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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Entry, search and seizure
Section 246: Power to board and inspect vessels and marine installations

650.The powers in this section enable enforcement officers to board and inspect any vessels and marine installations (subject to the need for a warrant pursuant to section 249 if the vessel or installation is a dwelling) to carry out their functions. Enforcement officers may require the vessel or marine installation to stop or do anything else that would assist them in boarding or disembarking and in carrying out their enforcement duties. The power extends to things which may be under the control of someone on the vessel or installation, such as a vessel under tow. Marine installations that may move under their own power include jack-up rigs and work platforms. The powers also allow officers to require assistance from someone present who has some control over the situation.

Section 247: Power to enter and inspect premises

651.The powers in this section enable enforcement officers to enter and inspect any premises (subject to the need for a warrant pursuant to section 249 if the premises are a dwelling) to carry out any relevant functions. “Premises” includes land but does not include a vehicle, vessel or marine installation. Entry must be at a reasonable time unless the officer believes that, by waiting for that reasonable time, the purpose for requiring entry and inspection may be thwarted. The officer also has the power to request assistance from people who have some control in the situation. This may be needed for instance in unlocking a door or opening a container. Where the premises are a dwelling, a warrant is needed before the power of entry may be exercised. Provisions regarding warrants are set out in section 249.

Section 248: Power to enter and inspect vehicles

652.This section enables enforcement officers to enter and inspect any vehicle at any time (subject to the need for a warrant pursuant to section 249 if the vehicle is a dwelling). An officer may also require the vehicle to be taken to an appropriate place to be inspected. The power also enables them to require assistance as necessary from people in the vehicle or the registered keeper.

653.The powers conferred by this section may be exercised wherever and whenever it is necessary, although subject to a warrant if it was necessary to enter a dwelling. For this section only, the term “vehicle” does not include vehicles at sea, namely vessels and marine installations (which are covered under section 245).

Section 249: Dwellings

654.This section provides that an enforcement officer may not enter a dwelling unless a justice has issued a warrant authorising entry. It sets out the matters that must be satisfied before a warrant may be granted. It also introduces Schedule 17 which sets out further provisions relating to warrants (how to obtain one and matters regarding the execution of the warrant).

Section 250: Powers of search, examination, etc

655.The powers in this section allow an enforcement officer, when exercising a power of inspection pursuant to sections 245 to 249, to search those premises and examine anything in it. They further allow the officer to stop someone and detain them to perform a search of anything in their possession or control, although subsection (8) means the officer cannot search a person. Subsections (3) to (9) enable the officer to examine anything that is in or on the relevant premises, is attached to them or is part of them, including anything that is controlled from them. Where appropriate, the officer may also test or measure any object found, which includes live animals (for example, shellfish) or plants. If necessary, an enforcement officer may break open any container or things that have been locked. The officer could also require assistance from anyone within the premises or connected to the premises to help, or from someone who has been carrying on an activity in respect of which the officer has enforcement powers.

Section 251: Power to require production of documents, etc

656.This section gives enforcement officers the power to require a person on or in the relevant premises being inspected to produce documents or records that they have. A document includes information which is recorded on paper or in an electronic format, and pictorial and related images.

Section 252: Powers of seizure, etc

657.This section enables an enforcement officer to seize and detain or remove anything found on premises or, where a person has been undertaking an activity in respect of which the officer has enforcement powers, any item in the person’s possession or control. The officer may also take copies of, or extracts from, any document or record found on the relevant premises. These powers are exercisable either for the purposes of determining whether an offence has been committed or where the officer believes the item is evidence that an offence has been committed. Subsection (5) limits the power so that it does not allow an officer to remove any document that is required by law to be kept on the premises, such as vessel registration papers. However, subsection (6) allows such items to be seized when a vessel is in port.

658.Subsection (7) prevents an officer seizing an item which is subject to legal privilege (as defined by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) or, in Scotland, for which a claim to confidentiality of communications could be made.

Section 253: Further provision about seizure

659.Subsections (1) and (2) give officers powers to seize and remove things which are kept in a container and to require evidence to be put into a container so that it may be removed, such as might be necessary for undersized fish.

660.Subsection (3) enables officers to require that documents or materials are kept on the premises for safekeeping pending removal and seizure.

661.Subsections (4) and (5) provide that the officer may require someone to assist them with regard to matters under that person’s control, for instance by opening doors, assisting with moving items etc.

662.Subsection (6) amends the definition of premises in section 66 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to include “marine installation” so that the powers of seizure conferred by Part 2 of that Act may be exercised in relation to marine installations. Subsection (7) adds the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 to the list of legislation to which section 50 of that Act applies. Section 50 of the 2001 Act enables officers to remove property that otherwise they would not have the power to seize so that they may sift through and determine whether it contains something which they would have the power to seize, when it is not reasonably practicable to determine this on the premises.

Section 254: Retention of seized items

663.This section allows items seized during an investigation to be kept for as long as is necessary for the investigation and any trial proceedings, unless a photograph or copy would provide sufficient evidence.

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