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Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Section 45: Power of members of staff to search school pupils for weapons

261.Section 45 inserts new section 550AA into the Education Act 1996 and enables a head teacher or other member of staff in a school, with the authority of the head teacher, to search a pupil who they have reason to suspect is carrying a knife or other offensive weapon and to search his possessions.

262.Subsection (2) of that new section provides that the power is exercisable whenever the member of staff is in lawful control of the pupil, so as to include time when the pupil is not on school premises, for example on a school trip.

263.Subsection (3) of the new section sets out who may conduct a search.

264.Subsection (4) explains that a head teacher cannot require a person other than a member of the security staff to carry out a search under this section.

265.Subsection (5) provides that a person who carries out a search may not require the pupil to remove any clothing other than outer clothing, must be of the same sex as the pupil, and cannot search without the presence of another member of staff who is of the same sex as the pupil. Subsection (6) provides similarly that the pupils’ possessions may not be searched except in the presence of the pupil and another member of staff.

266.Subsection (7) provides that the member of staff can seize and retain any articles found, but, under subsection (9), must deliver them to a police constable as soon as is reasonably practicable. Subsection (8) provides that the member of staff may use reasonable force if necessary in exercising a power under this section. Subsection (10) provides that the Police (Property) Act 1897 applies to property that comes into a police constable’s possession under this section.

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