Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

APPENDIX 2 (continued)

Supplementary note by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Home Office


  The service should consider the scope for small scale computerisation at individual ports to improve the use of intelligence information, for example by speedier access to relevant information and more detailed analysis of patterns and trends of offending. (2.10)

  In assessing the information technology needs of the Desk the Service should consider the need to take professional advice so as to make the most effective use of the information, having regard to cost and the resources available. (2.33)

  This recommendation has been overtaken by organisational changes. The IND Intelligence Section is now a separate unit. An intelligence database has now been ordered and is due to be installed imminently. The IS Intelligence and Investigation Unit database has been subsumed by the Warnings Index System and by the CRISIS system. The latter provides a management information system for enforcement offices. Most IND information technology requirements are now outsourced.


  In developing the role of the Intelligence Desk the Service should ensure that:

    —  ports are regularly consulted and provided with information relevant to their current needs;

    —  the Desk builds fully upon the local initiatives at some ports and promotes good practice;

    —  the Desk promotes full exchange of information between enforcement work and the arrivals control, this might include for example alerting officers on the control to the methods used by offenders to enter the country. (2.32)


  Points one and three are standard practice. The IND Intelligence Section is now a separate unit, which coordinates intelligence work for the Service. The IS is currently undertaking a scoping study to introduce a standardised system for intelligence gathering which will be based on the NCIS model. This should establish a co-ordinated and accountable system of intelligence gathering and usage at ports and enforcement offices.


  The Service should improve allocation of detention spaces by:

    —  Introducing a clear grading system to prioritise cases;

    —  Improving the system for monitoring accommodation use and detainee movements, possibly through computerisation;

    —  Extending co-ordination arrangements to the whole country;

    —  Establishing a central point for authorising and controlling the use of police and prison accommodation. (paragraph 5.10)


  Efficient use of detention is a prime objective. It has been decided that cases for detention are to be prioritised in accordance with the feasibility of removing the detainee from the United Kingdom. To facilitate this a review of all existing detained cases was commenced in May 2000 to enable the blockages to removal to be more readily identified.

  The monitoring and co-ordination of detainee movements has been improved. In 1999 the in-country escorting contract was expanded to include all movements in Scotland and Northern Ireland and a new overseas escorting service contract was awarded.

  An interim computerised system has been installed to deliver management information for monitoring accommodation and detainee movements across the country. It is in the process of being developed to include all of the information currently held manually and will be enhanced to ensure that it can deal with the rapid expansion of the detention estate, a greatly increased through-flow of detainees and bail coordination. This new enhanced system will be known as DELMIS and will be operated by Detainee Escorting and Population Management Unit (DEPMU) which has responsibility for authorising, controlling and the allocation of immigration and prison accommodation.

  485 overnight places are available in six Immigration Service detention centres (Annex B) with a further 520 places in Haslar Holding Centre, Lindholme Detention Centre and HMPs Rochester and Gateside in units managed by the Prison Service but used entirely for immigration detainees.

  The Immigration Service is working towards the Government's commitment that, as resources allow, detainees should not routinely be held in prisons. The priority is to reduce the incidence of detainees held in small numbers in local prisons. A building adjacent to the main HMP Lindholme has recently been converted to an immigration detention centre to obviate the need for placing detainees in Northern England in prisons. It opened in July 2000 and has a capacity of 112. The use of prisons in Scotland and Northern Ireland continues as no alternative accommodation is currently available however detainees in Scotland are now accommodated in a discrete 60 bed unit at HMP Gateside and a review of the future provision of detention facilities in Northern Ireland is underway.

  Prisoners who have received sentences of 12 months or longer or who have been placed in Category A prisons, and who are to be detained under the Immigration Act after completing their sentence, remain in the care of the Prison Service.

  Oakington Reception Centre, a short term non-secure establishment managed by a private contractor opened in March 2000 and has a capacity of 400.

  The use of police cells is now controlled centrally by the Detention Co-ordinator for persons detained on arrival at Heathrow and Gatwick. All ports are instructed that the use of police cells must normally be restricted to cases where the passenger has a serious criminal record, terrorist connections, a history of absconding from less secure accommodation, or needs close supervision, for example where there is a suicide risk or a risk to others. Such individuals are made subject of a Special Needs form and approval for placement in police accommodation must be obtained from an Immigration Inspector. Enforcement cases apprehended in country may normally be detained in police cells for a maximum of 48 hours when the Detention Co-ordinator will assess them for allocation into long-term detention. Police accommodation is only used with the prior agreement of the Police and for the shortest period possible to effect transfer into appropriate long-term accommodation or removal from the United Kingdom.


