Protection of Freedoms Bill: Report day one update

01 February 2012

The Protection of Freedoms entered report stage in the House of Lords on Tuesday 31 January. Day two of report stage takes place on 6 February.

Members of the House discussed amendments on DNA samples, databases and time limits before records are destroyed.

A number of amendments were agreed by the house without going to vote. A few amendments were withdrawn after debate resolved and clarified the issues or were withdrawn for further consideration during report stage.

Baroness Hamwee (Liberal Democrat) withdrew Amendment 1 which sought to protect those 'suffering from mental disorder and... in immediate need of care and control' from going through the trauma of having their finger prints taken when they 'have been detained in a place of safety; they have not been arrested.'

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Labour) withdrew Amendment 14 after debate about the 'retention of DNA and finger print data for those arrested and/or charged with a qualifying offence such as rape or serious assault.' Her amendment suggested a retention for 6 years rather than the 3 years proposed in the bill.

Baroness Stowell of Beeston (Conservative) made Amendment 6 which defines a vulnerable adult as 'a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse or neglect is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, through old age or otherwise.'

For further details of amendments made or withdrawn watch the debate on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard.

Protection of Freedom: Key areas

  • Brings in a new framework for police retention of fingerprints and DNA data, and requires schools to get parents’ consent before processing children’s biometric information.
  • Introduces a code of practice for surveillance camera systems and provides for judicial approval of certain surveillance activities by local authorities.
  • Provides for a code of practice to cover officials’ powers of entry, with these powers being subject to review and repeal.
  • Outlaws wheel-clamping on private land.
  • Introduces a new regime for police stops and searches under the Terrorism Act 2000 and reduces the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days.
  • Restricts the scope of the 'vetting and barring' scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks.
  • Enables those with convictions for consensual sexual relations between men aged 16 or over (which have since been decriminalised) to apply to have them disregarded.
  • Extends Freedom of Information rights by requiring datasets to be available in a re-usable format.
  • Repeals provisions (never brought into force) which would have allowed trial without a jury in complex fraud cases.
  • Removes time restrictions on when marriage or civil partnership ceremonies may take place.

Catch up on the Protection of Freedom Bill

What is the report stage?

Report stage in the chamber gives all members of the Lords further opportunity to consider all amendments (proposals for change) to a bill. It usually starts at least 14 days after committee stage. It can be spread over several days (but usually fewer days than at committee stage).

Detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of a bill takes place during report stage.

Before report stage takes place

  • The day before report stage starts, amendments are published in a Marshalled List – in which all the amendments are placed in order.
  • On the day, amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list (“groupings of amendments”) is published.

What happens at report stage?

  • Detailed line by line examination of the bill continues.
  • Votes can take place and any member can take part.

After report stage - third reading

  • If the bill is amended it is reprinted to include all the agreed amendments.
  • The bill moves to third reading for the final chance for the Lords to debate and amend the bill.
  • More about third reading.

Further information

Find out more about watching House of Lords debates.

Image: iStockphoto

More news on: Parliament, government and politics, Parliament, House of Lords, Lords news, Bill news, Crime, civil law, justice and rights