28.Clause 13 currently provides for a power to enter and search the homes of persons on the registered terrorist offenders list for the purpose of assessing the risk posed by the person. We expressed concern that the power to enter and search a person’s home is a severe intrusion with the right to private life and should not be exercised merely for the purpose of a ‘risk assessment’.
29.In its response, the Government states that the power may only be exercised as a last resort and requires a warrant and compliance with the Powers of Entry Code of Practice. Whilst these are important safeguards, nevertheless, the threshold for exercising the power remains low. We also note that the Government response states that this power is to allow the police “to assure themselves that the person does in fact reside at the address they have notified, and to monitor compliance with other aspects of the notification regime.” We see no reason why the Bill should not reflect this, rather than containing the vaguer requirement of “assessing risks”.
30.While we note that the Bill stipulates that a warrant will only be given if a constable has previously failed to obtain entry to the premises on two or more occasions, we consider there should be a clearer requirement that the power be used when it is necessary and proportionate to do so, and there are grounds for suspicion that requirements have been breached.
31.We suggest the following amendments:
Page 15, line 16 to 17, leave out “the risks posed by the person to whom the warrant relates” and insert “whether the person to whom the warrant relates is in breach of his or her notification requirements.”
Page 15, line 25, at end insert–
“that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person to whom the warrant relates is in breach of his or her notification requirements,”
Page 15, line 26, after “necessary” insert “and proportionate”
Comment: these amendments narrow the power in clause 12 by requiring a reasonable belief that the registered person has breached his or her notification requirements and ensures that the exercise of this power must be both necessary and proportionate.
19 , para 51
Published: 12 October 2018