Amendment 129

Part of Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 3 November 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Chakrabarti Baroness Chakrabarti Labour 5:15, 3 November 2021

Could I put an ethical and constitutional question to my noble friend, who is both an experienced parliamentarian and a magistrate? When I go to the airport, I understand that I shall be subject to some search, and I have no problem with that—first, because I understand that an airport is a very sensitive place and, secondly, because everybody will be subject to the same search as me. Therefore, I feel no disgruntlement. Equally, with ordinary stop and search powers, if I am stopped and searched on reasonable suspicion of a criminal offence, I may know that I am completely innocent but I shall understand that I have been stopped and searched on reasonable suspicion of a criminal offence.

What is the ethical and constitutional justification for stop and search without suspicion, when everybody is not stopped and searched, as at the airport? If not a suspect and if not everybody, who then? My fear is that, subject to the answer that my noble friend—and, I hope, in due course, the Minister—will give, the answer is that that in-between stop and search, a suspicion under Section 60-type stop and search, is almost inevitably an arbitrary and therefore potentially discriminatory stop and search.