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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 50: Additional powers of seizure from premises

162.This section sets out the key additional powers required to deal with the problem identified in Bramley. Subsection (1) applies where a constable or other person exercising an existing power of search is unable to determine whether something may be or may contain something for which he is authorised to search, e.g. where there is a large bulk of material. Subsection (2) applies to the situation where the constable is unable to separate out the material he is able to seize from that which he is not e.g. where the material is on a computer. If it is not “reasonably practicable” to carry out the determination or separation required by subsections (1) and (2) the material can be seized to be examined elsewhere.

163.Subsection (3) defines "reasonably practicable" for the purpose of this section. The definition includes factors such as how long the determination or separation would take if carried out on the premises (e.g. where there was a large bulk of material) or whether carrying out the determination or separation on premises would prejudice the use of the material to be seized (e.g. where quickly printing off computer material rather than imaging a hard drive could lead to other relevant material on that computer being altered or damaged.) Subsection (4) excludes section 19(6) of PACE where material is seized under subsection (2). Section 19(6) (and its Northern Irish equivalent) prevent a constable seizing material he has reasonable grounds to believe is legally privileged. In other words Subsection (4) means that where the constable cannot separate out the item he is able to seize from an item which is legally privileged he is able to remove both from the premises, e.g. where they are both on a computer disc. Subsection (5) sets out the powers of seizure to which section 50 will apply. One of these powers is s.28(2)(b) of the Competition Act 1998. This gives a power to take copies but not to take originals of documents. Subsection (6) means that whilst section 50 applies to that power it only enables those exercising it to copy material in order to examine it elsewhere to determine or separate out what in fact they would be entitled to copy under s.28 itself. It does not give them the power to seize original documents.

164.Part I of Schedule 1 is a list of powers of seizure conferred by various legislation to which section 50 will apply.

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