Clause 7 - Other functions etc

Part of Crime and Courts Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:15 pm ar 24 Ionawr 2013.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 4:15, 24 Ionawr 2013

I beg to move amendment 34, in clause 7, page 7, line 1, at end insert—

‘(7) The Director General must ensure any funds delegated by the NCA to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) are reserved for that purpose and this be confirmed through the annual report of the NCA to Parliament set out in section 5(2)(b).’.

As I have already indicated, the amendment is to do with our concerns about the child protection unit and what will happen to its ability to fulfil its function. The amendment seeks to ensure that as the unit is transferred to the NCA, it retains the budget required to do the job. We are also concerned about how CEOP manages its budget, because it is one of the few organisations within the police that is successful in raising money from outside sources. The amendment seeks to ring-fence that money, to give confidence to any of the organisations that give money to CEOP that it will not be siphoned off into other elements of the NCA.

There are many things about the proposal that I am sure other Committee members, in particular those with expertise in child protection, want to comment on, but CEOP generated an additional £1.8 million in partnership towards its work last year. The amendment seeks to ensure that there is accountability for where that money, if maintained, is spent. In the Lords, Lord Henley stated that he hoped the CEOP funding model would remain and, in particular, that the training services  provided for police, teaching and child protection, which allow it to generate resources, are not curtailed because partners are not confident about where the money might go.

CEOP has a budget of about £6.8 million, which is already to be reduced by 10% over the next three years, under the comprehensive spending review. The amendment would ensure that no further reduction is suffered by CEOP as it is moved into the NCA. I am mindful of our debate on Tuesday, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Delyn expressed serious concerns about the budget for the NCA as a whole. Therefore, an organisation that is able to generate its own funding but is subsumed into the NCA might be extremely susceptible to being asked to pick up the slack in any further reduction of the budget. The amendment seeks to protect it against that so that it can get on with doing its good job of tackling child protection. I hope that the Minister responds positively.