Clause 154 - Search and seizure warrants

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 16th January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 2:30 pm, 16th January 2003

I am grateful to the Minister. The position is much as we thought. We had a helpful briefing from the Metropolitan police, which played a significant role in developing part 4, working closely with the Extradition Bill team. The mutual legal assistance legislation was explained and the fact that the Bill is modelled on PACE. We have also read the Government's explanatory notes.

The Metropolitan police briefing said that there is no suggestion that police officers should interview arrested persons to obtain evidence. In other words, we are back to the subject of fishing expeditions that we discussed with the Under-Secretary earlier. The Metropolitan police says that the powers will allow evidence of the offence abroad to be searched for and seized where it is believed to be in a particular location. We will consider other clauses later, and it was helpful that the Minister could go beyond clause 154 and talk about the thinking behind this part of the Bill.

We do not seek to oppose the Government's proposition but we are glad to know that they are aware of the sensitivities of search and seizure, especially in the aftermath of the appalling murder of the detective constable yesterday in Manchester. We all need to be aware of the sensitivities of any search and seizure operations conducted by the police. Having said that, I shall not prolong the Committee's time on the stand part debate.