Initimate Searches

Part of Orders of the Day — Police and Criminal Evidence Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 25th October 1984.

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Mr. Shaw:

We have no intention of using the reference to class A drugs as an invitation to search for every drug in that category. We are dealing with the classification of drugs and their potential seriously to damage health. It is most likely that heroin will be the drug for which a search is made. Searching will not take place if no criminal element is involved in the drug concerned. Trafficking in drugs, particularly heroin, is the cause of much crime and drug addiction.

The power can also be regarded as consonant with the protective intimate search power already in the Bill, since the internal concealment of toxic substances is very dangerous for the person concerned because of the risks of leakage or rupture.

I wish to stress one point. The Government brought forward the amendments, not—as has been suggested in the press—in response to pressure from the police, although it is certainly no secret that the police have indeed pressed us for the power to search for drugs. The reason that we brought forward the amendments was a genuine consensus in the other place that the repeal of the investigative search power should not extend to the most dangerous drugs. The Opposition there made it clear that they supported the retention of a power narrowed in that way, and we decided that it would be right to respect and to respond to that concern from all quarters.