House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Justice And Security (Northern Ireland) Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Article 1 Protocol 1:

176.     Under Article 1 of the First Protocol, every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law. Article 1 of the First Protocol does not in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

177.     The power to seize property is arguably an interference with the enjoyment of that property and a control of its use. The power to destroy articles which have been seized would amount to a deprivation within the meaning of Article 1 of the First Protocol.

178.     Clause 21 provides a member of Her Majesty's forces with the power of seizure in relation to anything he reasonably suspects is, has been or is intended to be used in the commission of an offence under clause 30 or 31 (interfering with the Secretary of State's power to take possession of land or road closure powers).

179.     Paragraph 5 of Schedule 3 provides a power for a constable or a member of Her Majesty's Forces on duty to seize, and retain wireless equipment and munitions when the officer is exercising powers under Schedule 3 or clause 24 or 25 to search premises or a person. Munitions may also be destroyed if necessary.

180.     Clause 26 enables a member of Her Majesty's forces who performs a search under clauses 23 to 25 to remove and retain a document for up to 48 hours.

181.     Each of these powers are justified in the public and general interest of preventing the commission of an offence or obtaining evidence for use in the prosecution of offences. In addition to this:

  • Clause 21(4) powers to retain the equipment which is, has been or might be used to interfere with the powers to take possession of land or close roads is also necessary to preserve order and security since the inability to use the land which has been taken, or the opening of the roads which have been closed, might have serious implications for public order and policing on the ground;

  • The power of destruction in paragraph 5 of Schedule 3 only applies to items which were illegally held and is arguably in the interests of the prevention of crime, the protection of the rights and freedoms of others as well as safeguarding public safety.

  • There is a provision for a compensation scheme for loss or damage caused by the exercise of powers in clauses 20 to 31 under clause 37 and Schedule 4.


182.     The provisions of the Bill will come into force on a day appointed by order made by statutory instrument, except clauses 20 to 39, which come into force on 1 August 2007, clauses 48 to 51, which come into force on Royal Assent, and the repeals and revocations in Schedule 6, which come into force at the same time as the provisions of the Bill to which they relate. Commencement orders may appoint different days for different purposes and make transitional or saving provision relating to commencement.

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Prepared: 27 November 2006