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POLICE & MAGISTRATES COURTS BILL RECEIVES ROYAL ASSENT

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The Police and Magistrates Courts Bill received Royal Assent yesterday. ...
The Police and Magistrates Courts Bill received Royal Assent yesterday.

The Act gives effect to proposals for police reform set out in the White Paper 'Police Reform: the government's proposals for the police service in England and Wales', published on 28 June 1993;

and to those parts of the proposals on police responsibilities and rewards which were announced by the Home Secretary on 28 October 1993 and which required primary legislation.

Police Areas, Police Forces & Police Authorities Sections 1 to 3 and Schedules 1 and 2 make amendments to the Police Act 1964 in relation to police areas, police forces and police authorities.

Section 1: England and Wales will be divided into the police areas listed in the new Schedule 1A, together with the City of London police area and the Metropolitan Police district.

Section 2: provides for the maintenance of police forces by the establishment of new police authorities for every police area (other than the Metropolitan Police district and the City).

Section 3: makes provision for the membership of the new police authorities. Each police authority is to have 17 members, except where the Secretary of State provides by order for an authority to have a larger number of members.

Schedule 2: makes provision about the composition of police authorities the appointment of members to police authorities, and for the appointment of the chairman, their tenure of office, eligibility for appointment and allowances.

Police authorities will normally have 9 councillor members, 5 independent members and 3 magistrate members.

Functions and Duties of New Police Authorities

Section 4: sets out the general functions and duties of the new police authorities. It requires every police authority annually, after consulting the chief constable, to set local policing objectives and to issue a local policing plan.

The section also requires every police authority to issue a report on the policing of its area in the previous year.

It imposes a duty on the police authority, in the exercise of its functions, to have regard to any objectives determined by the Secretary of State, any local objectives or performance targets which it has established and any code of practice issued by the Secretary of State, and to comply with any direction given to it by the Secretary of State in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

Chief Constable, Assistant Chief Constables, Other Ranks

Section 5: sets out the general functions of chief constables and makes provision for the appointment and removal of chief constables.

Each police force is to be under the direction and control of the chief constable.

Section 6: makes provision for the appointment of assistant chief constables and for a chief constable to designate an assistant chief constable to exercise the powers and duties of the chief constable in his absence. There are no longer to be deputy chief constables.

Section 7: provides that in addition to the ranks of chief constable and assistant chief constable, the ranks which may be held in a police force are superintendent, chief inspector, inspector, sergeant and constable. There are no longer to be chief superintendents.

Civilians

Section 10: provides for the employment of civilians by police authorities. It requires that, except where the police authority and the chief constable agree otherwise persons employed by the police authority should be under the direction and control of the chief constable of the force maintained by the authority.

Section 11: requires a police authority to appoint a clerk, and makes provision for the appointment of staff to offices specified under any Act.

Alterations in Police Areas

Section 13: enables the SoS to make alterations by order to police areas in England and Wales, other than the City of London police area, and imposes restrictions upon the alterations he may make. It also provides for interested parties to be consulted about alterations not requested by police authorities.

The section requires him to consider and respond to objections raised to proposed alterations by any of the parties whom he is required to consult.

Functions of the SoS

Section 14: supplements the 1964 Act by inserting new sections 28A-28D concerning the functions of the SoS.

New sections 28A and 28B: enable him to set objectives for policing and to require performance targets to be set for measuring the achievement of these objectives.

New section 28C: empowers the SoS to issue codes of practice relating to the exercise of police authority functions.

New section 28D: empowers the SoS to require an inspector of constabulary to carry out an inspection under section 38 of the 1964 Act.

Where the inspector reports that, in his opinion, the force is not efficient or not effective, or may cease to be efficient or effective, this section empowers the SoS to direct the police authority responsible to take remedial action.

Financial Arranqements

Section 16: makes new provision for the payment of grant for police purposes to police authorities and to the Receiver for the Metropolitan Police District by the SoS.

It also empowers the SoS to make grants in respect of capital expenditure and in connection with the safeguarding of national security.

Sections 25 to 29: set out the financial regime for new police authorities. The new police authorities will be funded by police grant under section 16, together with revenue support grant and non-domestic rates. They will precept on constituent local authorities for that proportion of their budgets which will be met by the council tax.

