Clause 51 - Powers of entry etc

Part of National Security Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 12:30 pm ar 8 Medi 2022.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 12:30, 8 Medi 2022

The clause gives effect to schedule 8, which provides the police with powers of search, entry, seizure and retention in a number of scenarios relating to STPIMs. For the sake of ease, I will cover the clause and the schedule together.

Before I go into the detail of the clause, I remind the Committee that STPIMs will be a tool of last resort. The Government will use every other tool at our disposal before resorting to such significant measures. Again, I remind the Committee that these measures mirror those in the TPIMs regime.

In order to effectively enforce the regime and check an individual is complying with the measures under their STPIM, the police will have the powers they need to enter premises, conduct necessary searches and seize and retain items as necessary. They will also be able to arrest the individual for a “breach of” offence if they fail to grant police access.

Schedule 8 provides powers to the police to enter and search premises without a warrant to locate an individual for the purpose of serving an STPIM notice or another specified notice on them; to search an individual or premises when serving an STPIM notice for the purpose of discovering anything that might breach any measures specified in the STPIM notice; to search premises on suspicion that an individual subject to an STPIM notice has absconded; and to search an individual subject to an STPIM notice for public safety purposes. It provides a power to police with a warrant to search an individual or premises to determine whether an individual is complying with the measures specified in the STPIM notice. There are also powers for a constable to seize and retain items found in the course of such searches.

I remind the Committee that the STPIM itself is kept under review and requires a court’s permission to impose the measure. That means that a court will have already agreed with the assessment of the Secretary of State that the individual meets the meet five conditions in clause 33, which the Committee has already agreed to. That means it is proportionate in terms of a national security determination for the police to be able to undertake the aforementioned activities without a warrant. The powers will be essential to managing and enforcing the measures imposed under STPIMs and, importantly, they provide the right balance between effective powers and safeguards for the rights of the individual.