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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)
These notes refer to the Drugs Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 16th December2004 [Bill 17]
3. This Bill is in four parts. Part 1 deals with the supply of controlled drugs. Part 2 contains provisions on police powers relating to drugs. Part 3 provides for a power to require certain persons to attend an assessment and follow-up assessment in respect of their misuse of drugs. Part 4 deals with miscellaneous and general provisions.
COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES
Part 1: Supply of controlled drugs
Clause 1: Aggravated supply of controlled drug
4. This clause, in subsection (1), inserts a new section 4A into the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and stipulates the circumstances which a court must treat as aggravating factors in respect of the offence of supply of a controlled drug. New section 4A(2) requires a court to treat either or both of two conditions as aggravating factors and, where either condition is met, to state that the offence is so aggravated.
[Bill 17-EN] 53/4
5. New section 4A(3), together with new section 4A(5), provides that the first condition is met when a person supplies controlled drugs in the vicinity of a school when it is being used by children and young people and within one hour of any such time. New section 4A(6) provides that the first condition does not apply where the offender did not know and could not reasonably be expected to know that the school was being used by children and young persons. New section 4A(4), together with new section 4A(7), provides that the second condition is met when a person requests a child or young person to deliver controlled drugs or drug related cash in connection with the offence of supply.
6. New sections 4A(8) and (9) define the terms 'drug related cash', 'cash' and 'school' for the purposes of this provision. New section 4A(10) provides that any order made by the Secretary of State under new section 4A(9) which specifies a monetary instrument that is to fall within the definition of 'cash' is to be subject to annulment by a resolution of either House of Parliament.
7. Subsection (2) provides that new section 4A does not apply to any offence committed before it comes into force.
Clause 2: Proof of intention to supply a controlled drug
8. It is an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 to possess a controlled drug with intent to supply it to another. This clause in subsection (2), amends section 5 to create a presumption of intent to supply where the defendant is found to be in possession of a particular amount of controlled drugs. Where the presumption applies a court or jury must assume that the defendant intended to supply the drugs. The presumption does not apply if evidence is adduced, by any person, that raises an issue that the defendant may not in fact have intended to supply those drugs. The particular amount of drugs that will give rise to the presumption will be prescribed by the Secretary of State in regulations. Subsection (2) provides that the regulations only have effect in respect of proceedings for an offence committed after those regulations come into force. Section 31 of the 1971 Act will apply to those regulations. Therefore the regulations may make different provision for different controlled drugs and may only be made following consultation with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Subsection (3) amends section 31 of the 1971 Act to provide that a draft of the regulations made must be approved by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament.
Part 2: Police powers relating to drugs
Clause 3: Drug offence searches
9. Those in possession of drugs may seek to conceal them from the police in body cavities. This clause amends section 55 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which provides for an intimate search of a person where it is suspected that the person may have a Class A drug concealed on him.
10. Subsection (2) provides that a drugs only intimate search may only be undertaken where the person to be searched has consented.
11. Subsection (3) inserts a new section 55(10A) which requires that the authorisation for the search, grounds for that authorisation and consent of the person to be searched is recorded in the custody record.
12. Subsection (5) inserts a new section 55(13A) which provides that an adverse inference may be drawn by a court or jury where a person refuses without good cause to consent to an intimate search.
13. Subsection (6) amends section 55(17) to make clear that the information that is required to be given to the suspect by section 55(3B) can be conveyed by a constable or suitably designated detention officer or staff custody officer.
Clause 4: Drug offence searches: Northern Ireland
14. Clause 4 makes provision equivalent to clause 3 for Northern Ireland. Clause 4 amends Article 56 (intimate searches) of the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (S.I. 1989/1341).
Clause 5: X-rays and ultrasound scans: England and Wales
15. This clause inserts a new section 55A into the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
16. New section 55A(1) of new section 55A enables a police officer to authorise an x-ray or ultrasound scan (or both) of a person suspected of swallowing a Class A drug , where the person has been arrested for an offence and is in police detention.
17. New section 55A(2) provides that an x-ray may not be taken or an ultrasound scan undertaken without the suspect's consent which must be given in writing. New section 55A(4) provides that the x-ray or ultrasound scan may only be taken at a hospital, registered medical practitioner's surgery or other place used for medical purposes and only by a registered medical practitioner or nurse.
18. New section 55A(7) and (8) makes provision for information relating to x-rays and ultrasound scans to be included in annual reports made by chief constables or the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. The reporting requirements are similar to those which apply to information relating to intimate searches.
19. New section 55A(9) provides that an adverse inference may be drawn by a court or jury where a person refuses without good cause to consent to an x-ray or ultrasound scan.
