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Clause 11

Counter-Terrorism Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 29th April 2008.

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Power to take fingerprints and samples: Scotland

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

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Attorney General

I just want to take the opportunity to tease from the Minister the different regime that will apply in Scotland. As I understand it, while it would be possible for a retained DNA sample taken in such circumstances to be used for the purposes of terrorist  investigation or in the interests of national security, a different limit will apply there from that which applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. I should be grateful if the Minister could confirm that. I simply make the point that the fact that the Minister has had to accept a different regime in Scotland highlights differences, which it is not suggested are about to bring the world to an end, notwithstanding the fact that the Minister has to accept different Scottish legal principles.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing), Home Office

In filling the omission in relation to the control order regime, the thrust of clause 11 is to get matters on a par with the jurisdiction within which they sit. An important point has been overlooked, certainly in the amendments to clause 10, some of which were also relevant to clause 12, but not to clause 11. Samples secured in Scotland under the Terrorism Act 2000 are not destroyed, as someone suggested earlier—in the normal context, under the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, they are. We simply seek to reflect that dimension in terms of Scottish jurisprudence, which, as everyone knows, long outdates any notion of devolution. The system has been significantly different for a considerable period of time, and it is right and proper that we reflect that.

As the Committee will know, terrorism and security matters are not devolved. Routine criminal law has clearly been long devolved in Scotland and we simply seek to reflect that position. That is not to say that the Scottish Executive cannot see the potential merits of the wider powers set out in clauses 10 and 12 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but it is quite properly for them to examine whether and how best to incorporate the devolved elements of those provisions into existing Scottish law.

The Committee might know that the Scottish Executive has undertaken a review of other aspects of DNA and fingerprint powers. Scottish police powers on the use, storage and retention of fingerprints and non-intimate samples for individuals subject to control orders could be brought into line with those for the rest of the UK at the same time as any other legislative changes resulting from that review. I cannot remember whether it is confirmed, but some time in the immediate future I shall meet the Scottish Justice Minister to discuss that and a range of other matters. In seeking to fill the omission in clauses 10 and 12, clause 11 perfectly properly reflects the jurisprudence that prevails in Scotland. In that context, I commend it to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 11 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 12 and 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.