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Police and Justice Act 2006

Paragraphs 7 and 8: Functions of police authorities

78.Under section 6(1) of the 1996 Act, a police authority’s primary function is to ‘secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force for its area’. New section 6(1)(b) of the 1996 Act, inserted by paragraph 7, provides that it shall also be a duty of a police authority to hold the chief officer of the force to account for the exercise of his functions and those of the police officers and police staff under his direction and control. A similar duty is already placed on the Northern Ireland Policing Board in relation to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (see section 3(3)(a) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000).

79.Paragraph 8 inserts new section 6ZA into the 1996 Act. This new section confers a power on the Secretary of State to confer additional functions on a police authority by order. Such functions may include, but are not limited to, a requirement:

  • to monitor the performance of the police force for its area in complying with the duties imposed under the Human Rights Act 1998 or other enactments and the carrying out of any plan issued under new section 6ZB of the 1996 Act inserted by paragraph 9;

  • to secure that arrangements are put in place by the force to co-operate with other forces (for example, to tackle cross-border organised crime);

  • to promote diversity within the force and the authority.

80.The Secretary of State must consult with the APA and ACPO and such other persons as he thinks fit before making any order under new section 6ZA. The order is to be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

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