Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 38


The Civil Penalty Central Administration Unit (CPCAU) was set up to administer the civil penalty which came into force on 3 April 2000. The civil penalty applies to any form of road vehicle, ship or aircraft and may be extended to rail freight arriving through the Channel Tunnel. It has been introduced and is being applied in relation to road vehicles because most clandestine entrants arrive by this means.

  The civil penalty enables the imposition of a penalty of £2,000 per clandestine entrant to be imposed on drivers and other responsible persons found to have such people in their vehicles, having failed to take adequate precautions to prevent their entry. If the senior officer believes that there is a likelihood that the fine will not be paid arrangements will be made to detain the transporter pending payment.

  The CPCAU has a pivotal role in the working of the civil penalty. When a fine is imposed the papers are passed to the CPCAU. All civil penalty dealings are then administered from this central point. Objections to the imposition of fines are considered impartially, determined by the senior officer. Where representations are overturned, fines are collected and suitable records kept for accounting purposes. The CPCAU makes arrangements for sureties to be held in cases where it is agreed that detained vehicles can be released pending the determination of objections. The CPCAU administers the detention contract, arranges for publicity material concerning the civil penalty to be produced and distributed, arranges training for both IS and other agencies in the workings of the civil penalty, arranges the sale of transporters where fines are not paid and collates and maintains various statistics.

  As at 1 May 2000 a total of 74 penalty notices had been issued in respect of vehicles from which 438 clandestine entrants were apprehended. 19 of the vehicles had British drivers with the rest being non-British (EU and non-EU).

  Twelve vehicles had been detained pending payment of the penalty, but two were subsequently released on production of satisfaction sureties.

  No penalties have yet been paid. There are 30 days to lodge a Notice of Objection and 60 days to pay the penalty. Notices of Objection have been received in 12 cases.

  Although it is too soon to be definitive about its impact, early signs are that the civil penalty is having an effect on the number of clandestine entrants arriving. Provisional figures show that in April some 330 fewer clandestine entrants were encountered in Dover compared to March, this representing a reduction of more than 20 per cent. In April a total of 1,058 illegals were detected in Kent as a whole compared to 1,423 in March, this reduction of 365 is a drop of approximately 25 per cent.

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