LGA briefing: Policing and Crime Bill

House of Lords, Third reading, Monday 19 December 2016

Key messages

  • Collaboration agreements (Chapter 1): The proposals in Chapter 1 of the Bill to allow the three ‘bluelight' services to enter collaboration agreements will assist areas in building on the arrangements already in place across the country. It is however important that any new duty should not limit the ability of Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to collaborate on a wider basis, such as with the health service.
  • Police and Crime Commissioners: Fire and Rescue Functions (Chapter 2): We have supported amendments to Chapter 2 of the Bill, to ensure any proposals for the transfer of fire governance to Police and Crime Commissioners are supported by the relevant local authorities and local people following consultation. It is positive to see Police and Crime Commissioners will publish their response to the representations made on the consultation for governance changes.
  • Licensing (Part 7): We supported a new clause the on cumulative impact assessments, which clarifies that licensing authorities have a legal right to publish cumulative policies that enable them to take into account the impact of multiple existing premises in an area when considering new applications in that area. We have also called for the Licensing Act 2003 to be amended to promote the health and wellbeing of the local area.

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Policing and Crime Bill - Third Reading - House of Lords 19 December 2016


House of Lords, Report Stage, Wednesday 7 December 2016

  • The LGA supports Amendment 172A tabled by the Lord Bishop of Bristol and Lord Beecham. This would enable licensing authorities to place conditions on the availability and use of gaming machines in licensed premises. Recent research indicating higher levels of problem and at risk gamblers near clusters of betting shops demonstrates why councils need extra powers to control the availability gaming machines.
  • The LGA supports Amendment 173A, tabled by the Lord Bishop of Bristol and Lord Beecham, which seeks to give councils stronger powers to impose conditions to restrict single members of staff from working alone in betting shops.
  • We are calling for further clarity on Amendment 193, tabled by Baroness Brinton and Lord Rosser. This seeks to insert a new clause on the establishment and conduct of homicide reviews. The clause proposes the introduction of homicide reviews for unsolved murders involving victims aged over 16. Further clarity is required on what councils could add to the review process, and how homicide reviews would relate to domestic homicide reviews.

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LGA Briefing - Policing and Crime Bill, House of Lords, Report Stage, Wednesday 7 December 2016


House of Lords, Report Stage, Wednesday 30 November 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA supports Amendment 3, tabled by Baroness Williams of Trafford, which would ensure emergency services collaboration agreements are subject to the agreement by all parties involved. It is important that local partners have greater flexibility to vary agreements where necessary, as best suited to their local area.
  • We support Amendments 5 and 6 by Baroness Williams of Trafford, which would prevent the transfer of governance from a Fire and Rescue Authority to a Police and Crime Commissioner if public safety is adversely affected.
  • We support Amendments 7 and 8 by Baroness Williams of Trafford, which would give greater flexibility to arrangements between the chief police constable and the fire and rescue authority when a transfer of governance occurs.

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Policing and Crime Bill' House of Lords, Report Stage, Wednesday 30 November


House of Lords, Committee Stage, Wednesday 9 November 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA supports Amendment 209C to insert a new clause after Clause 122, tabled by Baroness Williams of Trafford, which seeks to ensure licensing authorities give regard to cumulative impact assessments when determining or revising licensing policy. This clarifies that licensing authorities have a legal right to publish cumulative policies that enable them to take into account the impact of multiple existing premises in an area when considering whether further authorisation in that area should be made.
  • We also support Amendment 209D to insert a new clause after Clause 122, tabled by Baroness Williams of Trafford, on late night levy requirements. The amendment would allow licensing authorities to decide whether a late night levy should apply to premises in a particular part of their area, rather than to whole local authority areas.
  • We support Amendment 211 to insert a new Clause after Clause 122, tabled by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, to amend Section 4 of the Licensing Act 2003 to promote the health and wellbeing of the locality and local area. In 2016 an LGA survey of Directors of Public Health revealed that many directors found practical barriers to effectively contributing a health perspective to licensing decisions. 89 per cent of Directors of Public Health who responded said a health and wellbeing objective would be helpful to them. We recommend Amendment 210 on compliance with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 should be considered as part of the health and wellbeing objective.
  • The LGA supports Amendment 214 to insert a new clause after Clause 122, tabled by Lord Bishop of St Albans, Lord Beecham and Lord Clement-Jones which places conditions on the availability and use of gaming machines in licensed premises. Recent research indicating higher levels of problem and at risk gamblers near clusters of betting shops highlights why councils need extra powers to limit the availability of betting shops and gaming machines in their communities.
  • The LGA supports the intention of Amendment 221 to insert a new clause after Clause 145, tabled by Lord Rosser, to ensure that children who have been or are suspected to have been sexually exploited receive the mental health support they need. However, we would suggest that additional investment is needed in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to address the fundamental challenges that services face.

