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Police and Justice Bill: Clause 12

Volume 684: debated on Friday 14 July 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How the powers to be conferred upon police constables by Clause 12 of the Police and Justice Bill will improve their ability to detect and prosecute theft of passengers’ baggage and theft from items of passengers’ baggage by those employed at airports; and what is their estimate of the extra number of offences each year that will be prosecuted as a result.[HL6739]

Clause 12 of the Police and Justice Bill—“Information gathering powers: extension to domestic flights”—amends Section 32 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to enable the police to gain advance bulk access to passenger, crew and service information on air and sea journeys within the United Kingdom for certain purposes. The new power will enable the police to gain effective intelligence on the movement of known terrorist suspects and criminals and will allow them to build up a detailed picture of suspect passengers, travel patterns and networks. Improved intelligence will result in more targeted interventions and reduce the likelihood of innocent travellers being stopped. It is not intended to help the police to detect and prosecute the theft of passengers’ baggage at airports, which is more appropriate to Clause 10. Clause 10 introduces a new power for police to stop and search any person at an aerodrome, amending Part III of the Aviation Security Act 1982, to enable a police constable to stop and search, without warrant, any person, vehicle or aircraft in any area of an aerodrome where he has reasonable grounds to suspect that criminal activity has, or is about to, take place. The aim of this new power is to reduce opportunities for criminal activity at airports and, in turn, simultaneously to reduce opportunities for organised crime and terrorist activity. As such, it will extend to crimes involving the theft of and from passengers’ baggage although at this stage we have no reliable estimates of the number of prosecutions that may result.