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 Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution) 12:30, 8 Medi 2022

Clause 51 applies schedule 8, which makes provision about various powers of entry, search, seizure and retention—to enter and search premises for the purpose of personally serving, to search for items that breach the notice, and to search when there is a suspicion of absconding. A warrant is required to search people or premises for the purposes of determining whether an individual is complying with the measures specified in the notice, and the warrant is to be granted only if necessary.

However, some of the powers in paragraph 10 appear to be rather broad, allowing a person to be searched without a warrant to see whether they might be

“in possession of anything that could be used to threaten or harm any person”.

I am not quite sure what that means. Unlike in the case of other warrantless powers, there is no requirement even for suspicion that someone is likely to threaten or cause harm. What is the justification or the reason for that?

Paragraphs 11 and 12 contain very strong powers to retain certain items which are seized, with no time limit other than

“as long as is necessary in all the circumstances.”

There follows a non-exhaustive example of what could represent necessity, but necessary for what? Is there provision for a person to challenge the ongoing retention of property seized by police under these powers? Is there a model for this drafting that has been used elsewhere? If there is, and if a piece warrantless search and retention legislation exists, how frequently is such a measure used?