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Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001

Section 72: Importation of indecent or obscene material

218.Section 170(2)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 makes it an offence knowingly to evade any prohibition or restriction for the time being in force. Section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 prohibits the importation into the United Kingdom of indecent or obscene articles. Together these sections make it an offence to import or bring into the United Kingdom indecent or obscene articles. Existing legislation provides that this offence is one to which the summary arrest powers of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1989 and the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 apply. The effect of section 72 will be to make this offence a serious arrestable offence in England and Wales and Northern Ireland by adding it to the list of such offences set out in Schedule 5 to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989.

219.Making this offence a serious arrestable offence will, whilst retaining the existing powers of summary arrest, allow an officer of Customs and Excise to exercise greater powers than would be available in relation to the investigation of an offence which was not a serious arrestable offence, in relation to the investigation of that offence. It will allow applications to be made for access to certain material and for warrants to enter and search premises during the course of an investigation. It will also give officers of Customs and Excise greater powers in relation to the detention of a person who has been arrested for this offence.

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