect of a number of offences, which might include offences relating to cycling while unfit through drink and drugs. We did not intend to expand the powers of community support officers other than where there were strong arguments for doing so. It is only right that the powers are restricted to those that are practically necessary to do the job of supporting the community.

Amendments Nos. 68, 71, 251 and 252 are designed to create a new offence of skateboarding, roller skating or in-line skating on the footway, but if that is their purpose, they would be ineffective because they would not create such a new offence. They would provide a community support officer or an accredited person and police officers with the power to stop individuals engaged in those activities.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I understand the Minister's point. He will recall that I said that I was not certain that we had drafted the amendments correctly and am grateful for the way in which he has approached them. Although he cannot accept the amendments—he will come on to the detail in a moment—will he agree to discuss with those in his Department who have responsibility for CSOs whether that would be an appropriate area for them to work in? We Conservatives had reservations about CSOs because we know that communities would prefer to have proper police officers. However, as CSOs are now in place, they will be well suited to deal with the problem, which is of concern to pensioners.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Let me pick up those points. I understand the concern behind the hon. Gentleman's amendment. I know that skateboarding, roller skating and in-line skating—I do not know why we have to list them separately—can all cause irritation and danger to pedestrians, but we must consider the safety of the skaters and other road users. Roller skates are not bicycles; bicycles are vehicles that are covered by regulations on lighting and brakes, thus allowing them to be safely used on the road. The amendment would move the legal use of skateboards and roller skates from the pathway to the road, but such wheeled devices are not designed for use in traffic. That would undoubtedly pose a danger not only to the individuals

who were indulging in the activity, but to other road users.

As the hon. Member for Ludlow (Matthew Green) said, there are sufficient powers to make byelaws to control the misuse of such devices, toys, or whatever one wants to call them, in an area where there is a problem. Several local authorities have already employed the provision to make it an offence to skateboard or to roller skate in designated areas, the offence being punishable by a fine on summary conviction.

We would need to be satisfied that existing byelaw powers were not able to deal with the problem and we would have to think through the alternatives before we considered making it an offence. There is an absolute need to plug a gap in the legislation to enable CSOs to carry out the functions that we have designated to them.

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Ceidwadwyr, Hertsmere

I am listening carefully to the Minister's detailed and helpful exposition. Can he explain the position in cases in which byelaws do not apply, but in which a skateboard is being used in an inconsiderate way that might create difficulty for other people, particularly the elderly? What powers do police officers or CSOs have to deal with somebody to bring such a difficulty or safety hazard quickly to an end?

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I am not sure that I am able to answer the hon. Gentleman off the cuff. Where it is clear that the individual is creating a danger to others, a police officer is able to intervene. For the mere use of a skateboard or roller skates on the pavement—

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Ceidwadwyr, Hertsmere

May I make it clear, which perhaps I did not, that I am not trying to get at people who use skateboards? I am concerned only about their use in a way that is inconsiderate or poses a risk.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:00, 15 Mai 2003

As I said, if there were a danger of injury or of breach of the peace, the police would have the power to intervene, but they have no power to prevent people from simply using those devices on the footway. We shall have to give the matter serious thought. It is not our intention to get CSOs sucked into traffic regulation so that they become alternative traffic wardens. They have been provided to help to combat low-level criminality and antisocial behaviour and to provide visibility for the police service. That is the role in which we have to try to use them to best effect. We would not be helping ourselves if we allowed them to be drawn off to other areas such as traffic regulation, because they would not be doing the job or performing the function for which they were brought into being.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Llafur, Don Valley

The biggest traffic problem in Don Valley is the misuse of motor cycles on the streets and in parts of the countryside where people enjoy walking. Can my hon. Friend reassure me that police officers and CSOs, when implementing the powers, will have the discretion to gauge how much of a nuisance the behaviour might be?

