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Lord Swinfen: My Lords, I think the noble Lord may have been misled by the grouping and has therefore taken the amendments in numerical order rather than in the order of thought. He may have forgotten what was said or perhaps he did not pay sufficient attention to what was said by those on the Liberal Democrat Front Bench and, indeed, behind him. I remember that the noble Lord, Lord Borrie, supported me in Committee.

The Minister has not satisfied me, and I should like to test the opinion of the House.

6.53 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 106) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 40; Not-Contents, 72.

Division No. 5


Addington, L.
Alderdice, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Barker, B.
Blatch, B.
Buscombe, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Goodhart, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Marlesford, L.
Monson, L.
Noakes, B.
O'Cathain, B.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shrewsbury, E.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Swinfen, L. [Teller]
Tordoff, L.
Ullswater, V.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Crawley, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mitchell, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rooker, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Uddin, B.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

8 May 2003 : Column 1289

7.3 p.m.

Clause 47 [Powers of search]:

[Amendment No. 107 not moved.]

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 108:

    Page 22, line 32, leave out "gloves or hat" and insert "headgear, gloves or footwear"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved Amendment No. 109:

    Page 22, line 36, at end insert—

"(4) Where a court security officer reasonably believes that a more thorough search is required arrangements should be made for this to take place in private."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we now move to Amendment No. 109 which would insert a provision, where a more thorough search is required, to allow the court security officer to make arrangements for that to take place in private. This debate gives noble Lords the opportunity to review some of the data collection which

8 May 2003 : Column 1290

the Minister has kindly made available. This data covers 68 per cent of the Crown Courts in England and Wales. It discloses that 22,500 items were confiscated during searches which began in May 2002 for the south- eastern, northern and midland regions. That figure is broken down as follows: 85.3 per cent of the items were knives; 14.5 per cent were tools, including items such as screwdrivers; and 0.17 per cent were firearms. It is rather disquieting to realise that the knives ranged from penknives to samurai swords. That reminds us of the dangers that we face from the increasing threat from terrorism as we discuss changes in the security arrangements. I was also concerned to hear from the Minister that anecdotal evidence from courts managers and security guards suggested that incidents requiring a physical intervention were increasing.

I move this amendment to press the Government for reassurance that court security officers will not just conduct a superficial search of those entering court buildings. They should be able to carry out a full search if they believe that it is necessary in the interests of the safety of the court. I beg to move.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, we have been over much of the ground discussed by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, in previous exchanges. We are grateful to the noble Lord for returning to the matter as it enables the Government to make plain the thorough approach which we intend to be adopted by court security services.

The noble Lord's amendment would require that arrangements should be made for "more thorough" and apparently intimate searches to take place in private. It is an entirely proper amendment. I understand the sentiment and strength of feeling behind it. The amendment would give the court security officers a more comprehensive power of search without allowing them to carry out more intimate searches.

But if the amendment proposing the removal of all restrictions on a court security officer's powers of search were to be accepted, the proposed amendment requiring more thorough searches to take place in private would be of some benefit, although, as currently drafted, and particularly if subsection (2) were to be removed, it is unclear how much more thorough the search would be. For the reasons I gave when I addressed Amendment No. 107, the Government consider it appropriate and justified to retain that restriction.

In summary, these reasons are centred on the fact that we consider the present powers to be adequate to deal with the threat that they are designed to address. We also acknowledge the need for the Bill to be consistent with the limitations on similar powers of search in other legislation. Consideration is given to Article 8 of the convention which addresses the right to respect for private life.

With that in mind, the amendment proposing more thorough searches by court security officers is in our view unnecessary as the officers will not have the power to carry out such searches. Where a court security officer considers that a more intimate search

8 May 2003 : Column 1291

is necessary, he or she will have to request the attendance of a police officer who will then carry out that search. We believe that that is a more appropriate way of dealing with the matter although I entirely understand why the noble Lord sought to have the provision put in place.

The noble Lord referred to statistics, some of which I believe that we discussed in Committee. Recent statistics have introduced a more in-depth analysis of the knives that were discovered. Nearly all were small knives under three inches; that is, penknives or similar, and would have been immediately detected by the metal detection equipment. We are confident that the security arches that we have in place and, no doubt, the wonderful waving wands, will do the job. We are very mindful of the threats that even such small weapons could pose to staff, members of the public and members of the judiciary. We take the issue seriously, and think that we have the balance of measures and the technology right. However, we will review the matter from time to time and monitor it very carefully.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for his understanding, and am very pleased to hear that steps are being taken to refine the figures. I understand that it is now a requirement that all the regions collect the information to which we have referred, which is very reassuring. I am also grateful to him for clarifying the way in which the more detailed searches will be carried out. In the light of that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 48 [Powers to exclude, remove or restrain persons]:

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved Amendment No. 110:

    Page 23, line 17, at end insert—

"( ) The Lord Chancellor shall ensure that sufficient resources are allocated in order to discharge the functions in subsections (2) and (3)."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, nowhere in the Bill can I find a commitment from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that he will provide adequate resources to enable security officers to carry out their duty. That is why I tabled the amendment. I beg to move.

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