Section 49: consequential amendments

Part of Policing and Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 9:25 am ar 12 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice 9:25, 12 Ebrill 2016

May I say at the outset that I acknowledge and understand where the shadow Minister is coming from, even though I disagree on the need for the new clauses? We acknowledge that the new system will put pressures on the forces. We accept that, but at the moment we have a situation where the police can have unlimited police bail. That is unacceptable. We have consulted, listened carefully and 28 days should be the marker going forward. Of course, a superintendent or above can authorise extensions, and magistrates can authorise beyond that. We absolutely accept that the police will need more time in some complex cases and where the crime changes, but they have to explain why, unlike in the present system.

Whether and how the new system is working will be assessed by Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary within its police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy reviews. That is a robust system. I do not think there is a PCC or chief constable in the country who would argue that Tom Winsor’s regime is not fair and robust. Sometimes they say to me that it is not fair and robust—but it is independent, it is there, and that is exactly right. We will keep the need for further reporting under review, but I do not want to put further bureaucracy on to the PCCs.

I fully understand the inter-agency point. We need to break down the silos so that we work more closely together. However, the shadow Minister referred to the consultation in his comments; a clear majority—two thirds—of consultation responses were in favour of establishing memorandums of understanding between the agencies rather than a statutory review. That is what the consultation said, and that is why we have gone down this route rather than the statutory one. I say again that we will keep that under review—but if there is a consultation where two thirds respond in favour of one way, and they are then completely ignored in favour of the statutory route, they will argue, “What is the point of a consultation?”.

It is so early in the morning to disagree already, but although I understand where the shadow Minister is coming from, the Government, sadly, do not feel the need for new clauses 48 and 49.