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Chemical Or Biological Attacks

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers (a) police officers and (b) firemen have to require decontamination of members of the public in the event of chemical or biological attack in the UK. [102519]

The police have powers under Public Order legislation and common law to preserve the peace and prevent crime and will take whatever action may be necessary to control the scene of an emergency in the interests of public safety. In appropriate circumstances public health legislation may also be used to protect the public. As part of preparations for the Civil Contingencies Bill, we are currently examining whether further to strengthen those powers to enhance protection of the public.