Decisions on the precept and the budget require the approval of at least half the membership of the police authority, which must include at least half the councillor members.

The SoS may give directions to a police authority as to the level of its budget where he has received an adverse report from an inspector of constabulary under new section 28Dn(see `Functions of SoS' above.)

Section 30: makes separate provision for the initial financing of the new police authorities before April 1995.

Conditions of Service Discipline

Section 17: makes revised provision concerning regulations about the administration and conditions of service of police forces.

It requires such regulations to provide for procedures for cases in which a police officer may be dismissed or otherwise subject to management action and to make particular provision for senior officers.

It provides that regulations may not provide for fixed term appointments other than for officers of the rank of superintendent or above.

Section 18 and Schedule 3: make new provision for appeals by police officers against dismissal to a tribunal; and for the powers, membership and procedures of tribunals.

Inspectorate of Constabulary

Section 19: makes amended provision concerning the functions of inspectors of constabulary to require them to report on the efficiency and effectiveness of every police force maintained for a police area.

Section 20: inserts new provision relating to reports to the SoS from inspectors of constabulary. It makes provision for the publication of such reports and of the comments of the police authority and the chief officer of the force thereon.

Section 21: amends the provision of the 1964 Act relating to the appointment of assistant inspectors of constabulary and staff officers.

Sponsorship

Section 24: permits a police authority to accept gifts and loans in connection with the discharge of its functions. This provision includes the acceptance of commercial sponsorship.

Other Provisions

Section 8: requires each new police authority to set up a police fund and to keep accounts of payments made into or out of the fund.

Section 9: provides police authorities with the power to provide goods and services to any person.

Section 12: requires arrangements to be made for questions on police matters to be put to police authority members at the meetings of relevant councils.

Section 15: requires a police authority to submit a report to the SoS on any matter connected with the policing of its area if he requires it to do so.

Section 22: makes fresh provisions empowering the SoS to provide and maintain, and to charge for the provision of, common services. It also enables him to require police forces to participate in a common service where this is in the interests of efficiency or effectiveness.

Section 23: inserts a new provision which enables county and district councils and London borough councils to make grants to police authorities, or the Receiver of the Metropolitan Police District where appropriate.

Section 31: provides for the validation of calculations of police grant for the financial years 1980-1 onwards.

Section 32: amends section 88 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, removing the appropriate authority's power to refer a matter to the Police Complaints Authority which is not the subject of a complaint, but which indicates that an officer may have committed an offence against discipline.

Section 33: amends section 90 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to provide that, where a report on a police officer who is not a senior officer indicates that a criminal offence may have been committed, the report must be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions, and to enable the Secretary of State to specify in regulations when a memorandum is to be sent under section 90.

Section 34: amends section 93 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, changing the powers to be exercised by the Police Complaints Authority when a memorandum is sent under section 90.

Section 35: repeals section 67(8), 92, 94, 101, 102 and 104 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The repeals of sections 67(8), 94,101 and 102 enable the introduction of less formal discipline procedures.

The repeal of section 92 is consequential on Section 30; the repeal of section 94 has the result that a police officer may be dealt with under the disciplinary procedures although he may have faced criminal charges in relation to the same matter.

Section 36: provides a saving for current complaints procedures in forces not maintained by police authorities.

Section 37: amends the provisions of the Local Government Act 1992 in relation to recommendations made by the Local Government Commission about the structure of police force areas in England.

Section 38: amends the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 in relation to police areas in Wales.

Section 39: amends the Metropolitan Police Act 1856 to remove the limit on the number of assistant commissioners.

Section 40: amends section 54 of the Firearms Act 1968 and deems members of police forces and persons employed by a police authority who are under the direction and control of a chief officer of police to be Crown servants for the purposes of that Act.

Section 41 and Schedule 4: apply to police authorities a number of enactments relating to local authorities, providing for them to be treated as local authorities for certain purposes.

Section 42 and Schedule 5: make a number of minor and consequential amendments relating to the police in England and Wales.

Section 87: requires existing police authorities and the new police authorities to co-operate with each other and to facilitate the implementation of the Act.

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