Section 128: Financial assistance under section 57 of Police Act 1996.
760.Section 57(1) of the Police Act 1996 gives the Secretary of State power to maintain or contribute to organisations, services and facilities that promote the efficiency and effectiveness of the police. Subsection (1) inserts new subsections (1A) to (1D) into section 57.
761.The new subsection (1A) makes it clear that the Secretary of State can provide financial assistance in exercising his power under section 57(1). The new subsection (1B) provides that financial assistance may in particular be given by way of grant, investment in a body corporate, loan or guarantee and that the Secretary of State can set the terms and conditions on which the assistance is given. These new subsections clarify but do not extend the Secretary of State’s existing powers under section 57(1).
762.New subsection (1B) also requires the consent of the Treasury to financial assistance (except for grants) made under the section 57(1) power. This is to ensure that the terms and conditions attached to any loans, investment or guarantees are in line with Government Accounting Rules and follow best practice.
763.New subsection (1C) states that the terms and conditions the Secretary of State can impose for the giving of financial assistance include those relating to repayment with or without interest.
764.New subsection (1D) requires that where financial assistance under section 57 is given on terms and conditions requiring that the body make payments to the Secretary of State (e.g. repayments of capital or interest relating to a loan), those payments will be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
765.Subsection (2) provides that any outstanding loan already made by the Secretary of State to a body under section 57(1) for the purposes of promoting the efficiency and effectiveness of the police (such as a loan to the Forensic Science Service) will, from the date of Royal Assent, be treated as a loan made in accordance with section 57 of the 1996 Act as amended by section 128. In practice, this will mean that Treasury will be treated as having given its consent to existing loans and the loans will be treated as being in compliance with Government Accounting Rules.