In some of the villages in my constituency, especially in places near shops or the post office, the

use of cycles on pavements or skateboards is totally inappropriate. In other parts of my constituency, we have tried to reduce car access by creating home zones, areas where families and neighbours are encouraged to use the streets for play—play in the best sense of the word. In those areas, discretion will need to be exercised about whether a nuisance is persistent or likely to cause injury, rather than being the harmless playful activities of children.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

That sort of common sense would have to prevail. However, my hon. Friend will know from her constituency as I know from mine that in some areas, people on cycles behave quite inappropriately. I think of paved areas in shopping precincts, where even adults can be seen travelling at speed among pedestrians and causing considerable alarm. Yes, we want common sense to prevail, but there is a real problem: community support officers could become involved and bring about some improvement.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I am glad that tabled the amendments, although I accept that they would not directly achieve our purpose. However, in response to an intervention from me, the Minister was kind enough to say that he would keep the matter under review. Other contributions, particularly those of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison) and the hon. Members for Cleethorpes and for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) have been helpful.

I accept entirely what the hon. Member for Don Valley said about misuse of mopeds or motor bikes being a major problem in many parts of the country. One of the biggest issues that I had to deal with when I first became a Member of Parliament was the despoiling of a site of special scientific interest by people riding motor bikes through it. One of the trustees of the charity responsible for looking after the nature of the area said that they were turning it into a moonscape.

Mr. Ainsworth rose—

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I will give way to the Minister once I have finished the anecdote, because it is relevant.

The problem was a lack of enforcement. That came to light when, of all bizarre things, a competitive trail bike rider appeared on BBC television's ''Grandstand'' programme; he was filmed in the area, and introduced as, ''This is so and so, speaking from his private trials area.'' The trustees of the charity responsible for protecting the area saw from the background that it was their site of special scientific interest. Only once that man had been foolish enough to allow himself to be interviewed on television about his complete misuse of an SSSI for his motor bike practice did we start to get some enforcement. But for that programme, it would have been difficult.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I did not want to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but he was a member of the Standing Committee that considered the Police Reform Act 2002, so he will know that we took powers under that legislation to enable people to deal with the nuisance and problem of motor bikes. However there is, as ever, the problem of enforcement.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I am the first to recognise that. The Minister will recall that I referred to some of my constituency problems, although I did not relate that anecdote, during those debates.

The problem is always one of enforcement. We are talking about cycles, and our proposal to extend CSOs' powers to deal with skateboards, in-line skates and roller skates. When drafting the amendments, I wondered whether to deal with them as separate categories, because in-line skates are seen as different, but there is nothing significant about the wording.

Ours might have been a much more law-abiding country then, but when I was a teenager in the early 1970s my school friends were regularly stopped by the police for not showing the proper lights. I doubt that that happens now. Some of my constituents say that teenage cyclists hardly ever have the right sort of lights at front or rear of their cycles. However, especially in these days of the ludicrous compensation culture, they also say that if any motorist hit a cyclist, even if the cyclist had put himself in danger by having no lights, the courts would probably still say that the motorist was at fault. Motorists are sometimes discriminated against because of a lack of enforcement on such things as lights on bikes at night.

As the Minister's recent intervention confirmed, we live in a world where the problem is often one of enforcement. The Government have introduced CSOs, and although we had reservations, it seems sensible to give them the widest powers to deal with such problems, which many regard as antisocial. These are the sorts of issues that arise in villages. Surrey constabulary is planning to put CSOs in some villages, but before CSOs officially came into being, some of my villages, as a matter of self-help, introduced village warden schemes—commercial companies sponsored the wardens' uniforms. My hon. Friend the Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) and I visited one of those villages when considering how to develop policy on community policing, and we met two senior officers from Surrey constabulary in the village of Lightwater in my constituency. They told us that the police were working with the village wardens—and that was before CSOs came into being.

It is important to consider whether CSOs need wider powers. The Minister helpfully said that he is prepared to keep the matter under review. As always, I am grateful to him for taking the matter seriously, although I accept that the wording of our amendment may not be quite right. Having raised the issue, no doubt others, including the Minister, will return to it. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I beg to move amendment No. 70, in

clause 40, page 31, line 7, leave out subsection (4).

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment No. 73, in

clause 40, page 31, line 37, leave out subsection (7).

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I can be brief, as these are probing amendments. We wonder whether the Secretary of State needs Henry VIII-style powers. Subsections (4)

and (7) are the Government's attempt to introduce new provisions in existing legislation, but we are always sceptical about giving the Secretary of State ever wider order-making powers.

