Annexes 28 and 29
FROM IND INTELLIGENCE SECTION (INDIS)
The Immigration Service has officers seconded
to work with the National Criminal Intelligence Service at its
headquarters in Vauxhall and elsewhere, contributing a major commitment
to their role in combating organised crime. The establishment
of an Organised Immigration Crime Section (OICS) at NCIS in September
1997 was largely due to the Initiative of the Immigration Service.
OICS combines police and IS personnel and resources to target
people smuggling and reflects the growing extent of this problem.
There are five immigration officers and one assistant immigration
officer working in London and part-time assistance is given at
NCIS SW in Bristol. A Chief Immigration Officer oversees their
work. There are no legal restrictions on the exchange of information
on immigration matters; indeed a legal gateway was created by
the Immigration and Asylum Act, 1999. Concerns on the handling
of information from NCIS from an ECHR perspective are being dealt
with by means of a Code of Practice.
Consideration is currently being given to extending IS attachment
across NCIS and to other significant locations in the Police service
eg National Crime Squads (NCS) and to specialist units within
the Metropolitan Police.
Examples of joint working with NCIS
The Immigration Service has benefited from working
under the NCIS umbrella in a number of ways. It has been able
to learn from their experience and expertise, particularly valuable
when mounting complex multi-faceted operations resulting in difficult
prosecution issues (Public Interest Immunity and "sanitisation"
for example). Involvement in NCIS has given the IS the right contacts,
both in the national and international arena, and has served to
raise the profile of illegal immigration and associated crime
as well as access to their analytical support, training and IT.
From their perspective, an increased presence within NCIS has
demonstrated to other law enforcement agencies the commitment,
knowledge and ability of the Immigration Service and has contributed
to its being seen as a serious player in the fight against organised
The main aim of the work at NCIS is to target
the main racketeers involved in the facilitation of illegal entry
and associated crimes. Several successful operations have taken
place. One, which took two years to mount and was concluded in
early 1999, is a very good example of co-operation between NCIS,
Europol, SIS, FCO, Customs, New Scotland Yard (Organised Crime
Group), Inland Revenue, Benefits Agency, Crown Prosecution Service
as well as colleagues in Germany, Ukraine, Poland and the Czech
Republic. It resulted in the conviction of the main racketeer
in the UK, arrests in Germany, Poland and Ukraine and led to the
disruption of the network. It also attracted significant media
Working with the Organised Crime Group at New
Scotland Yard has enabled the Immigration Service to enjoy considerable
success in securing convictions of major Chinese facilitators
involved in the kidnapping and extortion of those they had brought
illegally to the UK.
Work at NCIS also involves liaison with a variety
of interested units and agencies, both within NCIS and without,
both national and international.
The Immigration Officer based in the International
Division at NCIS is co-located with a number of overseas liaison
officers (usually seconded from foreign police services).
OICS processes and deals with immigration-related
commissions rogatoires emanating from our colleagues abroad,
and works closely with Europol and Interpol.
(iv) Costs to the Immigration Service
No charges are made by NCIS. The Immigration
Service pays for its staff, NCIS provides accommodation, IT and
importantly, training (intelligence and analysis, IT courses).
The officer seconded to the International Division is provided
with a mobile phone and the officer at NCIS SE has the use of
a car. In addition, NCIS pays travel and accommodation expenses
when IS staff are required to attend national or international
meetings on immigration matters.
The Benefits Agency has officers working in
several immigration offices around the country, primarily in enforcement
offices. The lines of communication are good with immigration
staff able to exchange relevant information easily based on a
Memorandum of Understanding. There have been many examples of
joint enforcement operations.
The Immigration Service has a liaison officer
based at the headquarters of the French border police in Paris.
He is able to exchange information with the French authorities
and other Liaison Officers based there from Germany, Italy, Spain
and Holland. This officer works closely on joint Anglo-French
operations providing an invaluable link between the two authorities.
As an example, acting on information from here and with a French
operational team the liaison recently led to the interception
of substantial numbers of people heading for the UK concealed
in freight trains.
Set up in January 1994, Europol's mandate was
initially concerned with combating drug trafficking and associated
money laundering. This expanded to include illegal immigration
(in 1995) and trafficking in human beings (in 1996). The Europol
Treaty was ratified in 1998 and became operational from July 1999.
