Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Committee (and remaining stages)

Part of Crime and Security Bill – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 7th April 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism) 9:00 pm, 7th April 2010

My Lords, the recent judgment confirms that, at present, the police have no enforceable power to undertake a search in the circumstance of someone wishing to move to another area from where he has been moved. Where it is not appropriate to refuse the controlled person permission for the journey, the options left are, first, to allow him to be outside his boundary without an escort. We have had the debate about control orders-and, yes, we want to look at them in future-but the whole reason for them is that these people are seen as a great risk. That option is unacceptable. Alternatively, we can allow the journey on an escorted basis, but relying on his co-operation to agree to a search. Of course, he could be carrying a mobile phone or some other method of making contact with someone-a whole raft of means. That is part of the reason for those controls being put on him. Or we could require him to travel in the back of a police van, if he refuses to agree to a search. That is hardly an ideal solution. Alternative police search powers, such as those under PACE or the Terrorism Act, are not generally appropriate in this case.

While we and the police are doing our best to manage these problems on an operational basis, the need for a legislative solution is clear, and the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, endorsed taking early action to add such a power in his fifth report on control orders, which was published on 1 February. With the best will in the world, if one is looking for something to happen, whoever is in government next time round, nothing would be coming in until December or beyond. That is the realistic timescale.

In addition, the powers contained in subsection (2) of this clause provide powers of seizure and retention for use as evidence in a trial or for forensic examination of items that have been removed from a controlled person's premises during a police search when the police subsequently have reasonable grounds to believe it is or contains evidence in relation to an offence. On that basis, Clause 56 should stand part of the Bill.

Clause 56 agreed.

Amendment 3

Moved by Lord Marlesford

3: After Clause 56, insert the following new Clause-

"Databases: scrutiny of entries

(1) No suspicious activity report (SAR) on a person (P) may be retained on a database operated by a law enforcement agency without having been subject to independent scrutiny under subsection (2).

(2) The Secretary of State shall by regulations establish a system for the independent scrutiny of SARs with a view to ensuring-

(a) the accuracy and reliability of information contained in SARs, and

(b) the protection of P's rights under the European Convention of Human Rights and other relevant international Conventions."