The Minister will be able to confirm whether such matters will be dealt with by the affirmative or negative procedure, but we are always concerned about the use of such powers. New paragraph 15A(2) to schedule 4 to the Police Reform Act 2002 states:

''approved by a resolution of each House'',

so that will be the affirmative procedure. However, it is important to draw attention to the fact that the Government are constantly giving Secretaries of State the power to legislate by order. We are concerned about that in general, although it might not be as damaging here as in other fields of the law. I shall listen with interest to what the Minister has to say.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Llafur, Gedling

May I ask for clarification from my hon. Friend the Minister? I am not sure whether I properly understand, because it seems that I agree with the amendment to a certain extent. As I understand it—if I have read the explanatory notes rightly—subsection (4) delays giving community support officers the powers to give fixed penalty notices. Can my hon. Friend clarify whether subsection (4) has that effect? As I understand it, the provision relates to subsection (7), which allows the Secretary of State to use the affirmative procedure to give community support officers those powers by order.

If I am mistaken, there is no problem, but what I am driving at is this. My hon. Friend the Minister will know from this morning's debate that many of us were extremely concerned about the time scale for some of the powers being introduced. We all want community support officers to have these powers extended to them as soon as possible. We do not want a delay in the extension of those powers because we have to have a pilot scheme to see whether the idea will work, then discussions to see whether the pilot has worked, then another pilot. If that happens, before we know where we are, the exceedingly good idea of community support officers will be undermined by the fact that we as a Parliament have not given them certain powers sufficiently quickly.

Can my hon. Friend the Minister clarify whether the subsections to which I referred are saying that, as soon as the Bill is enacted, community support officers will have the power to issue fixed penalty notices under the various relevant Acts? Depending on his reply, I might then wish to respond.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Not for the first time, I agree with the hon. Member for Gedling (Vernon Coaker). The Minister has throughout Committee stage referred to the need for things to be understandable. I, too, was going to mention what seems to be a piece of legal gobbledegook found in the first paragraphs of subsections (4) and (7). Subsection (4) contains the words:

''The Secretary of State may by order provide that paragraph 1(2)(a) is to have effect as if the reference to the powers there mentioned did not include those powers''.

That seems to me complete and utter nonsense.

I cannot pretend to have come to the same conclusion as the hon. Member for Gedling on what the explanatory notes say, but no one who is not a lawyer could possibly understand what that provision means. I am sure that, with his legal knowledge, my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath could tell me if I asked him, but I am sure that the Minister, who is laughing, will agree that it is gobbledegook. I hope that he has a text that will tell us what it actually means and, more importantly, as the hon. Member for Gedling said, why it means that. I suspect that the hon. Gentleman is right. In that case, the question is why will the provision have the effect that he suggested?

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Why is the big and the pertinent question. Although the hon. Member for Surrey Heath is a lawyer, I am not sure whether he understands this measure. I do not blame him for that at all. If he thinks that it is a Henry VIII provision, I hope that I can convince him that it is not. If Opposition Members or my hon. Friends continue to press the point, I shall force them to meet parliamentary counsel and go through the measure in detail.

Subsections (4) and (7) give the Secretary of State the opportunity to exclude inappropriate offences of disorderly behaviour from being made available to accredited persons or community support officers. The amendments would remove that power. The Secretary of State already has the power to add new offences to section 1 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 by affirmative order. Penalty notices for disorder are proving to be popular with the police in their operating pilots, as the Committee knows. The scheme has the full support of the Association of Chief Police Officers. ACPO and Sir David O'Dowd's policing bureaucracy taskforce have proposed possible further penalty offences and work is currently being done to identify which offences might be suitable for adding to the scheme.

Without the power in clause 40, any offence added in future would potentially be enforceable by a community support officer or an accredited person. We consider it sensible to provide a power to restrict which new penalty offences may be used by CSOs and accredited persons, in recognition of their different roles and powers in the extended police family. The clause allows the Secretary of State to distinguish different penalty notice offences for disorder, determining which should be exclusively for the police and which may be extended to CSOs or accredited persons. That is particularly important in the case of accredited persons, who do not have the powers of arrest available to police officers or the powers of detention being piloted by CSOs. It is therefore proper to give the Secretary of State and Parliament the opportunity to consider carefully, when adding new penalty notice offences for disorder, whether it is appropriate that people other than the police should be able to enforce them.

