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|"London County Council(General Powers) Act 1900(c. cclxviii)||Section 27 (arrest for breach of byelaws).|
|Ministry of Housing and LocalGovernment ProvisionalOrder Confirmation (GreaterLondon Parks and OpenSpaces) Act 1967 (c. xxix)||Article 19 (power of detention) of the Order set out in the Schedule."|
The noble Lord said: This amendment relates to search warrants. Powers of police search of premises and seizure of evidence engage the right to privacy. In its current form, Section 8 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act provides safeguards against the arbitrary exercise of these powers through a regime of prior judicial scrutiny. We fear that, if enacted, the clauses will undermine the safeguards in that regime, giving rise to opportunities for unlawful speculative searches, harassment and unnecessary searches that are potentially dangerous and a waste of police time.
We believe that the types of warrants created in Clauses 109 and 110 would be genuinely appropriate only where, for a valid operational reason, the police could not return to court for each separate warrant; for example, where they would need to enter premises at very short notice to conserve evidence.
In many of those circumstances, measures could be adopted that would not remove judicial oversight. For example, provision could be made for emergency application by telephoneon a par with emergency applications for interim injunctions made by telephone to a judge. We recommend that, if that is not deemed to be practicable, further safeguards be inserted into the clauses. For example, the court should be satisfied that, for a valid operational reason, it is not reasonably practicable for individual warrant applications to be made in the normal way regarding different premises and different entries to the same premises.
The amendments are designed to retain a higher level of prior judicial scrutiny of applications for search warrants for multiple premises. We believe that there should be a valid operational reason why the police cannot apply for warrants singly in the usual
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way. The insertion of the safeguards would, we believe, help to prevent opportunities for speculative searches and harassment of suspects. I beg to move.
It is essential that application for and use of search warrants is, as the noble Lord rightly said, subject to independent scrutiny and oversight. We have maintained the essential role of the judiciary in the application for and issue of warrants. Importantly, when warrants are returned to court, they are duly endorsed to indicate the activities in relation to which the warrants have been used.
For all premises warrants, prior written authority from a senior officer of at least the rank of inspector who is not involved in the investigation will be required in addition to scrutiny of the application by the justice of the peace, before any additional premises may be entered and searched. We believe that we have enhanced the investigative process, while ensuring that the new powers are proportionately balanced against the rights and protections of the individual. I invite the noble Lord not to press the amendment.
"( ) In subsection (4)(b) after "related" insert "; except that
(c) where a person's photograph has been taken because he falls within one of subsections (1B)(c) to (f) (but not within (1B)(a) or (b)), the photograph must not be disclosed to any person for any purpose and must be destroyed as soon as either proceedings relating to the fixed penalty notice have been concluded, or a decision has been taken not to commence, or to discontinue, proceedings against him.""
The noble Lord said: The non-consensual photographing or video capture of people who have not been arrested for any offence engages the right to privacy, as protected by Article 8 of the European convention, as does the retention of the images.
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The Government have stated that the purpose of the provision is to prevent disputes about whether the person charged with an offence was the person required to wait with the community support officer or issued with a fixed penalty notice. That purpose is achieved when the proceedings are concluded or a decision is made not to initiate proceedings against the relevant person.
If a decision is taken not to proceed against a person or issue them with a fixed penalty notice, there is no legitimate reason for the images to be retained by the police. As the person has not admitted or been convicted of any offence, there is no reason why their image should find its way on to a police database of potential suspects or be shared with other agencies. The interference with privacy occasioned by such retention and/or disclosure of the images would not be necessary in a democratic society or proportionate. It would also give scope for arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by police of people on the database who may not be guilty of any crime. We fear that it might lead to the unfair targeting of particular groups in the community. I beg to move.
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