Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 27


  The Government White Paper, "Fairer, Faster and Firmer—A Modern Approach to Immigration and Asylum" published in 1998, promoted more effective use of intelligence to target resources available for the operation of the immigration control. In addition, the paper highlighted the increase in immigration-related crime, such as benefit and housing fraud, illegal employment, passport and document abuse and stated that, in order to combat this crime, the Government was developing enhanced inter-agency co-operation and a more pro-active approach to intelligence.

  As part of a strategy for an integrated intelligence network, the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 incorporated provisions creating "statutory gateways" between the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and the main law enforcement agencies; the police, the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), the National Crime Squad (NCS) and Customs and Excise. Exchanges of information are limited to certain specified purposes relating to the statutory functions of the named organisations and are subject to the relevant requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights and data protection legislation. In addition, the Secretary of State has power under the new Act to specify by Order further gateways to facilitate the exchange of information for specified purposes. Any such Order is subject to affirmative resolution procedure. Although exchanges of information have taken place in the past between IND and these organisations, these have tended to be limited and on a voluntary basis. The new legislation provides a clear legal basis on which co-operation between the various law enforcement agencies can be based and extended.

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