Clause 1 — Power to destroy or otherwise dispose of property

Part of Mental Health (Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:45 am on 30th November 2012.

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Photo of Peter Bottomley Peter Bottomley Conservative, Worthing West 10:45 am, 30th November 2012

I think we are beginning to get closer to the issue, but the Minister will no doubt be able to sort us all out. As I pointed out before, (1)(a) talks about

“an article… in the possession of a prisoner who is not authorised to have it”.

Wherever the prisoner has such an article, it can be removed from them. On the other, hand, (1)(b) refers to prison-controlled areas

“inside the prison or in a prisoner escort vehicle”,

so everything else is presumably not controlled by the prison. If the prisoner happened to be somewhere else and either leaves property there himself or it is left there for him, the escort officers may not be able to show that the item is the prisoner’s or was left for him, so they may not be able to take it. If people are trying to pass items to prisoners in a non-prison-controlled area, it should be possible for someone to say, “This item is suspicious” and something should then happen to it. My guess is that either the Minister or my hon. Friend will tell us that the item will go to the police who will judge it on its merits, and they will probably have powers of disposal.