The clause relates to enabling an officer to enter premises without a warrant for the purposes of silencing a problem alarm, and it sets out the circumstances in which he may do so, provided that he does not enter by force. It prompts the question that if such an offence is carried on under clause 76 and if the person is seeking the power of entry under clause 77 without using force, how can he be identified? Will he carry any written authority?
May I help the hon. Lady? Clause 77(5) states:
''The officer must, if required, show evidence of his authority to act under this section.''
Clearly, he must be carrying it with him or he would not be able to show it.
That is most helpful. It shows that the Minister is responding to our probing in his usual kindly fashion.
So have we, which is why we are seeking clarification. Would not it be helpful to state evidence of whose authority and from whom? Is it from the local authority? Does it mean that, under this clause, there is no recourse to a justice of the peace?
It refers to an authorised officer of the local authority, so clearly the authorisation lies with the local authority, as does the method of demonstrating that authority, which in most—indeed, I think all—local authorities is in an acceptable and generally recognised form. The powers in the clause are self-evident. Were it necessary to force entry, it would need to be under other provisions. The clause refers to a straightforward situation which allows an officer to do what is necessary if he is able to gain entry without force.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 77 ordered to stand part of the Bill.