20. Subsection (2) amends Schedule 4 to the Police Reform Act 2002 to allow detention officers and staff custody officers to inform suspects of the matters referred to in section 55A(3).
Clause 6: X-rays and ultrasounds scans: Northern Ireland
21. Clause 6 makes provision equivalent to Clause 5 for Northern Ireland. Clause 6 inserts a new Article 56A into the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (S.I. 1989/1341) dealing with the taking of x-rays and the carrying out of ultrasounds.
Clause 7: Testing for presence of class A drugs
22. This clause makes a number of amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) to allow for the introduction of drug testing of persons after arrest. The existing provisions for testing after charge remain. The new provision will apply to persons aged 18 and over. Subsections (2) to (6) amend section 63B of PACE to permit persons aged eighteen or over to be tested on arrest for a specified class A drug. This power arises where the person has been arrested for a "trigger" offence or for any offence where a police officer of at least the rank of Inspector has reason to believe the misuse of such a drug contributed to that offence and authorises the test. This power sits alongside the existing power in section 63B of PACE, as amended by section 5 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, to test persons who have been charged with such an offence.
23. Subsection (7) requires a notification to be given by the Secretary of State that appropriate arrangements have been made in respect of an area before testing on arrest can operate. The notification may refer to an entire police area or to a single police station.
24. Subsections (8) to (12) further amend section 63B of PACE. New subsection 63B(5B) ensures that, where a sample is taken from a person on arrest, no other sample can be taken if he is charged with that offence or any other offence which meets the charge condition during that period of detention. However, in that event, the sample must be treated as having been taken in respect of the offence for which the person is charged. New subsection 63B(5C) allows for a person who has been arrested for an offence which meets the arrest condition to be tested within a period of 24 hours following his arrest for that offence even though the only reason for his detention at the point the sample is taken is due to his having been arrested for a further offence that does not satisfy the arrest condition. New subsection 63B(5D) also provides that a person has to have been brought before the custody officer before a test may take place. Subsection (10) substitutes a new section 63B(6A) which provides the Secretary of State with a power to amend by order the age of persons to whom such a request can be made on arrest and on charge. Subsection (11) amends section 63B(7) of PACE to permit disclosure of the drug test results for the purpose of making a decision as to whether to give a conditional caution under Part 3 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Subsection (12) omits section 63B(9) of PACE. Subsection (13) provides that the notification condition is to be treated as being satisfied for the purposes of the charge condition in those areas in which section 63B(2) of PACE is in force on the day this clause comes into force. Subsection (13) also provides that the notification condition is to be treated as being satisfied for the purposes of the age condition in those areas in which a notification has been given under section 63B(9) of PACE on the day this clause comes into force.
Clause 8: extended detention of suspected drug offenders
25. Some drug dealers will swallow drugs, suitably wrapped, upon arrest.
26. This clause will allow a court to remand a prisoner to the custody of a police officer where it is suspected that the prisoner has swallowed drugs to conceal evidence and avoid prosecution.
27. Currently the police may detain a person in police detention under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 for a maximum of 96 hours prior to charge. This is not necessarily a sufficient period of time for swallowed evidence to be recovered.
28. Section 152 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, permits a magistrates' court to commit a person charged with an offence under section 5(2) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (possession of a controlled drug) or a drug trafficking offence into the custody of a Customs officer for a period of up to 192 hours to increase the likelihood of the evidence being recovered.
29. This clause amends section 152 of the Criminal Justice Act 1998 to give magistrates similar powers to remand a person, upon charge, to the custody of a police officer, for a period of up to 192 hours.
Part 3: Assessment of misuse of drugs
Clause 9: Initial assessment following testing for the presence of class A drugs
30. This clause in subsections (1) and (2), introduces a new discretionary power for the police to require persons who have tested positive for a specified class A drug under section 63B of PACE, as amended by clause 7 of this Bill, to attend an initial assessment of their drug misuse. Subsection (3) sets out the purposes of that initial assessment. This power is subject to the age condition and notification condition (as set out in subsections (4) to (6)) being met. Subsection (4) provides that a person can only be subject to the requirement if he has reached the age of 18 (or a different age, if the Secretary of State so specifies by order made by Statutory Instrument). Subsections (5) and (6) provide that a person can only be subject to the requirement where the relevant chief police officer has been informed that the necessary arrangements for carrying out the assessments have been made for those who have been tested at the police station in which the person was detained. Such a notification can apply to a police area or to a single police station.
