There are more than 1,000 laws and regulations which permit officials to force entry into homes, cars and business premises, a report commissioned by Gordon Brown has found.

The publication of the first comprehensive list of laws available to police, council staff and other inspectors will renew concerns about the erosion of civil liberties.

The dossier, compiled by Lord West, the Home Office minister and former first sea lord, details the often obscure acts and regulations which give the authorities the power to break into homes.

Hundreds of new powers of entry have been created since 1997, including ones relating to illegal gambling, congestion charging, high hedges and weapons of mass destruction.

West’s report details 753 separate “big brother” provisions in acts of parliament and a further 290 minor regulations. A total of 430 of these powers have been approved by parliament since Labour came to power.

Englishmen, homes and castles, eh?

West will now consider which of the laws can be repealed.

Most of them?

Some are entirely sensible (looking for a gas leak perhaps) but the vast majority should be abolished.

2 thoughts on “Sigh”

  1. > Some are entirely sensible (looking for a gas leak perhaps)

    A lot of people don’t regard that one as sensible, ’cause they’re self-important idiots. One of the great joys (probably the only one, actually) of working for British Gas was explaining this to some obnoxious bastard who didn’t give a damn whether his neighbours got blown to smithereens. Since lives were at stake, we were under no obligation to be particularly nice to these people.

    They’d ring up and report a smell of gas and ask to make an appointment for someone to come and have a look at it, next Tuesday being convenient. Having done this before and knowing what people are like, I’d always get their address before telling them anything. Then I’d give them the usual safety advice about opening windows and switching off the gas at the meter etc, while they kept interrupting to say “I’ve already told you, I’m at the office, I can’t do any of this right now, this is silly,” and I’d explain that I had to tell them all this anyway, it’s a legal requirement, and advise them that, really, they should go home and do all this stuff, ’cause it’s kind of important, and they’d say “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m at work.”

    Finally comes the good bit. “An engineer will be out within one hour to check the gas and make sure it’s safe.”

    “No, I want to make an appointment for Tuesday afternoon.”

    “An engineer will be out within one hour, sir. This is an emergency service.”

    “But that’s ridiculous. No-one will be in.”

    “Well, I do advise you to go home, sir, or to arrange for someone else to be there, as the engineer will be out within one hour maximum.”

    “This is just stupid. I’m at work. No-one is at my house. What’s the engineer going to do? Just hang around in the street?”

    “Well, sir, first of all he’ll put a probe through your letterbox to check for gas, then, if it shows that there is a leak, he will make sure a police officer is present and he’ll break down your door.”

    Pause.

    What?

    Unfortunately, all we did was to pass the calls on. If I’d worked for Transco, I could have done that all day.

  2. “Then I’d give them the usual safety advice about opening windows and switching off the gas at the meter etc, while they kept interrupting to say “I’ve already told you, I’m at the office, I can’t do any of this right now, this is silly,” and I’d explain that I had to tell them all this anyway, it’s a legal requirement, and advise them that, really, they should go home and do all this stuff, ’cause it’s kind of important, and they’d say “Don’t be ridiculous, I’m at work.”….”

    You mean, they got up in the morning, smelled gas in their house and…..went to work regardless..?

    Just when you think you’ll never see a more stupid example of humanity, another one comes right along!

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