  The Immigration Service is pursuing a strategy to provide a network of detention centres across England. The centres will be managed under contract with the private sector whose service standards and performance will be closely monitored. It is planned to increase the detention estate by up to 1,800 places by spring 2001. There are plans to re-develop and increase the capacity of the Harmondsworth site and we are looking to provide more coverage in the Northern Home Counties and in the South East.


  In order to guide the allocation of resources the Service should consider setting minimum standards for the facilities they provide in further examination areas and detention centres. (4.26 and 5.17)

  The Service should consider, together with the relevant port authorities, the case for expanding the capacity of some further examination areas and improving interview accommodation where possible. (4.26)

  The Service should consider developing minimum standards for the care of detainees and monitoring the service provided by immigration staff and contractors at all detention centres against these standards. (5.17)

  Taking due account of the sensitivity required and the potential problems involved, the Service should consider whether it might be useful to undertake a survey of the views of further examination and detention passengers to ensure that their needs and concerns are recognised and taken into account. (4.27)


  A first draft of Detention Centre Rules, which set minimum standards for detention centres, has been produced. This was circulated widely for comment in June 1999.

  Comprehensive contract monitoring schedules against which the performance of the private sector is measured are in place at all detention facilities and in the in-country and overseas escorting contracts. Facilities at detention centres have been upgraded. Annex C sets out the current situation.

  Best Practice guidelines for the facilities in FEAs and interview rooms have been circulated and are updated as appropriate. A steering group is currently working to produce national standards for holding rooms.

  The update of 1996 provides details of an assessment of the merits of a survey of further examination and detention passengers which has been completed. No further work has been done on this, as other work in the field of detention has been ongoing. There have been significant changes in this field since the National Audit Office report. Detention Management Services, a new section headed by an Assistant Director was established in 1998 to oversee detention procedures and practice. At the same time a new unit, the Detention Operational Management Unit, was set up whose principal functions are the provision of detention facilities; the delivery of service standards and operational requirements, management of Immigration Service detention contracts; liaison with the Prison Service and advice on detention custody and practice. In addition there has been rationalisation of the Immigration Service use of prison accommodation and a programme to increase the capacity of spaces available in the detention estate.


  There are currently numerous avenues for detainees to express any views and concerns they might have. As part of the reception process, detainees are advised of the formal grievance and complaints procedures in place. In addition, they can speak to the Immigration and Contractor's staff on site, members of the Visiting Committee and can contact a representative from their Embassy or High Commission. Detainees are, from time to time, invited to market test catering or comment on such matters as provision of sports equipment and library items.

  Most importantly, the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 introduces, for the first time, a framework of regulation for detention centres which will formalise regimes across the estate. Statutory rules will regulate the rights and responsibilities of both detained persons and those who manage detention centres. A first draft of Detention Centre Rules has been produced and circulated with the target date for introduction as Autumn 2000. All custody officers who work in detention centres are required to be accredited by the same date. The Immigration Service is working with the Custodial Care National Training Organisation to formulate the occupational standard and an NVQ programme.


  The Service should consider whether there is a need to improve procedures for keeping detainees at all centres informed of the progress of their case, in particular:

    —  whether staff conducting surgeries need to be better briefed about the position of detainees' cases; and

    —  whether there is a need to seek confirmation that each detainee has received and understood a progress report. (5.20)


  An induction programme is now in place at each location including interviews with Immigration Service staff. Detainees are provided with written reasons for detention and receive a monthly written update on the position of their case (on forms IS91R and IS151F). Detainees may ask to speak with an Immigration Officer to discuss their case. Interpreters are available if necessary.


  Responses to questions from the Committee in a letter dated 2 August 2000

What plans does IND have to increase the proportion of freight vehicles searched at Channel ports?

