I am obliged, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The hon. Member for Ladywood should know, after our long service on the Bill, that I speak in order.
In the context that I have described, with hard drugs becoming a major problem and perhaps an epidemic in Britain, and with their proven connection with violent crime, I turn to the question before us. How do we deal with it, and is it necessary to have the disagreeable business of intimate searching? No police officer wants to be involved with a distasteful and unpleasant practice. The suggestions made in some of the anti-police literature that has been put about by the Greater London council and the hard Left, that the police are slavering at the lips to get into intimate searching, is a perversion of the truth. However, the police have a duty, and they have often to carry through a disagreeable duty.
The power to carry out an intimate search, whoever performs it, is most valuable, because often it causes the offender to produce the drugs himself or herself rather than submit to an intimate search. I recall giving one example in Committee which bears repetition. I think that the matter arose in the Gloucester police area, but I am not sure. There was a series of offences involving thefts from parked cars at a beauty spot. The police were keeping observation and a couple were observed. To use the rather quaint language of the police description, the lady was walking rather peculiarly.