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Commons Amendments

Volume 413: debated on Tuesday 21 October 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

13 Clause 2, page 3, line 25, after 'below' insert 'and of subsection (1) ( b) of section 3 of this Act'.

14 Clause 2, page 3, line 26, after 'him' insert—

'(dd) where the person requests such intimation to be sent as is specified in section 3(1)(b) of this Act, the time when such request is—
  • (i) made;
  • (ii) complied with;'.
  • My Lords, I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 13 and 14. Perhaps I may also speak to Amendments Nos. 16, 17, 18 and 19. This group of amendments provides additional safeguards for detained and arrested persons. Amendments Nos. 13 and 14, 17 and 19 provide for a detained person to be told of his right to have intimation sent to his solicitor and another person; and require that a record should be kept of when he is informed, when he asks for intimation to be sent, and when his request is complied with. The amendments which achieve this purpose were made in another place in fulfilment of an undertaking which I gave on Report in this House to the noble Lord, Lord Monson.

    Amendment No. 16 specifies that a constable's duty to inform a suspect that he need answer no questions except to give his name and address must be carried out both on detaining him and on arrival at the police station or other premises.

    Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 impose a new statutory duty on the police, in cases where they detain or arrest a child who appears to be under 16 years of age, to inform the parent or guardian immediately and to allow them access to the child. However, there will be no absolute right of access where there is reasonable cause to suspect that the parent or guardian is involved in the alleged offence. For example, occasionally children are involved by their parents in shoplifting expeditions, and it seems reasonable to allow the police the right to deny the parents access to the child during investigations into cases of that kind. However, in the vast majority of cases it is the existing practice of the police to allow access to the parents, including during any questioning. These amendments give a first statutory basis to existing good practice.

    Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said amendments.—( The Earl of Mansfield.)

    My Lords, the noble Earl spoke to Amendment No. 19 at the same time, and that is the only one on which I have a point. It is this. I welcome Amendment No. 19 as being an improvement to the Bill. It is the amendment giving the child's parent, or the apparent child's parent, the right of access. But what is not clear from the Bill, as I read it, is who it is who exercises the discretion and makes the judgment which requires to be made in the case where there is reasonable cause to suspect that the parent has been or may have been involved in the alleged offence. Is that judgment one which falls to be made by the constable who arrests or detains, or is it a judgment that falls to be made by the officer in charge of the police station?

    My Lords, the statutory duty is placed on the police and, therefore, one would assume—I think rightly—that the duty is on what I would call the officer in charge of the case.

    On Question, Motion agreed to.