Clause 42

Part of Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 1:00 pm ar 22 Tachwedd 2007.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 1:00, 22 Tachwedd 2007

I welcome you back, Mr. O’Hara. I also welcome the Conservative Opposition and Government Members. I have just a couple of questions on clause 42, which relate to listed persons under subsection (6). I appreciate that this list is capable of extension, but in the first instance I want to ask whether the Minister considered the view that the Police Complaints Authority should be part of the list. If she did, why did she reject that view? It seems a very obvious body that should be listed for this degree of co-operation and the potential to carry out joint investigations, particularly in the context of our consideration this morning. I am genuinely surprised that the Police Complaints Authority is not listed. It looks to me as though it may be an omission.

I shall be more diffident in making my next suggestion. I am sure that I will display my ignorance here, but I am not sure what the interface might be for those in detention with the military police authorities and whether the Provost Marshal should be listed, because there will be circumstances in which civilians are apprehended through the military police, or in which a prisoner who has been dealt with through a court martial might be transferred to the civilian estate, or in which a service person is before a civilian court. I can conceive of circumstances in which the Provost Marshal or a complaints body that might apply in the context of the military system—I am not sure that one exists at the moment, but one might exist of which I am not aware—should be a listed body, as well.

I wonder who would be the appropriate body in the case of a similar position in Scotland. The Scottish public services ombudsman is listed, but nobody is who has a direct remit in the investigation of matters within the penal system in Scotland. I do not know enough  about Scots law and Scottish arrangements to know who that would be—whether the issue would be directly investigated by the Advocate-General or under the Advocate-General’s supervision, or whether it would be a matter for a procurator fiscal. There may well be occasions when a joint investigation or the sharing of data and, potentially, a joint report, might be appropriate. I would be grateful if the Minister commented on those thoughts.