Clause 10: Follow-up assessment
31. This clause in subsections (1) and (2), provides that a police officer must, when imposing a requirement to attend an initial assessment under clause 9, also require the person to attend a follow-up assessment and must inform the person that this second requirement will cease to have effect if he is informed at the initial assessment that he is no longer required to attend the follow-up assessment. Subsections (3) and (4) set out the purposes of the follow-up assessment. Similar age and notification conditions apply to those for an initial assessment. Subsection (5) provides that the person concerned must have reached the age of 18, (or a different age if is so specified by order of the Secretary of State). Subsections (6) and (7) provide that a person can only be subject to the requirement where the relevant chief police officer has been informed that the necessary arrangements for carrying out the assessments have been made for those who have been tested at the police station in which the person was detained.
Clause 11: Requirements under sections 9 and 10: supplemental
32. This clause imposes a number of obligations on police officers where they require a person to attend an initial assessment under clause 9, or both an initial assessment and a follow-up assessment under clause 10. Subsection (2) requires a police officer to inform the person of the time and place of the initial assessment and subsection (3) requires a police officer to warn the person that he may be prosecuted if he fails, without good reason, to attend for the duration of the initial assessment. Subsection (4) requires a police officer to give a similar warning in the case of a person who is also required to attend a follow-up assessment. Subsection (5) requires a police officer to confirm the requirement to attend an initial assessment or both an initial assessment and a follow-up assessment (as the case may be) and the matters expressed verbally under subsections (2) and (3) and any warning given under subsection(4) in writing. Subsection (6) confirms that this information must be conveyed verbally and in writing before the person is released from police detention. Subsection (7) requires the provision of such information to be recorded in the person's custody record. Subsection (8) enables the police or a suitably qualified person to provide a further written notice to the person varying the time and/or place of the initial assessment and repeating the previous warning regarding threat of prosecution.
Clause 12: Attendance at initial assessment
33. This clause in subsection (2), places a duty on the person conducting the initial assessment to inform the police if the person concerned fails to attend or remain for the duration of that assessment. Subsections (3) and (4) provide that a person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine, imprisonment or both if they fail to attend and remain for the duration of the initial assessment. Subsection (5) provides that a person who fails to attend the initial assessment will no longer be required to attend a follow-up assessment.
Clause 13: Arrangements for follow-up assessment
34. This clause sets out the arrangements for a follow-up assessment. Subsections (2) and (3) provide that the requirement for a person to attend a follow-up assessment ceases to have effect if the person is informed by the initial assessor that he is no longer required to attend that assessment. The initial assessor will do so where he considers that a follow-up assessment is not appropriate. Subsections (4) and (5) require the initial assessor, where he considers a follow-up assessment to be appropriate, to inform the person of the time and place of that assessment and warn the person that a failure to attend for the duration of the assessment without good cause may render him liable to prosecution. Subsection (6) requires the initial assessor to confirm the requirement and the matters expressed verbally in subsections (4) and (5) in writing. Subsection (7) confirms that this information must be conveyed verbally and in writing before the end of initial assessment. Subsection (8) enables the initial assessor or another qualified person to provide a further written notice to the person varying the time and/or place of the follow up assessment and repeating the previous warning regarding threat of prosecution.
Clause 14: Attendance at follow-up assessment
35. This clause in subsection (2), places a duty on the person conducting the follow-up assessment to inform the police if the person concerned fails to attend or remain for the duration of that assessment. Subsections (3) and (4) provide that a person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine, imprisonment or both if they fail to attend and remain for the duration of the follow-up assessment.
Clause 15: Disclosure of information about assessments
36. This clause provides that information obtained as a result of the initial assessment or follow-up assessment may not be disclosed without the written consent of the person concerned except in the case of information sharing with those involved in the conduct of the initial assessment and follow-up assessment.
Clause 16: Samples submitted for further analysis
37. This clause provides that a person will no longer be required to attend an initial or follow-up assessment if, before he attends that assessment, a further analysis of the sample taken reveals that it was negative.
Clause 17: Relationship with the Bail Act 1976 etc.
38. This clause in subsection (1) provides that a requirement to attend either an initial assessment or a follow-up assessment ceases to have effect if, before he has complied with the requirement in question, the person is charged with the offence in respect of which the drug test was taken and is granted bail by a court on the condition that he undergo a relevant assessment and/or participate in follow-up under the Bail Act 1976. Subsection (2) provides that a relevant assessment for the purposes of the Bail Act 1976 is to be treated as having been carried out where a person attends for the duration of an initial assessment and the initial assessor is satisfied that the assessment fulfilled the purposes of the relevant assessment. Subsection (3) further provides that a person will be considered to have undergone such a relevant assessment in those circumstances. Subsection (4) provides that an initial assessor may disclose information regarding the initial assessment to enable a court to determine whether those circumstances arise.
