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Police Act 1996 (Amendment and Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2022

Volume 823: debated on Tuesday 5 July 2022

Motion to Approve

Moved by

My Lords, it is interesting to see how many people are in the House following the previous debate; I followed it with great interest. Before I start this debate, I just want to say that this will be my 1,000th contribution in your Lordships’ House.

Through these regulations, we are proposing to change the name of the Hampshire police area to “Hampshire and Isle of Wight”. This will better reflect the make-up of the police area and the communities it serves across both counties of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. I thank Donna Jones, the police and crime commissioner for Hampshire, for her representations on this important local matter.

There is significant local support for this amendment, with 82% of local residents stating their support in a consultation carried out by the PCC. The standout reason cited was the simple fact that Hampshire Constabulary serves two counties: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Respondents also noted that those on the island sometimes feel forgotten, and there was a feeling that a more inclusive name would help to address that.

The approval by Parliament of these regulations will therefore respond to the specific requests of the people of the Isle of Wight, recognising their strong sense of identity. It will also better reflect Hampshire Constabulary’s full geographical coverage and bring the force into line with the corresponding fire service, which rebranded as Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Service following the recent merger of the island and mainland fire services.

The names of police areas and the power to amend those names are set out in the Police Act 1996. Section 31A of the Act contains provisions that allow for the Secretary of State to amend these names by regulations subject to the draft affirmative procedure. This instrument will amend Schedule 1 to the Act, which sets out the names of all police areas in England and Wales with the exception of the Metropolitan Police District and the City of London police area.

This instrument will also amend Articles 34 and 35 of the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections Order 2012, which make provision in relation to election expenses in police areas. These articles include references to “Hampshire”, which, through these regulations, will be substituted with “Hampshire and Isle of Wight”. This will provide consistency throughout legislative references to the Hampshire police area.

Should this amendment be approved in both Houses, the Government intend to make a further statutory instrument, subject to the negative resolution procedure, to come into force at the same time as these regulations to reflect the name change in other secondary legislation. Together with the strong local support, I hope that I have made a clear case for enacting this important local amendment. I beg to move.

My Lords, I thank the Minister for explaining this statutory instrument. I have only one question. When debates around the amalgamation of police forces have occurred previously, in that 43 is considered to be too many, one of the main concerns has been the cost—for example, in the changing of uniforms and the changing of signage on police stations and vehicles. What consideration has been given to those costs that are consequential to the change in the police area’s name? Otherwise, clearly there is considerable local support for this change. We support it, provided that the money is made available and the costs of any change to signage, uniforms and the like do not come at the cost of providing policing services to local people.

My Lords, I congratulate the Minister on her 1,000th contribution to this House; it is nice that it is on a non-contentious issue. As she says, there is considerable local support for this change in name. The question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Paddick, about the cost implications of this change in name was interesting, and I would be interested to hear the answer, but we are happy to support this statutory instrument.

My Lords, I am pleased that my 1,000th contribution is on a totally uncontroversial issue.

There will be no significant cost to the Government as a result of the instrument. The PCC has provided assurances that, similarly, there will be no significant costs incurred locally to the detriment of the police force. To ensure that that is the case, the change will be phased over a number of years when items need replacing, to ensure that there is no unnecessary additional cost and no major rebranding exercise. I happily commend the regulations to the House.

Motion agreed.