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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Photo of Mr Robin Corbett Mr Robin Corbett , Birmingham, Erdington 6:45 pm, 25th October 1984

We should listen to what the BMA and those who practise medicine say. Throughout the passage of the Bill, the hon. Gentleman has been telling us how important it is to take notice, through him, because of his links with the Police Federation, of what he described as the people at the sharp end. The BMA also has people at the sharp end and has stated its objection to what is suggested in the amendment. We should take on board what it is saying.

The list is far too long to be sensible. There is no need for it. As the Minister has already implied, if the main purpose of the amendment is to do something about the heroin and hard drugs problem, why do the Government not say so and limit what they are proposing precisely to that problem? I hope, although I am being optimistic, that it may not be too late for the Minister to change his mind.

I think the Minister appreciates that the medical profession dislikes being involved in intimate searches, perhaps with the use of force, where evidence is being looked for by the police on the suspect. A suitably qualified person may be involved in a case in which the police are on the verge of requesting an intimate search and are able, under the terms of the Act, to use force. In this case, the medical practitioner may come to believe that there is no danger to the life or safety of the individual. For example, there may be a suspicion of the concealment of heroin in an intimate part of the body, and a suitably qualified person may have to make a judgment. Why not let nature take its course? Nature will eventually produce what the police suspect may be concealed.