§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many officials for whom he has responsibility currently have the power to enter and search premises, subject to statutory conditions; and if, in each case, he will indicate the statutory authority under which power is exercised.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
No officials for whom the Secretary of State has responsibility have the express powers to enter and search premises. However, section 77 of the Education Act 1944 imposes a duty on the Secretary of State to cause inspections to be made of educational establishments, as defined in that section. HM inspectors are appointed for the purpose of enabling such inspections to be made. They have no express powers of entry or search, but it is an offence under section 77(4) to obstruct them in the execution of their duty. On 1 June 1986 there were 463 HM inspectors in post.