HC Deb 21 June 1976 vol 913 cc328-30W
Mr. David Price

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will list every different circumstance in which officials of his Department, and of all public bodies ultimately answerable to himself, have search and entry powers into either the homes or the business premises of British citizens, with in each case reference to the appropriate statutory authority for the exercise of such powers.

Mr. Dell

Officials of my Department have search and entry powers as follows:

Authorised officials have power to enter ships for a variety of reasons including inspection for the purposes of safety and inquiries into death or injuries, and to enter and inspect any premises the entry or inspection of which appears to them to be requisite for the purpose of the reports they have been directed to make. Merchant Act 1894, Sections 420, 431,459,463,465,471,488, 729.
Merchant Shipping Act 1964, Section 7.
Merchant Shipping (Load Lines) Act 1967, Sections 11 and 24.
Fishing Vessels (Safety Provision) Act 1970, Section 1.
Merchant Shipping Act 1970, Sections 61 and 76, Schedule 2, Part I.
The above powers also apply to officials appointed to inquire into contraventions of oil pollution regulations and extend to inspection of premises containing apparatus used for transferring oil. Oil Pollution Act 1971.
Where an authorised official has reasonable grounds for believing that there are on any premises provisions or water intended for supply to a ship registered in the United Kingdom, which if provided on the ship, would not be in accordance with regulations under Section 21 of this Act, he may enter the premises and inspect the provisions or water for the purpose of ascertaining whether they would be in accordance with those regulations. Merchant Shipping Act 1970, Section 76.
Where a receiver of wreck suspects or receives information that any wreck is secreted or in the possession of some person who is not the owner thereof or that any wreck is otherwise improperly dealt with he may subject to the issue of a warrant from a justice of peace enter any house, or other place, wherever situated, and also any vessel, and search for, and seize, and detain any such wreck found. Merchant Shipping Act 1894, Section 537.
In order to enforce the safety provisions relating to hovercraft authorised officials have the right of access to any hoverport and any place where a hovercraft is. Hovercraft Act 1968 and the Hovercraft (General) Order 1972, Article 25—S.L 1972 No. 674.
For the purpose of the investigation of aircraft accidents inspectors of accidents have powers of access to the place where an accident has occurred and of entry and inspection of any place or building as necessary for the purpose of an investigation. Civil Aviation Act 1949, Section 10.
Civil Aviation Act 1968, Section 23.
Civil Aviation (Investigation of Accidents) Regulations 1969—S.I. 1969 No. 833.
Air Navigation (Investigation of Combined Military and Civil Air Accidents) Regulations 1969—S.I. 1969 No. 1437.
In connection with the safety and airworthiness of civil aircraft, authorised officials have the power to go upon any aerodrome or enter any aircraft factory and aircraft. Civil Aviation Act 1949, Section 8. Air Navigation Order 1974—S.I. 1974 No. 1114.
As part of the provisions for the protection of aircraft and aerodromes authorised officials have powers to enter any building or works in an aerodrome. Protection of Aircraft Act 1973. Section 17.
Authorised officials have powers to inspect exhibitors' records at the cinema to which they relate. Films Act 1960, Section 30(5)

Under Section 110 of the Companies Act 1967, a justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorising a constable and any other person named in the warrant to enter and search premises on which it is suspected that there are books or papers which have not been produced in accordance with a requirement for production under Section 109. The "other person" in this context may be an official of my Department.

The provisions of Section 110 of the Companies Act 1967 also apply when a requirement for the production of books or papers imposed on an insurance company under Section 36 of the Insurance Companies Act 1974 is not complied with.

A similar power is provided by Section 19 of the Protection of Depositors Act 1963 in respect of books or papers required to be produced under that Act.

Officials of the English Tourist Board and the British Tourist Authority have power under the Development of Tourism Act 1969, Schedule 2, to enter and inspect any premises in respect of which a grant has been made under the Act.