This is not a Henry VIII clause. If and when we decide to extend the fixed penalty notices offences, we do not want those that we choose to give to the police automatically to be given to community support officers as well. The Secretary of State will be able to say, ''Yes, that one should. No, this one shouldn't''. That will all be subject to parliamentary scrutiny under the affirmative procedure.

Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Ceidwadwyr, Hertsmere 3:15, 15 Mai 2003

The Minister has given a very clear and, if I may say so, sensible explanation. When the Government come to consider whether community support officers should exercise any new powers added to the list, will he bear in mind the sentiments expressed on this side that, whatever one thinks of CSOs, we should make the best possible use of them if the taxpayer is going to pay for them?

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. As I have said, and as I know from conversations with my chief constable, the police support an agenda of the extended use of fixed penalty notices. We have that under active consideration. It would be absolutely appropriate for CSOs to deal with some of those matters, and the hon. Gentleman will get the opportunity to express his views on each individual proposal when it is introduced. However, it would be inappropriate for them to be involved in other circumstances, for example, when dealing with people under the influence of alcohol. We have always said that we need someone with constabulary powers to deal with people in those circumstances. There may be extensions that ought to be limited to police constables and not given to CSOs. This provision gives us the flexibility to do that.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I welcome the fact that there is some sort of brake on the powers being given to accredited community safety officers. It would be remiss of me not to remind the Minister of the many warnings uttered during the Police Reform Bill by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), who was very concerned about Tesco or Jarvis police. We have privately employed accredited community safety officers who will now be able to issue fixed penalty notices. When looking at training aspects and the very fact that those persons are privately employed, powers such as these must be considered very carefully, so I welcome the fact that there are some restrictions. However, I am not at all sure that there are enough restrictions, given our concerns about the private employment of those officers.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Let me disillusion the hon. Lady. In no way do I see this provision as a brake. It is a legislative device to enable us to deal with and differentiate the powers as we decide where they should be extended; it is as simple as that. It will be for Parliament to decide how far it takes fixed penalty notices and what powers it gives police constables, community support officers and accredited persons. The provision is simply a device to enable us to do that in a flexible way. I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Lady, but I think of it not as a brake but as a mechanism to allow us to go forward.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Llafur, Gedling

May I press the Minister on that point? I think that the Minister's response will help the

Committee to understand these important subsections, which the amendments would help to clarify. Page 20 of the explanatory notes lists some of the offences that could be dealt with by community support officers, should the affirmative procedure be used following the passage of the Bill. They include:

''Throwing fireworks in a thoroughfare . . . Trespassing on a railway . . . Throwing stones etc at trains . . . Knowingly giving a false alarm to the fire brigade . . . Wasting police time or giving a false report . . . Using a public communications system for sending messages known to be false in order to cause annoyance.''

I accept absolutely what the Minister says about the different powers that should be available to a police officer and a community support officer, because they are different types of uniformed presence. However, I read out that list because I want to press the Minister on something that we said this morning.

The public will not understand if it takes us one, two, or two and a half years to determine that throwing stones at a train or using a public communications system to cause annoyance should not be dealt with by community support officers. I understand that it would not be appropriate to give a community support officer the power to arrest someone with a gun who was dealing drugs, to give a ludicrous example. However—and I cannot say this forcefully enough—unless we get a move on with some of the plans, we will undermine the authority of community support officers and accredited persons who could make a valuable contribution in tackling the problems of antisocial behaviour in our communities. I think that the Minister accepted that when replying to some of what we said this morning.

I understand absolutely the sort of block that the legislation is putting on the extension of powers to community support officers, but my plea is that we should be as quick as possible about acting, while allowing proper scrutiny and thought to be given to what we are doing.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I understand my hon. Friend's frustration and the direction in which he is urging us to go. I am not saying that he is wrong; I just ask him to accept that we are travelling slightly faster than he thinks, because power to deal with all the offences listed on page 20 is already available to community support officers. The Bill gives those powers to accredited persons. The affirmative order will be needed if we want to add to that list. We are leaving my hon. Friend in some frustration, but we are a little further down the road than he accuses us of being.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I just want to check that I understand the provisions. The hon. Member for Gedling has done the Committee a service by drawing our attention to the subject. The wording of not only the clause but the explanatory notes is slightly confusing. Is the Minister saying that all the bullet points on page 20 of the explanatory notes are definitely offences that CSOs will have the power to deal with once the Bill becomes law?

