Clause 159 - Entry and search of premises for

Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 16 January 2003.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath

Although we were not talking about extradition in the first instance, the tragic murder of the police detective in Manchester yesterday has put into sharp focus the sensitivities and dangers that the police face when they enter and search premises. Will the Minister say what is envisaged by the clause and subsequent clauses? He has spoken about the link with PACE, and we referred in our first debate this afternoon to the way in which the arrangements are welcomed by the Metropolitan police and police services throughout the country. We have concerns about the entry and search of premises, so will the Minister clarify the position?

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Criminal Justice System IT)

Again, the clause is primarily a consequence of the Rottman case, and we are trying to clarify the position. It is firmly rooted in PACE, in replicating powers that are contained in sections 17 and 19 of that Act, and I am sure that Members will accept that it will sometimes be impossible to obtain a warrant before entering premises to arrest someone who is wanted for extradition, if that person is trying to run away, for example. That is why we have included the clause.

I hope that I can reassure the hon. Gentleman by saying that, with the codes of practice and the inclusion of the affirmative resolution procedure, there will be plenty of opportunities for Parliament to satisfy itself about the detail. As I said, the clause is about clarifying the position, as requested and supported by the police.

Photo of Angela Watkinson Angela Watkinson Opposition Whip (Commons)

I am pleased to participate in only one Committee this afternoon, which means that I can pay somewhat better attention to the proceedings. I rise in some trepidation as I am flanked on each side by a lawyer, which I clearly am not. I shall couch my question in layman's terms.

References have been made to the recent murder of a police officer. Is the Bill the appropriate piece of

legislation to ensure additional protection for police officers in the execution of their duties in such circumstances, as well as under the Terrorism Act 2000? I note that clause 161(9), which we have not yet discussed, states:

''Nothing in this section affects the power conferred by section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000''.

Will the Minister assure us that there is adequate protection, or say whether additional protection is needed in legislation for police officers in the circumstances that we are discussing?

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Criminal Justice System IT)

I understand the hon. Lady's concerns. We are all deeply concerned about what happened. However, the hon. Lady and I are talking about different things. She will forgive me if I do not comment in any detail about what happened, as we are still digesting the news. We are talking about extradition, and the circumstances in Manchester were rather different, as far as we can tell. I understand her concerns, but we are talking about a different set of issues.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 159 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 160 ordered to stand part of the Bill.