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

On that point, we may be able to help the Minister. Amendment 9 refers to items that

“might contain or constitute evidence of a criminal offence.”

With a criminal offence carried out outside the prison or outside the prison vehicle, the article may need to be taken back by the prison, and the police may need to liaise with it. There is therefore going to be an issue about what happens in practice. It may not be essential to the Bill or to the amendment, but if we are trying to deter crime, knowing how often people in prison or under prison control obtain illegal or unauthorised substances—mobile phones or street drugs—we need to ensure that any potential evidence is taken and linked to the prisoner. I add a last statistical point. On how many occasions when a prison has illegal drugs is it recorded as a crime? If it is detected by the prison warders, it probably is not, or if it is detected by the police, it probably is. There is a degree of uncertainty regarding liaison between the two services.