Clause 290 - Report on exercise of powers

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:15 pm ar 8 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Ian Davidson Ian Davidson Labour/Co-operative, Glasgow Pollok 6:15, 8 Ionawr 2002

When the Minister responds, will he clarify whether the appointed person will be instructed to accept that mistakes will inevitably be made? Mistakes, or seizures without successful results, should not be a cause for rebuke. Will the appointed person be guided to accept that it is far better—if necessary—for a considerable number of innocent people to be inconvenienced by searches either of their premises or their persons, rather than for those who consistently trade in death-dealing drugs to be allowed to go free?

As a Parliament, we should accept that even if most searches prove unsuccessful, the police should not be unnecessarily fettered. The nearest parallel is the current regular searches of young people in my area for knives. Most such searches are unsuccessful, but the knowledge that they are carried out regularly has had a major effect in reducing the percentage of youngsters who carry knives. The prospect of a search undoubtedly deters many youngsters from carrying knives, and the exercise of powers being unnecessarily criticised by an independent person would not be helpful. I hope that my hon. Friend can accept that.

Can my hon. Friend also assure me that the appointed person need not be a lawyer?