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LGA Briefing, Policing and Crime Bill, House of Lords, Committee Stage, Wednesday 9 November 2016


House of Lords, Committee Stage Wednesday 2 November 2016

Key messages

  • We support Amendment 190 tabled by Baroness Walmsley which seeks to prohibit the use of police stations as places of safety. The LGA supports the position that a police station is not an appropriate place of safety for a person of any age experiencing a mental health crisis. We are calling for additional funding to ensure new places of safety are available in residential, hospital and care settings.
  • We are calling for further clarity on Amendment 193 to insert a new clause after Clause 81, tabled by Baroness Walmsley. This seeks to ensure a person detained in a place of safety under section 135 or 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 shall have the right to an appropriate adult. We would like to understand whether section 2 (b) of the amendment would enable an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) to also act as an appropriate adult in this instance
  • The LGA supports Amendment 209C to insert a new clause after Clause 122, tabled by Baroness Williams of Trafford, which seeks to ensure licensing authorities give regard to cumulative impact assessments when determining or revising licensing policy. This clarifies that licensing authorities have a legal right to publish cumulative policies that enable them to take into account the impact of multiple existing premises in an area when considering whether further authorisation in that area should be made. 

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Policing and Crime Bill House of Lords, Committee Stage Wednesday 2 November 2016


House of Lords, Committee Stage Wednesday 26 October 2016

Key messages

  • We support Amendment 190 tabled by Baroness Walmsley which seeks to prohibit the use of police stations as places of safety. The LGA supports the position that a police station is not an appropriate place of safety for a person of any age experiencing a mental health crisis. We are calling for additional funding to ensure new places of safety are available in residential, hospital and care settings.
  • We are calling for further clarity on Amendment 193 to insert a new clause after Clause 81, tabled by Baroness Walmsley. This seeks to ensure a person detained in a place of safety under section 135 or 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 shall have the right to an appropriate adult. We would like to understand whether section 2 (b) of the amendment would enable an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) to also act as an appropriate adult in this instance
  • The LGA supports Amendment 209C to insert a new clause after Clause 122, tabled by Baroness Williams of Trafford, which seeks to ensure licensing authorities give regard to cumulative impact assessments when determining or revising licensing policy. This clarifies that licensing authorities have a legal right to publish cumulative policies that enable them to take into account the impact of multiple existing premises in an area when considering whether further authorisation in that area should be made. 

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Policing and Crime Bill House of Lords, Committee Stage Wednesday 26 October 2016


Report Stage, House of Lords, Wednesday 14 September 2016

Key messages

  • The Secretary of State should only make an order transferring governance of the fire service to the Police and Crime Commissioner where there is local agreement to do so. For this reason, we support Amendments 47, 52 and 45 tabled by Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville and Baroness Hamwee. We also support Amendment 46, 48, 51, 52, 53 and 81 tabled by Lord Rosser and Lord Kennedy of Southwark which seeks to ensure that a transfer of fire governance can only occur where the relevant local authorities and local residents agree.
  • We support Amendment 214 to insert a new clause after Clause 122, tabled by Lord Bishop of St Albans, which places conditions on the availability and use of gaming machines in licensed premises. Recent research indicating higher levels of problem and at risk gamblers near clusters of betting shops highlights why councils need extra powers to limit the availability of betting shops and gaming machines in their communities.
  • We support Amendment 211 to insert a new Clause after Clause 122, tabled by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, to amend Section 4 of the Licensing Act 2003 to promote the health and wellbeing of the locality and local area. In 2016 an LGA survey of Directors of Public Health revealed that many directors found practical barriers to effectively contributing a health perspective to licensing decisions. 89 per cent of Directors of Public Health who responded said a health and wellbeing objective would be helpful to them . We recommend Amendment 210 on compliance with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 should be considered as part of the health and wellbeing objective.

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LGA Briefing - Policing and Crime Bill House of Lords, Committee Stage, Wednesday 14 September 2016


Second Reading, House of Lords, Monday 18 July 2016

Key messages

  • The enabling provisions in clauses 1 to 5 of the Bill to allow the three ‘blue light' services to enter collaboration agreements will assist areas in building on the arrangements already in place across the country. The implementation of the new duty must be carried out in a way that supports the ability of Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to collaborate on a wider basis, such as with the health service.