The Chief Immigration Officer at NCIS is closely involved with
Europol and, at the end of 1999, succeeded in persuading Europol
to take on a major Chinese project to identify and target common
EU links in Chinese smuggling networks.
Interpol traditionally eschewed immigration
issues but has sought to come on board from about mid-1999. The
NCIS CIO liaises closely with Interpol but the work has the potential
to overlap with that of Europol and create some tensions between
the two agencies. Routine immigration enquiries from Interpol
are handled by OICS.
INDIS has established effective and constructive
relations with many EU border and Eastern European agencies. Particular
attention is paid to developing relations with countries on the
routes used by the smugglers. There may be some difficulties under
Human Rights Legislation over the exchange of information with
countries outside the EU. INDIS has particularly close contacts
with the authorities of the United States, Canada and Australia.
It is also represented at the Centre for Information, Discussion
and Exchange on the Crossing of Frontiers and Immigration (CIREFI)
and the Inter-Governmental Consultations of Asylum, Refugee and
Migration Policies in Europe, North America and Australia (IGC).
The head of INDIS represents the United Kingdom at meetings of
the G8 Senior Experts on Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking.
Fraudulent use of travel documents and subsequent
identity fraud is a growing cause of concern for many UK Government
Agencies, in addition to the Immigration Service. The National
Forgery Section (NFS) has long established liaison contacts with
the United Kingdom Passport Agency (in respect of development
and security of the UK passport), the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (in respect and of passport and visa security and forgery
detection training for entry clearance staff), Customs (in respect
of suspect travel documents held by smugglers and suspect travel
documents detected as a result of routine customs examination
of international mail and courier packages), and the police (in
respect of persons arrested in possession of suspect travel documents).
In addition, the NFS has developed close liaison and operational
contacts with a number of other UK Government Agencies by bilateral
contacts and through membership (as representative of IND) of
the Interdepartmental Identify Fraud Forum (a multi-agency group
chaired by the DSS, which seeks to increase co-operation between
departments to reduce identity abuse and to raise identity checking
standards and the standards of identity documents issued by various
Government Departments). This has led to a close working liaison
most especially with the DVLA and the DSS resulting in the detection
of fraudulent driving licence applications or benefit claims by
holders of foreign travel documents, many of whom are then also
identified as illegal immigrants.
The liaison described between Departments is
conducted with due consideration to Data Protection legislation
and, in respect of certain Departments (Customs, for example)
has been developed by the provision of information sharing gateways
under the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act.
The threat to immigration controls posed by
travel document fraud is an international problem. The UK participates
in international fora (in particular through EU working parties
or initiatives) with the control and passport or visa issuing
authorities of other countries. This is with the aim of encouraging
increased standards internationally of document security and issue
as well as of false document detection at border controls (through
training, use of forgery detection equipment and exchange of intelligence
on travel documents and their abuse). The UK is also an active
participant at international organisations such as the International
Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Technical Advisory Group on
Machine Readable Travel Documents, which develops international
standards for machine readability of travel documents, as well
as making recommendations for document security and the introduction
of new technology security features, such as biometric identifiers.
International liaison and co-operation is an essential element
in combating and reducing the level of travel document abuse at
the UK immigration control.
The NFS maintains close liaison contact both
in the UK and internationally with manufacturers of travel documents,
travel document security feature manufacturers and manufacturers
of forgery detection equipment. This valued two-way liaison enables
the NFS (and, as a result, officers at the immigration control)
to influence and possess details of development of new travel
document security features to combat fraud. It also enables UK
immigration officers at the control to be aware of, and provided
with, the most up to date and relevant forgery detection equipment
and also equipment for checking both machine readable travel documents
and the most sophisticated of document security features.
7 A consequence of the implementation of the Human
Rights Act on 2 October 2000 will be to oblige all agencies to
introduce tighter working procedures in areas such as: justification
for selection of targets, quality controls and authorisation levels,
the recording and dissemination of intelligence. The ACPO Codes
of Practice were introduced at the end of 1999 and indicate what
changes will be required (based on these Codes, NCIS became ECHR-compliant
on 1 March this year). The Regulation of Investigatory Powers
Bill, dealing with covert matters, will affect the IS/IND in respect
of surveillance and our handling of informants. Back