Joint Committee On Human Rights Third Report



Government Bill in the House of Lords

POLICE (NORTHERN IRELAND) BILL

59. The Rt. Hon. Lord Williams of Mostyn has made a statement of compatibility under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Bill is published with Explanatory Notes,[42] which adequately identify Convention rights engaged by the Bill. The provisions of Part 2 of the Bill, concerning police powers, provide for police powers of arrest, detention, search, seizure, and investigation to be exercised in certain circumstances by designated support staff. They also provide for intimate samples, which could previously be taken only by a medical practitioner, to be taken in some circumstances by a registered health care professional, such as a registered nurse. These provisions affect rights under ECHR Articles 5 (right to liberty) and 8 (right to respect for private life). They would bring the law in Northern Ireland into line with that in England and Wales under the Police Reform Act 2002. When examining the Police Reform Bill in the 2001-02 session, we concluded, in the light of an exchange of letters with the Home Office, that the provisions corresponding to those contained in Part 2 of the present Bill were compatible with human rights, while recommending that the Government should lay before each House information about the training to be given to civilian support officers before they started to exercise the powers.[43] We reach the same conclusion, and make the same recommendation, in respect of the current Bill.


42   HL Bill 15-EN Back

43   See Joint Committee on Human Rights, Fifteenth Report of 2001-02, Police Reform Bill: Further Report, HL Paper 98, HC 706, para. 39 Back


 
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