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

All the offences listed on page 20 are already available—

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

For CSOs. They will now become available to accredited persons. The device that I was talking about is needed to extend the list. There may well be some offences that we will want to limit to police constables, and others to community support officers and chief constables, and there are some that we wish to give to all three. The rather complex device contained in subsections (4) and (7) is baffling to me and to most of the Committee, but it is parliamentary counsels' way of giving us that flexibility.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I did not realise when I moved what I thought were simply brief, probing amendments that we would have such and interesting and valuable debate. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Cambridgeshire about some of the phraseology chosen by parliamentary counsel, with whom the Minister was threatening his Back Benchers.

I can envisage a battle between the Plain English Campaign and parliamentary counsel. I may nominate new paragraph 9A to win the top prize in the next Plain English Campaign awards. It would very difficult to beat, but if something more confusing were nominated, it would deserve to win. Despite being a lawyer, I support the Plain English Campaign. I want legislation that is clearly understood by everybody and that works. That has been part of my aim throughout my 11 years in Parliament and for many years before that. Legislation should be understandable to every ordinary citizen.

It is part of our job as parliamentarians to use Committees such as this to explain legislation. With my hon. Friend the Member for Hertsmere, I congratulate the Minister on a very clear exposition of what this part of the Bill means, even though it is a shame that one has to press the Minister to get that explanation on the record. It would be better if parliamentary counsel were to work to the principles of the Plain English Campaign, so that we would not need such an explanation.

I echo the comments of the hon. Member for Gedling. I often agree with him about antisocial behaviour. I was confused by the explanatory notes. I thought that the notes meant that the matters in bullet points were not to be covered by CSOs. That was one possible interpretation of the explanatory notes, which are almost as confusing as the original clause. The explanatory notes state that:

''subsection (4) excludes certain offences where the offender must be drunk for the offence to apply.''

The notes go on to list the ''offences covered''. It is not clear whether that list is of the excluded or the included offences.

I was particularly concerned about the inclusion of offences relating to railways because I thought that the explanatory notes meant that those offences were to be handled only by the British Transport police and that CSOs were excluded. I was particularly concerned about that because, as co-chairman of the all-party rail group, I have always had an interest in matters such as railway safety.

Not long ago, I was on the phone to one of my borough council colleagues, Nick Sutcliffe, who was calling me on a mobile phone from a train on a

winter's evening. He was the only occupant of a well lit carriage, and, as he was talking, local hooligans were throwing stones at the train. When he wanted to take up that matter, he could not get hold of anyone from the British Transport police, even though they had a base on the station at Guildford. I wrote to the chief constable of the British Transport police, and I recently met him. I know that they do a first-class job, but it is very important that somebody in uniform ought to be able to intervene to stop that kind of hooliganism. If the Minister is right to say that CSOs have that power and that it will be extended to further accredited persons, that is a very good thing.

CSOs should likewise be able to intervene in cases of persons attempting to buy alcohol for consumption by a person under 18, consumption of alcohol in a designated public place, or fireworks being thrown in a public thoroughfare. I am sure that other hon. Members have received many letters about fireworks. I received a letter recently from a constituent who was very concerned about loud fireworks being used at an inappropriate time of night and on an inappropriate day of the year. He sent me a photograph of the ravages of his living room that had been caused by his dog being so frightened that it tore up the sofa.

Shona McIsaac rose—

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

Order. I hope that we are not going to discuss dogs tearing up living rooms because of fireworks. That is not in the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is giving way to the hon. Lady and if she wants to intervene without trespassing on other business, I do not mind.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I think that the hon. Lady has decided that discretion is the better part of valour. I too shall follow your strictures, Mr. O'Brien. By referring to the list, the hon. Member for Gedling perhaps led me down a different avenue. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Vernon Coaker Vernon Coaker Llafur, Gedling 3:30, 15 Mai 2003

May I ask the Minister to clarify something? We have just had an interesting debate on the powers that might be available to community support officers to issue penalty notices. I should like to refer the Committee back to the debate that we had this morning, because it highlights just how important clause 38 is to clause 40. Under clause 38, we discussed to whom penalty notices can be issued, whereas under clause 40 the sort of things for which penalty notices can be issued are discussed—there is a list of those things in the explanatory notes.

