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Police Reform Act 2002

Section 7: Regulation of procedures and practices

38.This section inserts new section 53A in the 1996 Act. It performs a similar function regarding procedures and practices as section 6 does regarding equipment. It is intended to focus on the adoption of common procedures and practices where these are necessary to facilitate joint or co-ordinated operations by two or more forces.

39.New section 53A(1) allows the Secretary of State to make regulations that will apply to procedures and practices in all police forces. These regulations can require all chief officers to adopt specific procedures or practices that relate to the way their police officers police the force area or in relation to the way they run their force. Before making any regulations the Secretary of State is required firstly to consult those whom he considers represent the interests of police authorities and chief officers of police. Where this formulation occurs in existing legislation, the Secretary of State currently consults the APA and ACPO and/or CPOSA (new section 53A(3)). At this point the APA and ACPO would be commenting on the principle of whether regulations should be made in respect of a given procedure or practice. He must then seek the advice of HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary and the Central Police Training and Development Authority (new section 53A(2)). Before giving its advice, the CPTDA must consult those whom it considers represent the interests of police authorities, those whom it considers represent the interests of chief officers of police, and anyone else it sees fit (new section 53A(5)). Such consultation would be in respect of the details of the proposed regulations. New sections 53A(6) and (7) specify the circumstances in which the regulation-making power under this section can be used. The Secretary of State must have sought and considered advice from CPTDA; and HMIC and the Secretary of State must both be satisfied (a) that the adoption of the procedure or practice is necessary to facilitate joint or co-ordinated operations by police forces, (b) that regulations are necessary to ensure the procedure or practice is adopted and (c) that the adoption of the procedure or practice is in the national interest. The first regulations made under section 53A are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure; subsequent use of the regulation-making powers is subject to negative resolution procedure (sections 53A(9) and (10)). This is in line with the recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform (Twelfth Report 7 February 2002 (HL 73)).

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