266 Ways the Government Can Enter Your House - and You Can't Stop Them

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK NICOL

IT COULD be a statistic straight from George Orwell's chilling masterpiece 1984 State officials have 266 justifications to enter your home.

Alas, the figure is not a figment of Orwell's imagination but the reality of Britain in 2007.

The table on the right shows some of the many powers today's army of health and safety inspectors, bailiffs, Customs officers, quango officials and policemen can use to gain entry to your property.

A study by the Centre for Policy Studies found that 25 new statutory powers to enter private properties had arisen since 2000, adding to the 120 granted legislative approval in the Eighties and Nineties. The others date back further.

In most cases entry, if denied, can be gained by force.

Homeowners face fines and criminal charges if they obstruct officials who knock on their doors.

Study author Richard Snook said: 'This research shows the State today enjoys widespread access to what was previously considered to be the private domain.

'Some of the new entry powers have their origins in EU directives and regulations, rather than with an Act of Parliament passed by the UK's elected legislators.' Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: 'This is a sinister reflection of the power the State has in the lives of the citizen.' Comment: Page 29

JUST A FEW OF THE LAWS THEY USE

2006 Animals and Animal Products Regulations 'Inspections related to Common Agricultural Policy' 2006 EC Fertilisers Regulations 'Supervise fertiliser use' 2006 Childcare Act 'Where childcare is suspected of being provided in contravention of licensing requirements' 2006 Products of Animal Origin Regulations 'Check for compliance with import controls' 2006 Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Regulations 'Prevent spread of BSE etc' 2005 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 'Switch off noisy alarm' 2005 Prevention of Terrorism Act 'Search for person to be made subject of control order and serve notice' 2005 Animal By-Products Regulations 'Inspect for compliance with EC rules on animal by-products' 2004 Asylum and Immigration Act 'Enter to search for nonqualified provision of immigration advice or related services' 2004 Housing Act 'Ascertain compliance with housing standards or related services' 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act 'Inspection of high hedges' 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act 'Carry out work on graffiti' 2003 Money Laundering Act 'Inspect for evidence of money laundering offences' 2003 Communications Act 'Search for evidence of unlicensed TV watching' 2002 Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 'Search for evidence of tobacco advertising offences' 2002 Copyright and Trade Marks Act 'Search for evidence of dishonestly receiving transmissions for which payment is required' 2002 Adoption and Children Act 'Inspect premises where adopted child is living' 2001 EC Competition Law 'Inspect for compliance with EC Competition rules' 2000 Utilities Act 'Inspect electrical kit used in supply, repair kit, remove meter, inspections related to electricity supply' 1999 Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 'Search for documents relating to administration of pension scheme' 1998 Landmines Act 'Carry out factfinding mission in accordance with Ottawa Convention on Landmines' 1998 Competition Act 'Obtain evidence of restrictive trading, cartel offences or abuse of dominant market position' 1980 Bees Act 'Check for the presence of foreign bees' 1955 Children and Young Persons Act 'To search for materials used to produce horror comics'