Under the proposals in the Bill, those notices can be issued only in pilot areas to 16 and 17-year-olds, but not—pending the results of the pilot—to all 16 and 17-year-olds and to those below the age of 16. The Minister should reflect on the list of powers for community support officers and on the fact that many of the relevant offences are perpetrated by people who are below the age at which the Bill allows the issuing of

fixed penalty notices. The power that community support officers are to be given to issue fixed penalty notices will therefore not be effective because of the age barrier. The people to whom a community support officer might want to issue a fixed penalty notice for throwing stones at a train or behaving in an insulting or threatening manner will be too young. We will have to return to that problem.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I echo the comments of hon. Member for Gedling—he is absolutely right. We covered some of the ground earlier, but it is important to recognise that the powers in clauses 38 and 40 dovetail—I see the Minister assenting. I want the Minister when he responds to confirm that the Government will at all times keep the matter under review, because we must consider what happens in pilot areas, the age limits and what offences are covered.

I was pleased to hear the Minister say in his remarks on the previous group of amendments that the Government will consider which of the further powers that the police may receive in the future will be appropriate for CSOs and which will not. I am the first to accept that there might be new offences in future and that as long as CSOs exist a decision will have to be made on whether to extend the power corresponding to each of those offences to them and to accredited persons.

The hon. Members for Mid-Dorset and North Poole (Mrs. Brooke) and for Lewes have, in relation to previous legislation, raised the question of whether private firms or security forces will be accredited for certain purposes. That reminded me of some of the debates in the previous Parliament on the Private Security Industry Act 2001. It is important to note that there is an overlap between the powers that are being given to CSOs and those given to accredited persons, who might work for a private sector company. I understand why the hon. Member for Lewes has concerns about that. However, all hon. Members who spoke on the Private Security Industry Bill, including Liberal Democrat Members, recognised that there could be a role for a responsible private security industry.

The forces of law and order all need to work together. I was pleased recently to attend the launch of the new Security Industry Authority at the QE2 centre. The right hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) has for many years been the great parliamentary expert on the private security industry and he has introduced umpteen private Member's Bills in an attempt to create something like the Security Industry Authority, so he is pleased that it has now been created. The launch was splendid.

With regard to accredited persons or CSOs, for each new set of laws we must ensure that our citizens know who has the authority to issue what and to deal with what. That is why the legislation needs to be kept under review, so I hope that the Minister will confirm that he intends to ensure that that always happens while he is at the Home Office.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I make one or two brief comments. I should like to quote the Home Secretary from the Second Reading debate on the Bill, who said:

''One thing that has really struck me over recent months is how little those who have the power to implement these policies know what they have at their disposal.''—[Official Report, 12 March 2003; Vol. 401, c. 300.]

That point has come out a lot in our discussion. Lots of existing measures are not used as fully as they might be. Although I do not have the same concern about rushing on, full information about the new measures should be available as soon as possible.

The example of cycling, which we have been talking about, is pertinent. I can never get the police in my constituency to take any action about cycling on the pavements because they rightly say that there are lots of situations in which it is safer than cycling on the road. I accept that, but they turn that argument on end and say, ''Well, for that reason we can't police the shopping parade because, you know, it's very dangerous.'' I should like to be able to go back to the police and say, ''Well, I've been told that you really can do certain roads where it's dangerous.'' I have not been able to say that before.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

Order. We are not talking about cyclists in this clause, which is about the extension of the powers of community support officers. Cycling is in the previous clause, not in this one.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

I am sorry. Carry on, Mrs. Brooke.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

First, I apologise, Mr. O'Brien. I was slightly off the point, although I was restrained in what I said earlier, so I hope that you will bear with me, Mr. O'Brien. I make the general point that I want powers to be enforced, because young people and adults cycling in shopping centres is one of my biggest bugbears when it comes to dangerous activities.

On extending the powers, we discussed the issue of giving the power to issue fixed penalty notices to CSOs under an earlier clause, but I fear that introducing that in my county and police force could take some time. Despite my concerns, I wrote to the police and suggested that a CSO be deployed in part of my constituency. I was told, ''Sorry, but no. The trials for the first ones are all going to be in the west of the county.'' That is many miles from my constituency. Progress will be a long time coming if CSOs are not going to be deployed in my part of Dorset for another couple of years. None the less, I would prefer to get the legislation right than to rush ahead.