Clause 18: Orders under this Part and guidance
39. This clause provides that an order made by the Secretary of State amending the age at which persons may be required to attend an initial assessment and a follow-up assessment may make provision where appropriate in respect of persons under the age of eighteen, may make different provision for different police areas and must be approved in draft by both Houses of Parliament. Subsection (3) provides that a police officer and a suitably qualified person must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State under this Part of the Bill.
Clause 19: Interpretation
40. This clause defines a number of terms that are used in Part 3 of the Bill.
Part 4: Miscellaneous and General
Clause 20: Intervention Order
Clause 21: Inclusion of mushrooms containing Psilocin etc. as Class A drugs
44. This clause inserts into Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 a fungus of any kind that contains the drug Psilocin or an ester of that drug. This has the effect of making such a fungus, often referred to as 'magic mushrooms', a Class A drug for the purposes of the 1971 Act. Currently, such a fungus is only a class A drug where it is in a form which constitutes a preparation or other product containing Psilocin or an ester Psilocin for the purposes of paragraph 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the 1971 Act.
Clause 22: Financial provision
45. This clause authorises additional expenditure incurred by the Secretary of State as a result of the provisions of the Bill and increases in expenditure under existing Acts.
Clause 23: Amendments and repeals
46. This clause gives effect to the Schedules which set out legislation to be amended and repealed.
47. Paragraph 2 amends section 37 of the Police and Criminal Evidence act 1984 ("PACE") to enable persons who would otherwise be released on bail to be detained to allow a sample to be taken before release so long as that extended detention does not take the total period of continuous detention for that offence beyond twenty-four hours.
48. Paragraph 3 amends section 38(1)(a)(iiia) and section 38(6A) of PACE.
49. Paragraph 4 amends section 63B(7) of PACE to enable the results of drug tests obtained under that section to be disclosed for the purposes of an initial assessment or a follow-up assessment and for the purposes of proceedings in respect of a failure to attend for the duration of either.
50. Paragraph 5 omits subsection 57(5) of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 which has been superseded by amendments made in Clause 7.
51. Paragraph 6 repeals section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001(which has not been brought into force). Section 38 of the 2001 Act prospectively amended section 8 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by creating an offence of permitting the use of a controlled drug on premises. This section is being repealed because adequate powers to close premises where drugs are used unlawfully are now provided for in Part 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.
52. Paragraph 7 amends section 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. It provides that where a constable serves a closure notice under that section and fixes a copy of the notice to at least one prominent place on the premises he may enter any premises in question for the purposes of doing so (using reasonable force if necessary).
53. Paragraph 8 omits subsection 5(3)(a) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which has been superseded by amendments made in Clause 7.
Clause 24: Short title, commencement and extent
54. Subsection (1) sets out the short title of the Bill. Subsections (2) to (5) provide for commencement. Subsections (6) and (7) set out the extent of the Bill.
FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL
55. The total cost of the testing on arrest provision at clause 7 and the initial assessment following testing for presence of Class A drugs provision at clause 9 is £10.8 million (to be covered by Home Office expenditure). The treatment costs arising from clauses 7 and 9 are £6.5 million, which will be met by the Department of Health treatment budget. The proposal will also require certain individuals to attend a follow-up assessment, where a care plan will be drawn up. This will be implemented once the expanded workforce is in place and frontline efficiencies have been achieved. There are downstream costs to the Criminal Justice System but these are expected to be balanced by savings arising from reduced offending.
56. In respect of clause 20 (relating to Anti-social Behaviour Orders), it is estimated that this proposal will produce some 100 orders per year, resulting in an annual assessment and treatment cost of approximately £0.37 million. The Criminal Justice System costs are minimal. The overall costs would be offset if the annual number of incidents of anti-social behaviour were to reduce by 0.02% of the 15 million total incidents. The Home Office and Department of Health have agreed to fund the costs from the pooled treatment budget. We have given a commitment to delay commencement of this provision until April 2006.
58. The repeal of Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (clause 23) carries no cost. The clarification of the law regarding fungi containing Psilocin or an ester of Psilocin (clause 21) carries a cost of up to £1 million to business in terms of lost trade.
EFFECTS OF THE BILL ON PUBLIC SECTOR MANPOWER
59. Clause 7 and clause 9 involve manpower funding to implement drug testing and assessment.
60. Clause 20 will have a minimal impact on public sector manpower.
61. Clauses 1-6 and 8 will have a minimal impact on manpower, as the impact will be offset by the Criminal Justice System savings and efficiency gains. The extended detention provision will allow police forces to equip a custody suite, which would require one additional supervising officer per day.
62. Clauses 21 and 23 will have no impact on public sector manpower.
SUMMARY OF REGULATORY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
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