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Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Addington, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Browne-Wilkinson, L.
Chorley, L.
David, B.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Falkland, V.
Geraint, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L. [Teller.]
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grey, E.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Hoffmann, L.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McNair, L.
Mishcon, L.
Monkswell, L.
Monson, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Nicol, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Rea, L.
Richard, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L. [Teller.]
Russell, E.
Seear, B.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Thurso, V.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warnock, B.
Whaddon, L.
White, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Winston, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Abinger, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Caldecote, V.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Crickhowell, L.
Cuckney, L.
Cumberlege, B.
De L'Isle, V.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donegall, M.
Downshire, M.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Goschen, V.
Halsbury, E.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hertford, M.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooper, B.
Inglewood, L.
Jakobovits, L.
Kenyon, L.
Keyes, L.
Knights, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Leigh, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Marlesford, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Newall, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Prentice, L.
Quinton, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Romney, E.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Swinfen, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Trumpington, B. [Teller.]
Ullswater, V.
Wharton, B.
Wise, L.
Wyatt of Weeford, L.
Young, B.

[*The Tellers for the Not-Contents reported 107 names. The Clerks recorded 109 names.]

27 Jun 1996 : Column 1055

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

6.12 p.m.

[Amendment No. 5 not moved.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 6:


Page 2, line 10, at end insert--
("( ) Those parts of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and guidelines issued in association with that Act which relate to police searches of premises shall apply to the Security Service in the exercise of their function under section 1(4) of the Security Service Act 1989.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, a number of amendments in Committee sought to introduce elements of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act into this Bill. This is a further similar attempt in Clause 2 and it is very limited in scope. The amendment states:


    "Those parts of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and guidelines issued in association with that Act which relate to police searches of premises shall apply to the Security Service in the exercise of their function under section 1(4) of the Security Service Act 1989"--

in other words, the functions with which this Bill is concerned.

There are two possible government responses to the amendment. The first is that it is unnecessary; in other words, that those guidelines will apply. The second is that it is undesirable and that they should not apply. I hope that the Government will give the first answer and that I shall be able to withdraw the amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Blatch: My Lords, as I have said countless times, the Bill before your Lordships confers no new powers on the Security Service. Rather, it allows the Security Service to use its existing powers in a new area. Among these powers is the ability to seek from the Secretary of State a warrant authorising "entry on, or interference, with property"--so called "property warrants". As has been pointed out, such a warrant could be used to enter a property to search for information.

It is important to appreciate that such searches would, by definition, be covert in nature and would often be conducted without the knowledge of the property owner.

27 Jun 1996 : Column 1056

The intrusive nature of such a power is recognised by the fact that warrants require the personal authorisation of the Secretary of State and he may only issue such a warrant if the desired result could not reasonably be achieved by any other means.

The police are able to undertake similar actions on authorisation from a chief officer. This is something we have discussed during the Bill's earlier stages and, as your Lordships are aware, the Government have accepted that the present situation is unsatisfactory and intend to introduce early legislation to put police intrusive operations on a clear statutory footing.

It is important to realise that such covert searches, whether undertaken by the police or the Security Service, are very different from the kind of searches that are regulated by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The searches which that Act deals with are the kind authorised by a magistrate or court. I remind your Lordships that the Security Service has no executive powers, and is not to be given any, and cannot apply for such search warrants.

The searches that the Police and Criminal Evidence Act deals with are overt and are normally conducted with the full knowledge of the owner or occupier of the property. The code of practice governing such searches reflects this. It therefore contains provisions stipulating that a search must normally be undertaken at a reasonable hour of the day and a requirement that the searching officer should initially attempt to communicate with the occupier of the premises and must identify himself.

This is all a far cry from the kinds of searches that the Security Service may be authorised to undertake and, I am sure your Lordships will agree, the provisions to which I have just referred, and others, would be most inappropriate for the Security Service. I hope therefore that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, will understand why we are unable to accept his amendment.

However, I assure your Lordships that even if the Security Service cannot be bound by the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act codes of practice, there are still a multiplicity of safeguards surrounding the issuing of property warrants. As I have already mentioned all such warrants have to be personally authorised by the Secretary of State and he can only authorise one if the end sought cannot reasonably be achieved by other means. Beyond that, the issue of all warrants is subject to independent scrutiny by an independent commissioner who is a senior member of the judiciary.

In the light of what I have said, in particular as regards the inappropriateness of the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act for the kind of searches that the Security Service may seek to carry out, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I feared as much. That was the wrong answer. To summarise brutally, the Minister is saying that the Security Service will not abide by civilised standards. I do not think that the police often do so. I do not think that breaking down

27 Jun 1996 : Column 1057

the door at six o'clock in the morning, which is not uncommon, sometimes with the press present, is in accordance with Police and Criminal Evidence Act guidelines, but it seems to happen quite a lot.

I am deeply disappointed that the Minister does not recognise the need to have something comparable with Police and Criminal Evidence Act guidelines. If they have to be altered to fit the circumstances of the case, then so be it. But there should not be the complete divorce from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act when these operations are being carried out in this country against serious crime and the police are also involved. There should not be a dual standard. I am disappointed but I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

6.15 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 7:


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