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Counter-Terrorism Act 2008

Power to take fingerprints and samples from person subject to control order

Section 10 – Power to take fingerprints and samples: England and Wales

34.Section 10 amends sections 61, 63, 63A, 64 and 65 of PACE, providing a constable with powers relating to the taking and use of fingerprints and non-intimate samples from an individual subject to a control order. (The control order regime is contained in the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005.) Both “fingerprints” and “non-intimate samples” have the same meaning as that given in section 65 of PACE. That is, “fingerprints” include palm prints and “non-intimate samples” means a sample of hair other than pubic hair; a sample taken from a nail or from under a nail; a swab taken from any part of a person’s body including the mouth but not any other body orifice; saliva and a footprint or a similar impression of any part of a person’s body other than a part of his hand. These amendments will apply to all individuals subject to control orders that are in force from the time this section is commenced, regardless of when the control order was made, but the provisions will not apply to individuals whose control orders have already lapsed (see subsection (5) and section 13).

35.Subsections (1) and (2) provide a constable with the power to take fingerprints and non-intimate samples respectively without the appropriate consent of an individual subject to a control order. Appropriate consent is defined in section 65 of PACE as meaning: (a) in relation to a person who has attained the age of 17 years, the consent of that person; (b) in relation to a person who has not attained that age but has attained the age of 14 years, the consent of that person and his parent or guardian; and (c) in relation to a person who has not attained the age of 14 years, the consent of his parent or guardian. PACE Code D (Code of Practice for the Identification of Persons by Police Officers) provides that a constable can use reasonable force to ensure compliance with this provision where the appropriate consent is withheld.

36.Subsection (3)(a) provides a constable with the power to check the fingerprints and non-intimate samples of an individual subject to a control order against the same databases that other fingerprints etc. taken under PACE may be checked against (see PACE section 63A, as amended by section 14). So the fingerprints or samples may be checked against other such fingerprints or samples and/or information derived from other samples that are held by or on behalf of any relevant law enforcement authority or are held in connection with or as a result of an investigation of an offence or which are held by or on behalf of the Security Service or the Secret Intelligence Service. Relevant law enforcement authorities are defined in section 63A(1A) of PACE to include a police force and the Serious Organised Crime Agency. The definition also includes persons outside the territory of the United Kingdom whose functions correspond to those of a police force and any other public authority with functions in any part of the British Islands which consist of or include the investigation of crimes or the charging of offenders.

37.Subsection (3)(b) provides a constable with powers to require a controlled individual to attend a police station for the purposes of having their fingerprints and/or non-intimate samples taken. In the event that such a request is not complied with, the person may be arrested without a warrant (see the amendment to section 63A(7) made by subsection (6)).

38.Subsection (4) allows the retention of a controlled individual’s fingerprints and non-intimate samples taken under the new provisions, subject to the safeguards in section 64 of PACE (as amended by section 14). These safeguards ensure that any such samples retained are only used for purposes related to the interests of national security, the prevention or detection of crime, the investigation of an offence, the conduct of a prosecution or the identification of a deceased person or of the person from whom the material came.

39.Subsection (6) makes consequential amendments of PACE, many of which mean that fingerprints and non-intimate samples taken from a controlled person will be subject to the same provisions as fingerprints and non-intimate samples taken under current PACE powers. These include safeguards such as requiring a constable to inform the individual concerned of the reason for taking the fingerprints or non-intimate sample without consent (this will normally be simply that they are subject to a control order) before they are taken and informing them that the fingerprints and/or samples may be the subject of a “speculative search”. The matters of information must also be recorded as soon as it is practicable to do so. The term “speculative search” is defined at section 65 of PACE and it is taken to mean that the fingerprints and/or non-intimate samples can be randomly checked against other samples that have been taken under current PACE powers as mentioned in relation to subsection (3).

Section 11 – Power to take fingerprints and samples: Scotland

40.Section 11 makes similar provision to section 10 for Scotland in relation to the taking of fingerprints and non-intimate samples from an individual subject to a control order. The section creates new free-standing powers rather than amending any existing legislation. The main area of difference between the powers in England and Wales and the powers in Scotland is that any samples that are obtained may be used only for the purposes of a terrorist investigation or in the interests of national security. This difference is necessary in order to avoid making provision in areas that are within devolved competence. In addition, in line with current procedures in Scotland, constables would need authorisation from an officer of the rank of inspector or above to take certain types of non-intimate samples (non-pubic hair or nail samples and external body fluid samples) from controlled individuals. (A constable does not require such authorisation to take fingerprints, palm prints, other external body prints and saliva samples.) In contrast, current procedures in England, Wales and Northern Ireland allow constables to take fingerprints and all non-intimate samples when individuals are arrested under PACE or PACE NI without such authorisation. The difference arises because the provisions in sections 10, 11 and 12 are intended to be in line with existing procedures in each country.

Section 12 – Power to take fingerprints and samples: Northern Ireland

41.Section 12 makes corresponding provision to section 10 for Northern Ireland in relation to the taking of fingerprints and non-intimate samples from an individual subject to a control order. It amends PACE NI.

Section 13 – Power to take fingerprints and non-intimate samples: transitional provision

42.Section 13 makes transitional provision for the powers in sections 10, 11 and 12 and provides that the powers to take fingerprints and non-intimate samples from a person subject to a control order will have effect at the time the sections are commenced regardless of when the control order was made.

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