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Demonstrations in Central London

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:21 pm on 2nd May 2000.

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Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Government Whip 4:21 pm, 2nd May 2000

My Lords, as always the noble and learned Lord has asked a pertinent question. Under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, as amended this year by the Government, that Act has now been strengthened by the inclusion of new powers to enable the police to remove face coverings when a Section 60 order made under the Act is in force. Perhaps I may remind the noble and learned Lord that a Section 60 order empowers the police to stop and search for weapons and dangerous implements without the need to suspect particular individuals once the order has been invoked. I realise that that does not answer the noble and learned Lord's question about the suggestion that the wearing of masks should be an offence in itself, but greater powers are now in place. I understand that those powers were used yesterday in an attempt to identify many of the miscreants who were wearing balaclavas at the time they committed their offences.