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Lord Stoddart of Swindon: I rise to speak briefly because I raised a number of matters during the Second Reading which I fear were not answered by the noble Baroness to my satisfaction. I believe that the police should act extremely sensitively, and the Home Secretary should be satisfied that they will act with extreme sensitivity, because there is a certain indignity in being stopped in the street by a constable--I accept now that it has to be a constable in uniform--and asked to remove certain articles of clothing. There is indignity involved there and the way this is done has to be in such a way as to put a person who is placed in such a position as much at ease as possible. I hope that that matter will be taken up.

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I am particularly worried about the position of women. Even in this politically correct age when women are supposed to be equal, and indeed are equal in every respect except as regards biology, there is a sensitivity as regards the way in which women are treated. I sincerely hope that the police will be asked to ensure that wherever possible women subjected to this sort of search will have the search undertaken by a female officer. I should not have thought that was too difficult an assurance to give to me this afternoon. I hope that the noble Baroness will be able to do so.

I am also concerned about the position of juveniles. As I understand the law, juveniles are not children but are people up to the age of 17. I am concerned about fair treatment. Again I ask that it should be put to the Metropolitan Police and any other police force, that they should use particular sensitivity in relation to those people. Will there be any record of a person who is searched, and will the name and address of the person who is searched be taken by the constable? Will that information be registered, where will it be registered and for how long will the record, if there is a to be a record, remain on police files?

Baroness O'Cathain: I ask for clarification on the point the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, made about searching women. Women have a particular problem in this respect and it is right to show some sensitivity. However, as far as I recall, when one passes through security at airports, women are not always searched by women. Certainly in some overseas countries that is not the case. However, I believe that some machines can now be used to search women. The machines are big round things with handles and they are run up and down a person's body. One is not actually touched by either a man or a woman when one is being searched. I should have thought that such a machine would be useful in the case we are discussing because I do not think it is feasible to say that every woman should be searched by a woman. I do not know what is the proportion of women officers in the police force but I should have thought that it is still significantly lower than 50 per cent. of the total police force, whereas women comprise more than 50 per cent. of the population. I believe there is a problem here which I am sure could be overcome. The noble Lord has raised an important point.

Baroness Park of Monmouth: Naturally, with the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, I hope that this can be conducted in a sensitive way. However, I remind the Committee that it was a charming woman who gave a young soldier at a checkpoint in Belfast a cake at Christmas which contained a bomb.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I wish to mention an anxiety--in support of the amendment--about the need for sensitivity when asking women to remove their headwear when that is worn because of their religious faith. I think particularly of Moslem women.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Before the noble Baroness replies I wish to refer to what the noble

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Baroness, Lady O'Cathain, has just mentioned. I appreciate that there are women terrorists and of course people are searched at airports. However, the situation I am discussing is where people will be searched in the street. When people go to an airport they expect to be searched; I hope, usually, by someone of the same sex, but nevertheless they expect to be subjected to a search procedure. In the case I am discussing a person who is just walking along the street may be approached by a constable who asks to search that person. I believe that particular sensitivity needs to be shown as regards searching people on the street who have no prior knowledge that they will be searched and who will be surprised by that.

Baroness Strange: This is a question of sensitivity. My mother was once stopped and asked to remove her hat because it was thought she might have a gun underneath it. She was delighted to remove it and the person who searched her very kindly helped her to put her hat back on again, with the hat pins!

Baroness Blatch: This is an important point and I certainly do not take it lightly. I repeat the assurance given by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary that there certainly will be guidance on the use of these powers in consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers and others, as the noble Lord has asked. While that guidance is in preparation we think it important not to have a hiatus and therefore my right honourable friend will issue immediate provisional guidance. He will also advise that the relevant PACE Code A for stop and search should be applied to all the stop and search provisions. As has already been said by myself and the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, the police have already told us that they will apply the PACE code voluntarily until the new provisions are formally brought within its scope.

