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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: As ever, the Minister has a very courteous way of saying, "No". I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Davies of Oldham moved Amendment No. 242A:

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 161, as amended, agreed to.

10 Jul 2003 : Column GC161

Clause 162 [Search of person on arrest]:

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 243:

    Page 87, line 37, leave out "or gloves" and insert "headgear, gloves or footwear"

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 243, I shall speak also to Clause 162 stand part of the Bill. I tabled this amendment because I was intrigued by the variety of wording in different legislation about clothing that may be removed in the event of a search. I should like to draw out from the Government why there is this incompatibility between legislation.

In Committee in another place, my honourable friend Nick Hawkins pointed out that subsection (5) authorises the search of a person involving the removal of the person's outer coat, jacket and gloves only, and the search of a person's mouth. That seems a rather limited criteria. As he pointed out, there are numerous examples of people of different religions or beliefs concealing illicit substances in their headwear or in their hat. He emphasised that it was a potentially problematic loophole in legislation which dealt with the search of a person and one which he had raised on previous occasions with some success because the Government had made amendments to a previous Bill.

Of course, it has been proved that he is right. One can think of the infamous shoe bomber—Mr Reid—who concealed explosives in the heel of his shoe. On that basis, it is important that we should obtain clarity from the Government with this amendment. I was delighted that, during the passage of the Courts Bill through this House, the previous Lord Chancellor brought forward an amendment which dealt with this issue. It extended the wording of the clause in that Bill involving the search of a person to allow the officer to require the removal, not only of coat, jacket and gloves, but also of headgear and footwear. That was welcomed all around the House. I have therefore borrowed the wording of that amendment in drafting my own amendment to Clause 162. It has the merit of using the word "headgear" rather than "hat", giving greater applicability across different ethnic backgrounds.

I hope that the Minister can explain to Members of the Committee why the Government use different criteria in different Bills with regard to what may be removed for a search. I beg to move.

Lord Davies of Oldham: The noble Baroness is asking for a great deal if she is hoping to receive from me an encyclopaedic knowledge of all Bills and Acts which refer to clothing. What I shall try to do is reassure her that in this Bill we want to achieve a position of some consistency, which I think was the burden of her remarks. As far as possible, we would not want to depart from normal domestic procedure; issues with regard to extradition cases should be dealt with in the same way as other police arrests.

There is no general power to remove headgear or footwear in normal domestic cases. Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act allows for the

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removal of masks and other facial coverings, but only when these are being worn for the purpose of concealing identity. Section 45 of the Terrorism Act allows for the removal of headgear, but only for the purpose of searching for articles which could be used for terrorist purposes. I think that that would cover the case of Reid, to which she referred in terms of the lethal shoes.

These are both very limited powers and do not confer a general power on the police to remove hats in the way in which this amendment seeks. There may be something to be said for maintaining consistency between police powers in domestic cases and those in extradition cases. Imagine that the police stop a motorist for erratic driving and there is potential for an offence. On referring to the police computer, the officer appreciates that there may be some other potential offence which needs to be examined. It would be a little tough on the officer if he had to adopt two different approaches according to which legislation he was operating under. As far as the police are concerned, it is better and more straightforward that domestic and extradition legislation are squared.

A further issue with regard to headgear—I am sure that the noble Baroness recognises it—is sensitivity. I appreciate what she says about the necessity of guaranteeing security when headgear could be used to conceal dangerous material, but she will also know that headgear can be of very great religious significance to certain ethnic minorities. Therefore, we would want to take care to recognise this dimension, as we have with domestic legislation. We would want to do that with regard to this Bill as well. I should also emphasise the obvious fact that should a more detailed and intimate search be necessary, that is provided for under Clause 166 at a police station.

Currently, we are out for consultation on a code of practice on police powers. It will be interesting whether the police come back on these matters or others while the consultation is ongoing. I am not seeking to convey to the noble Baroness a closed mind on this matter, I am merely indicating that we are with her in the search for consistency. We think that there are very good reasons why there should be consistency between potential extradition cases and domestic law. It is for those reasons that I hope she considers she can safely withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My only comfort is that the Minister said that he does not have a closed mind on this matter and will look at it again. Like him, I am trying to achieve consistency. In the Courts Bill, the Government purposely chose a different kind of terminology for searches, which may indeed be carried out by police officers as well as by security officers in court. I, too, am very much alive to the sensitivity of the use of the word headgear as it might affect Rastafarians or Sikhs who have very special and proper reasons for wearing distinctive headgear.

That is why I was surprised when the Government used that terminology. The Minister said today that it would be tough on the police if they have to use two different approaches. The Government are already

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making them do that in domestic law, although in different circumstances—whether in court or on a street. I shall consider this issue further. I am not trying to make the life of the police any more difficult; I am trying to make their life more safe when searching people. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 162 agreed to.

Clause 163 [Entry and search of premises after arrest]:

Lord Davies of Oldham moved Amendments Nos. 243A to 243E:

    Page 88, line 11, after "suspecting" insert "—

(a) if the person has not been convicted of the relevant offence," Page 88, line 13, leave out "or" and insert ";

(b) in any case, that there is on the premises evidence (other than items subject to legal privilege) relating" Page 88, line 21, leave out "or has been convicted"

    Page 88, line 24, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert "—

(a) if the person has not been convicted of the relevant offence, is a power to search for evidence (other than items subject to legal privilege) relating to the relevant offence;
(b) in any case, is a power to search for evidence (other than items subject to legal privilege) relating to the identity of the person.
(4A) The power to search conferred by subsection (2) is exercisable only to the extent that it is reasonably required for the purpose of discovering evidence in respect of which the power is available by virtue of subsection (4)." Page 88, line 30, leave out "subsection (4)" and insert "subsections (4) and (4A)"

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 244:

    Page 88, line 39, after "if" insert—

"(a) in Scotland, a sheriff, on application made to him by a procurator fiscal, and if satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to seize the item to prevent it being concealed, lost, damaged, altered or destroyed, has given written authorisation for the exercise of these powers; or
(b) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland"

The noble Baroness said: I move this amendment in the absence of my noble friend Lady Carnegy and shall speak also to Amendment No. 246. I apologise on behalf of the noble Baroness. As one is aware, flights to Scotland do not leave very late on Thursday evenings, so the noble Baroness has had to leave us early.

Amendments Nos. 244 and 246 were suggested to us by the Law Society of Scotland. They ensure that there must be judicial supervision of the exercise of these powers in Scotland. The power to enter and search premises under Clause 163 is given a degree of

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oversight by the fact that written authorisation for the exercise of those powers must be given by a police officer of the rank of inspector or above. Subsection (10), however, indicates that no such oversight is to be applied in Scotland. The amendment seeks to address that omission and makes provision for an application to the sheriff for written authorisation.

We have tabled the amendment simply to ask the Government why there was different treatment between the different countries. I beg to move.

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