  • We are opposed to any measures that would allow a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to force through governance changes where there is no local mandate from both elected members and the wider general public. Not only would such a situation undermine existing collaboration arrangements for a number of years, it could also make existing working arrangements between the police and the fire service more problematic. It should therefore be a requirement in Schedule 1 of the Bill that any proposals to the Secretary of State for the transfer of fire governance are supported by the relevant local authorities and local people following comprehensive consultation.

  • Any proposals from a PCC as set out in Schedule 1 to transfer the governance of the local fire and rescue service must also be supported by a comprehensive, evidence-based and well-tested business case that demonstrates how the governance change improves the fire and rescue service, and increases public safety. The LGA looks forward to discussing with the Home Office how each proposal and its supporting business case can be subject to independent assessment by appropriate academic and financial experts from outside Whitehall.

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Policing and Crime Bill, Second Reading, House of Lords, Monday 18 July 2016


Report Stage Monday 13 June

Key messages

  • Before introducing a new inspection regime (set out in New Clause 48 and New Schedule 1, tabled by the Home Secretary) the Home Office should discuss with fire and rescue services, local government and relevant stakeholders how the efficiency and effectiveness of fire and rescue can be improved. Recreating the fire services inspectorate will require considerable initial and ongoing investment when there is already a framework put in place by Government that provides a means of assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the fire service.
  • We support New Clause 10, tabled by Caroline Lucas MP, which seeks to ensure local authorities are given greater powers to consider how they can prevent child sexual exploitation when they issue licences for taxis and private hire vehicles.
  • We support New Clause 56, tabled by Theresa May MP, on licensing functions under taxi and private hire vehicle legislation for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. The clause would ensure the Secretary of State issued guidance on how taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities can protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Further progress could be achieved through the Home Office and Department for Transport working together to produce a single and comprehensive guidance document on taxi and PHV licensing.

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Report Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 26 April

Key messages

  • The Secretary of State should only make an order transferring governance of the fire service to the Police and Crime Commissioner where there is local agreement to do so. For this reason, we support the intention behind Amendment 6, tabled by Lyn Brown MP, which seeks to ensure that a transfer of fire governance can only occur where the relevant local authorities and local residents agree.
  • Allowing a Police and Crime Commissioner to take on governance of the fire service where there is no local support would undermine existing collaboration arrangements between the emergency services. It could also make working arrangements between the police and the fire service more problematic, undermining the trusting and good relationships which have been built up so far.
  • Clause 7 of the Bill allows Police and Crime Commissioners to attend, speak and vote at meetings of county or unitary fire and rescue authorities where the business relates to the functions of the council as a fire and rescue authority. The LGA has suggested the council's monitoring officer should take the final decision when it is unclear as to whether council business relates to the function of the council, and whether the Police and Crime Commissioner is entitled to a vote.
  • The Welsh Local Government Association believes that the devolution of responsibility for policing (including police pay, probation, community safety and crime prevention) to the National Assembly of Wales as proposed in New Clause 2 tabled by Liz Saville Roberts MP, is a possible next step in the devolution process.
  • We support New Clause 10 tabled by Carolyn Harris MP, Lyn Brown MP, Jack Dromey MP and Sarah Champion MP. This would mean local authorities are given greater powers to consider how they can prevent child sexual exploitation when they issue licences for taxis and private hire vehicles.
  • There is broad agreement among the licensed trade and councils, as licensing authorities, that fundamental reform of taxi and private hire vehicle legislation is needed to ensure the system is fit and proper for the 21st Century. However, in the absence of other legislative vehicles, the LGA supports proposals to strengthen the existing rules around preventing child sexual exploitation. Councils all over the country have been introducing driver training on this subject, but in some areas have encountered opposition and this clause would enhance their ability to take this forward in a timely manner.

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Report Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 26 April


Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 12 April and Thursday 14 April 2016

Key messages

  • The LGA welcomes the extension of the power to suspend or revoke personal licences to councils set out in clause 85. Extending the power of revocation to councils will enable them to take prompt action to ensure that people convicted of relevant criminal activity are unable to authorise the sale of alcohol.
  • We support new clause 51 led by Lyn Brown MP that would, if passed, enable a licensing authority to suspend a premises licence where a business has wilfully or persistently failed to pay the business rates due to the licensing authority. It is intended that the measure should only be used as a last resort, after earlier efforts to secure payment of the debt has failed.
  • We also support new clause 52, led by Lyn Brown MP, which would enable councils to consider the cumulative impact of licensed premises when granting further licences; and new clause 53, which would make public health a statutory objective for licensing authorities.
  • Further reform of the Licensing Act and other licensing regimes is needed to enhance councils' abilities to protect the public whilst supporting responsible businesses to operate on a level playing field.