I am concerned about some of the powers that are being given to the accredited community safety officers. I am perfectly happy with those who are employed by the local authority and the police. Although I accept what the hon. Member for Surrey Heath said—that there is a role—cane there be a full role when a private company employs those people? The aspirations and objectives are restricted. I am not happy with the way in which that fits into the scheme of things.

There are many irritating although not serious aspects of antisocial behaviour that need to be tackled. The sooner we nip those in the bud, which is what the clause is about, the sooner we can stop things before they get out of control.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Llafur, Don Valley

I rise to reinforce the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling. I shall refer to the offences that will be covered by fixed penalty notices, which are listed in the explanatory notes to clause 40. I do not want to be ageist and yes, someone of more mature years could commit any of those offences, which include throwing fireworks in a thoroughfare, trespassing on a railway, throwing stones at trains or other things on to railways, wasting police time or giving a false report, and consumption of alcohol in a designated public place. However, I know from what I see in my local communities and what is reported to me that, much of the time, such offences are committed by people who are younger than 18. They are certainly committed by 16 and 17-year-olds, or by children aged as young as 10 and, in the most extreme cases, even younger.

We want legislation that will be effective when used on the ground. That is what the Bill is all about: making politics relevant to the public and recognising that what we do here has an impact on lives out there. In recognising the important role that community support officers can play in enforcing policies designed to tackle antisocial behaviour, my concern is that, when a CSO is patrolling an area, nine times out of 10 he or she will be unable to apply a fixed penalty notice for an offence because the person causing the problem is under the age provided for in the Bill. That was also raised under clause 38. Does the hon. Gentleman wish to intervene?

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Opposition Whip (Commons)

I rise merely to endorse many of the points that the hon. Lady is making. She is right that many of those offences, by their very nature, are committed by people who are below the age threshold. In the spirit of cross-party co-operation, I simply wanted to say that she has hit the nail on the head.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Llafur, Don Valley

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his support. In some respects under the Bill, we are considering those circumstances in which rather more substantial evidence of persistent behaviour is required, as we discussed in relation to antisocial behaviour orders. We are also considering where we can nip activities in the bud and be seen to take effective action quickly on behalf of the community that is suffering because of what antisocial behaviour does to people's lives. I have always been reassured that the Government recognise that part of dealing with young offenders is nipping problems in the bud early on.

In the context of our discussion about the use of parenting orders, it is important that people recognise that they have responsibilities for their children. Although a 14 or 15-year-old may not have ready money to pay the fixed penalty, I am afraid that the parents might have to cough up and recognise that their child is causing a problem. That may lead to discussion in the family with a view to stopping the behaviour happening. There are serious issues about effectiveness, dealing with the real world and ensuring that CSOs do not find that 90 per cent. of the time they cannot use the powers. I urge my hon. Friend the Minister, who I know is open to debate during the

passage of the Bill, to think about whether we need to revisit that issue.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Opposition Whip (Commons)

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Don Valley, because there was a great deal of common sense in much of what she said. I did not intend to participate in the debate on the clause, but as the argument developed, we got into a debate not only about the powers that the legislation covers, but about some of the powers that have been left out.

My hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath gave the example of antisocial behaviour caused by skateboarding. That is a particularly prevalent problem in my constituency, so I wanted to touch on it. My argument, which I shall develop, is that the way to address the problem is through a combination of powers for the police and CSOs and the provision of suitable facilities, so that young people, who have little excuse for indulging in antisocial behaviour anyway, have no excuse whatever, because it is perfectly obvious that bespoke facilities are available to them. That would enable them to skateboard peacefully without causing an antisocial nuisance to anyone in the locality.

Let me quickly give the Minister the flavour of that argument. Two areas of my constituency—the town of Rayleigh—are affected. One is the high street, and the other is in an area around the Mill Hall. Groups of young people often skateboard there, particularly just after schools have finished for the day. They have caused a degree of antisocial nuisance to people going about their business. I have discussed the issue at some length with my local police, including the new divisional commander, Superintendent John Malger, who is a very proactive leader, and Inspector Bill Cody, who covers the Rayleigh section. They made the reasonable point that these young people are not—in most cases, at least—attempting to be antisocial; they are not going out of their way to wind people up, in the modern patois. They skateboard in these areas because they feel that they have nowhere else to go, but that obviously causes a nuisance to other people.

