§ Miss Richardson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will call for a report from the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on how many road blocks were set up by the Special Patrol Group in the Metropolitan Police area in each of the last five years;
(2) under what legal authority the Special Patrol Group searches motorcars which have been stopped at a random road block;709W
(3) under what legal authority the Special Patrol Group organises random road blocks and random stops and searches of motorists.
§ Dr. Summerskill
Members of the Special Patrol Group have only the same powers as other police officers. In organising road blocks or stopping vehicles, the police act not at random but only where they consider that this would assist in the prevention or detection of crime. Section 159 of the Road Traffic Act 1972 empowers a police officer in uniform to stop any vehicle. In addition, Section 66 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 authorises the police to stop, search and detain vehicles and their occupants where there is reason to suspect that goods stolen or unlawfully obtained may be found. Various other statutes authorise the searching of persons under certain conditions; the police may also search a vehicle with the consent of the driver.
Details of vehicles stopped by the Special Patrol Group are kept in the records of the police area where they occur and are not recorded centrally. The information requested could not therefore be obtained without disproportionate cost.