Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirty-First Report


Memorandum by the Home Office


The Committee have requested a memorandum in respect of the above instrument on the following point:

  Rule 2(4) provides that an offender is not to be stripped and searched in the sight of any person other than the officers who are present at the search. Explain why (unlike rule 33(3)(c) of S.I. 1998/472) no provision is included prohibiting an offender from being stripped and searched in the sight or presence of an officer who is not of the same sex as the offender.

It is considered essential to provide that a search may only take place when at least two officers are present (rule 2(5)). This is for the protection of both the offender and the officers concerned. Wherever possible, only officers of the same sex as the offender will be present. However, the contract for the provision of escorts requires only one person of the same sex as the offender to be available for escort duties in relation to a particular offender as there will not necessarily be more than one female custody officer available at any one time. It is not anticipated that there will be a large number of female offenders but the situation will be carefully monitored by the escort monitor. The situation in the secure training centre itself is different, as the Committee have pointed out, but there will always be sufficient custody officers of each sex at the centre to ensure compliance with rule 33(3)(c).

31st March 1998

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