So that I could hear it from the horse's mouth, those police officers organised an opportunity for me to go out with them early one evening to speak to the kids involved. I asked the kids what they wanted and what would improve the situation. Again and again, they said—in their own idiom, as it were—''Give us a skateboard park and we won't have to cause a nuisance to anyone in these areas. If the local council finds us a skateboard park, we won't cause the problem.'' The police amplified that argument by saying that if such a facility were provided, they would be really hard-nosed with any young people who did play up, because they could then say, ''Come on, there's a facility for you. You've got absolutely no excuse.''

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow 3:45, 15 Mai 2003

I am closely following the hon. Gentleman's speech—it is very good. What concerns me, however, is that he needed the police to set up a meeting with the young people who were skateboarding. I should have thought that he could contact them quite easily. Indeed, I have had young

skateboarders come into my surgeries, so I am surprised that it took the police to organise a meeting for him.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Opposition Whip (Commons)

I would like to say that I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but that would not be truthful of me. Of course I do not need the police to help me to speak to young people in my constituency, and it was rather childish of him to imply that I did. However, the police suggested the meeting.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

Order. This is a wide and very interesting debate, but we should stick to what is before us. I know that the hon. Gentleman is trying to give examples, but he should narrow his comments down to the clause.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Opposition Whip (Commons)

That is a very fair point, Mr. O'Brien, but I think that you will agree that I was somewhat provoked by a rather silly comment. Suffice it to say that the police offered the facility and I thought that it would be a good idea to take advantage of it.

We should adopt a combination of approaches. First, there must be powers that police officers and community support officers can employ using their discretion in the normal way. Secondly, we must provide suitable facilities so that young people—particularly those of the type to which the hon. Member for Don Valley referred—realise that it is a pretty straight case and that they have a moral obligation to use facilities for which they have argued for a long time.

To round off, I am delighted to say that Rochford district council has recently approved the creation of a facility in the Park School area. I hope that it will open before too long so that the problem of antisocial behaviour is removed from my constituency. Then, the children and the police will be happy, and so will the rest of my constituents. We need a combination of powers and facilities, and I hope that the Minister will take the point on board.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

This has been a broad debate. I suppose that that is inevitable because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling rightly said, we need to consider clause 40 in the context of clause 38.

My hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley and other members of the Committee are concerned that the issue may need to be revisited. Legislatively, however, it need not be. Taken together, clauses 38 and 40 provide for extending the use of fixed-penalty notices in both the directions that may be required. Clause 38 extends the provisions to 16-year-olds, but we also take the power to extend them—with parliamentary approval—down to the age of 10, if necessary.

Obviously, those are decisions for the future, but the powers are available in secondary legislation. There is no need for further primary legislation to extend the provisions to young people who are creating problems. Parliament can take legislative steps quickly if it decides to do so.

Clause 40 gives us the ability to extend the range of fixed penalty notices in a flexible way, giving some powers to issue them to accredited persons, some to CSOs and some exclusively to police officers, so that,

legislatively, we are covered. This debate, and some of our previous debates, have shown that we are being pushed in two different directions. We heard the Liberal Democrats speaking to amendments that urged us not to go ahead, or at least to evaluate before going ahead, and I accept that there is a lobby that reflects that view. Some people are also concerned about the extension of fixed penalty notices.

There are also the views of our own constituents and the lobby outside Parliament—mostly the police—that have been reflected in the discussions in the Committee, and which could be summarised as, ''Don't mess around—get on with it, and give people the powers.'' [Hon. Members: ''Hear, hear.''] All I would say to my hon. Friends is that the legislation does not need revisiting, because it already enables us to do exactly that.

The Government, and Parliament, need to decide at what speed we shall extend those powers, and I know that I—and the Home Secretary and everyone else—will think seriously about what has been said in the Committee. We will, of course, listen to those outside Parliament who urge us to be cautious, but we also need to listen to those who want the powers provided because they can be so effective.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 40 ordered to stand part of the Bill.