House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] - continued          House of Commons

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97.     There is nothing in the Bill that will have an impact on business.


98.     The only provisions in the Bill which give rise to issues under the ECHR are those enabling limited police powers to be given to police support staff and to designated contracted-out staff. These are set out in clauses 23 and 24 and in Schedule 1. They include powers of entry, search and seizure, powers to take fingerprints and non- intimate samples, and powers to conduct non-intimate searches, which raise issues under Article 8 of the Convention (right to respect for private life). The Department takes the view that these powers are justifiable within Article 8.2 of the Convention, as being necessary for the prevention of crime and disorder, and that the conferral of these powers is proportionate. The powers that may be given to designated civilians also include a power of arrest, which raises issues under Article 5 of the Convention (right to liberty). In the Department's view this limited power is compatible with Article 5.1(c), being the lawful detention of a person on reasonable suspicion of his having committed an offence or to prevent his fleeing after having done so. In the circumstances, Mr Secretary Murphy has made the following statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998: "In my view the provisions of the Police (Northern Ireland) Bill are compatible with the Convention rights."


99.     Clauses 34 and 35 are subject to commencement by order. The other provisions of the Bill come into force on Royal Assent, subject to specific commencement provisions in individual clauses.



*The Board is the Policing Board for Northern Ireland.

*A DPP is a district policing partnership.

*The Patten Report is the report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, "A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland", published in September 1999.

*The 1998 Act is the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

*The 2000 Act is the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.

*The Police Reform Act is the Police Reform Act 2002.

*The PSNI is the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

*The 1989 Order is the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

*The Terrorism Act is the Terrorism Act 2000.

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Prepared: 31 January 2003