I wish to clear up a point which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, made. There are no common law stop and search powers. They were swept away by PACE, and therefore they should no longer be a concern. My understanding of the registration point referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, is that names of persons are taken and recorded, and indeed so too is their ethnic origin. That is all part of the way in which the police must operate under PACE. The monitoring that will be carried out will include ethnic monitoring. The ring of steel to which the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, referred was established by means of powers to control the movement of traffic and not for security reasons, although it has to be said that it helps to maintain security. For those reasons I hope that the amendment will not be pressed.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am grateful to the Minister for correcting me as regards common law powers. I was amused by what she said about the ring of steel. Of course it was introduced by the Corporation of the City of London under traffic regulations but it was never hesitant about saying that it was doing it for security purposes. I do not think we should be diverted from the aim of ensuring sensitivity in the operation of such controls by the ostensible purpose rather than the

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real purpose of the measures. This may not be relevant to the Bill, but I happen to be a little cynical about the ring of steel altogether. I thought that it was simply an exercise in public relations and that it largely involved moving potential trouble away from one area into another area. I know that people in Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets thought the same. It is a great pity that it is now being extended to parts of the docklands. I believe that it is a misguided activity and I hope that guidance as regards this clause would help to stop people using such crude measures as the City corporation's ring of steel.

The debate has been useful--not in the sense that I intended to seek the opinion of the Committee, because I have the assurances that I sought. It is useful in that it has been an opportunity for noble Lords to give expression to their many concerns about the operation of these powers. None of those concerns in any way diminishes our support for anti-terrorist measures. But there can be no doubt that anti-terrorist measures introduced as such have an impact on civil liberties which goes beyond the need to combat terrorism. That has been the case in the past. It would be extraordinary if it were not the case in the future. Issues debated later in Committee about review will be most relevant to that.

In the meantime, in view of the assurances that I have been given, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 1, line 6, after ("appears") insert ("reasonable").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 2, I speak also to Amendment No. 7, both of which insert the word "reasonable", first, in Clause 1, and, secondly, in Clause 4. On reflection, they are not perhaps the most elegant in syntactical terms. Amendment No. 1 provides,

    "Where it appears reasonable to a police officer of the rank ... that it is expedient to do so".
That is not very pretty. Perhaps we should have used the phrase, "Where it reasonably appears to a police officer", rather than face the problems that I now have. Again it is not my intention to press the amendments to a Division.

However, it is important that all noble Lords should recognise the extent to which those powers are exercised solely on the authorisation of, and by, the police themselves. There is no outside intervention in the exercise of these powers until subsections (8) and (9). Other powers in the Bill are subject to a warrant issued by a magistrate. Even then, after a certain period, there is intervention by a Secretary of State. But initially an area can be declared by the police; and the authorisation can be enforced by them, as the Bill stands, for a period of 48 hours without any other agency having a say in the matter. It seems to me, if only for their protection, that the police should be required explicitly in the legislation to act reasonably. Therefore there should be objective tests which can be tested in a court of whether their action was reasonable.

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Clearly no one in a case of an emergency which could result in a bomb will worry about the niceties of what might be said in a court afterwards. I do not argue that. However, experience as regards stop and search provisions over the years has indicated that hundreds of thousands of people have been stopped and searched with a minimal result in arrests and an even smaller result in arrests for terrorist offences.

That is not to say that the provisions are wrong. It may well be necessary to carry out a huge screening in order to find a limited number of terrorists. It needs only a limited number of terrorists to cause a great deal of damage. I do not argue on that point. But where the police alone are involved for a period of up to 48 hours, as the Bill provides, then an objective test which can be challenged in the courts as to whether they behaved reasonably is a desirable practice.

I may be told that police have to behave reasonably anyway. That is often the response to such amendments. However, if we seek not only to ensure that legislation is effective but is seen to be effective by the general public, these amendments are desirable. I hope that the Government will accept them. I beg to move.

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