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Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 12 April and Thursday 14 April 2016 (PDF)


Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 March 2016

Key messages

  • The fire and rescue service already works closely with the other emergency services on a daily basis to save lives1. Local initiatives and innovation are driving increasing cooperation, which is extensive, and current governance arrangements have not hampered or delayed this.
  • For example, effective joint working was vital in the emergency services responding to the recent flooding and extreme weather to protect communities. In particular, firefighters worked tirelessly with the armed forces, local authorities and others in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northumberland to safeguard vulnerable people. 25 out of 46 English fire authorities were involved.
  • The enabling provisions in clauses 1 to 5 of the Bill to allow the three ‘bluelight' services to enter collaboration agreements will assist areas in building on the arrangements already in place across the country. However any new duty should not limit the ability of Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to collaborate on a wider basis, such as with the health service.
  • The provision of incentives, like transformation funding, is more likely to produce greater collaboration between the emergency services, and also between FRAs and other public services like health and social care.
  • It is vital that any changes to fire governance should only take place where there is a clear and undivided local wish for a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to take on the responsibility for fire services. The LGA supports amendments 170, 171, 172 and 173. It should be a requirement in paragraph 11, Schedule 1 of the Bill, that any proposals to the Secretary of State for the transfer of fire governance are supported by the relevant local authorities and local people following comprehensive consultation.

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Committee Stage, House of Commons, Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 March 2016 (PDF)


Second Reading, House of Commons, Monday 7 March 2016

Key messages

  • The fire and rescue service already works closely with the other emergency services on a daily basis to save lives1. Local initiatives and innovation are driving increasing cooperation, which is extensive, and current governance arrangements have not hampered or delayed this.
  • For example, effective joint working was vital in the emergency services responding to the recent flooding and extreme weather to protect communities. In particular, firefighters worked tirelessly with the armed forces, local authorities and others in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Northumberland to safeguard vulnerable people. 25 out of 46 English fire authorities were involved.
  • The enabling provisions in clauses 1 to 5 of the Bill to allow the three ‘bluelight' services to enter collaboration agreements will assist areas in building on the arrangements already in place across the country. However any new duty should not limit the ability of Fire and Rescue Authorities (FRAs) to collaborate on a wider basis, such as with the health service.
  • The provision of incentives, like transformation funding, is more likely to produce greater collaboration between the emergency services, and also between FRAs and other public services like health and social care.
  • It is vital that any changes to fire governance should only take place where there is a clear and undivided local wish for a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to take on the responsibility for fire services. It should be a requirement in paragraph 11, Schedule 1 of the Bill, that any proposals to the Secretary of State for the transfer of fire governance are supported by the relevant local authorities and local people following comprehensive consultation.
  • Any proposals from a PCC as set out in paragraph 11, Schedule 1 to transfer the governance of the local fire and rescue service must also be supported by a comprehensive, evidence based and well tested business case that demonstrates how the governance change improves the fire and rescue service, and increases public safety. Each proposal and its supporting business case must be subject to independent assessment by appropriate academic and financial experts from outside Whitehall.
  • Allowing a PCC to take on governance of the fire service where there is not local support would undermine existing collaboration arrangements. It could also make working arrangements between the police and the fire service more problematic, and could undermine the trusting and good relationships which have been built up so far.
  • As the fire service in the 15 county FRAs is integrated with the wide range of other services the counties deliver the opportunities to find efficiencies and savings from collaboration will be limited. The transfer of governance would also impact for example on their ability to deliver improvements in adult social care and public health.
  • Further consideration should be given to the provisions in clause 7 that would allow a PCC to attend, speak and vote in council meetings when fire related business is being considered. In the 15 county fire and rescue authorities it may not be so easy to distinguish between what is purely fire related business and other service issues, especially when budgets are being set.
  • The provision of incentives, like transformation funding, is more likely to produce greater collaboration between the emergency services and also between them and other public services, like health and social care, than a new statutory duty.
  • The LGA welcomes the extension of the power to suspend or revoke personal licences to councils in clause 85. Extending the power of revocation to councils will enable them to take prompt action to ensure that people convicted of relevant criminal activity are unable to authorise the sale of alcohol.
  • Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Chair of the LGA Fire Services Management Committee (which represents all 46 fire authorities in England) said in January 2016: "The Government should not impose change for change's sake. However, we do support improved collaboration between the three emergency services. The LGA would only support changes to the governance of fire and rescue authorities if there is an agreement between the Police and Crime Commissioner and the local fire and rescue authority, underwritten by a watertight business plan that also has the support of the local community."

Download the full LGA briefing:
Policing and Crime Bill, Second Reading, House of Commons, Monday 7 March 2016 (PDF)

16 December 2016