Section 185 – Powers to investigate criminal offences
212.The section amends the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (“PACE”) to provide the Welsh Ministers with the power to make regulations to apply certain provisions of PACE to the investigation of criminal offences conducted by the WRA. This would enable WRA to use specified PACE powers during the investigation of various criminal offences, such as the offences created in this Act, as well as those established by the Fraud Act 2006, or common law offences such as cheating the public revenue.
213.The powers provided by PACE include the standard tools of criminal investigations, such as search warrants, the power to arrest and detain a person in connection with an investigation; and orders requiring the production of certain information.
214.The section also allows the regulations applying the provisions to modify the exercise of the powers in certain respects.
215.Section 114 of PACE provides HM Treasury with a similar power to apply certain provisions of PACE to the criminal investigation of offences conducted by HMRC.
216.Subsection (2) provides the Welsh Ministers with a similar power to make regulations in relation to the provisions in Part 2 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (“the CJPA”), which give investigators certain powers to seize and retain material found during the course of a search.
217.The powers in both subsections include power to permit persons conducting WRA investigations to use reasonable force in the exercise of these powers. Both PACE and CJPA are silent about the Police’s ability to use reasonable force as the Police have a general power to use reasonable force in the exercise of Police functions. That would not go without saying for persons conducting investigations for WRA. Hence the need to ensure the powers in these subsections can include that kind of provision.
218.Regulations may not be made under this section unless a draft has been first laid before and subsequently approved by a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.