  The current recruitment drive will result in the provision of additional staff to most ports of entry. At the Channel Ports, one of the considerations in deciding the size of the necessary increase in complements has been an enhancement of our freight search capability. For example, in Dover, where freight searching is carried out by a dedicated unit, the South East Ports Surveillance Team (SEPST) will be increased by 53 posts. This will enable us to roster round-the-clock search teams and provide the flexibility to deploy more staff at pre-selected times to search a greater proportion of arriving freight vehicles. At Coquelles, we are allocating an additional 16 posts which will considerably improve upon our current search capability. That capability will continue to be augmented by random but reasonably comprehensive security checks by Eurotunnel, which often detect potential clandestines. It is important to emphasise that our strategy is not simply to increase the volume of searches but to improve our information and intelligence to profile and target the most likely transporters of clandestine entrants.

Due to operational problems associated with searching various types of freight, is fresh produce cargo less likely to be subject to routine or profiled examination?

  No. We are conscious that vehicles which carry fresh produce are as likely to carry clandestines as those carrying other loads. Such vehicles fit a profile for examination and on occasions have been specifically targeted for search.

What arrangements exist at present locally and nationally for the discussion of issues between port authorities and all agencies operating at ports?

  At local level the Border Agencies Working Group encourages the establishment of tripartite interagency groups comprising representatives from IS, Police and Customs and Excise in order to coordinate approaches to port operators to discuss a wide variety of issues including changes in practices and procedures and accommodation requirements.

  At national level the Border Agencies Working Group itself meets regularly at least six times a year. At these meetings attended by representatives from Customs, Police, Immigration Service and National Criminal Intelligence Service priorities for local action are decided. Annually a high level Steering Group takes stock of the year's activity and outlines a work programme for the following year.

How does the Government seek to co-ordinate the development of controls at UK ports of entry to ensure proper partnership with port authorities and with carriers?

  The Government co-ordinates the development of controls at UK ports of entry through the Border Agencies Working Group and the high level Steering Group.

Has agreement been reached following consultation with port authorities, regarding provision of facilities to the Immigration Service free of charge? If so, what is the likely cost to the operators?

  Ministerial agreement has been given to a review of the timetable for implementation of the facilities and charging provisions contained within the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act. This will provide the opportunity for some of the proposals put forward by Industry in response to the Consultation Paper to be considered and for the new flexibility control arrangements to be implemented and their impact assessed. Ministers have still to decide a revised implementation date. It is unlikely however, to be before April 2002.

  This was discussed at a meeting with the industry consultation group on 13 July. It was agreed at that meeting that the consultation process at a port level would now commence at a small cross section of ports with a view to identifying common key issues and reporting back to the consultation group in early 2001. Consultation with the remaining port authorities would then follow.

  An initial programme of meetings with the port operators for Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport, Dover Eastern Docks and Hull is now underway and will look at existing accommodation holdings, scope for rationalisation and identification of benefits for both sides. The aim of this partnership approach is to reach a position that is mutually acceptable. At this stage it is too early to assess the likely cost to the operator.

Have negotiations been conducted with a view to sharing facilities, where practicable, with the other control agencies?

  This work is being taken forward through the Border Agencies Working Group. Representatives of each control agency (Special Branch, Customs & Excise and the Immigration Service) have been individually tasked with identifying opportunities for sharing at each port. The Immigration Service will co-ordinate and take forward the responses to promote better use of facilities.

Which other EU Member States require the authorities at their ports to bear a proportion of the cost of physical controls at ports of entry?

  The UK Immigration Service is not aware that such arrangements apply in other EU Member States.

What plans does the Government have to extend CCTV operations at UK ports and airports? What costs are port operators likely to incur as a result?

  The Immigration Service is working closely with the other border control agencies (police, Customs and Excise) to define a standard for CCTV usage at all UK ports of arrival. This Joint Control Agencies group is currently looking, in partnership with BAA, at how CCTV might be implemented at the three major South-East airports (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted).

  The objective is to see if a combined user requirement can be agreed that will not only meet the needs of the control authorities but also those of the port operator. The expected benefits are a more effective (immigration/police/Customs and anti-terrorist) control; more secure air/sea ports; safer air/sea ports; simplified infrastructures; greater flexibility in the use of airports; more transparent mechanisms for ensuring that service standards are being met and lower overall costs.

  Additionally, the Border Agencies have a Memorandum of Understanding to expand co-operation that includes the sharing of CCTV equipment. Allowing access to other Border Agencies CCTV systems avoids duplication of coverage, saves on cost and enables greater coverage of port areas.

  Ideally, the Immigration Service would want CCTV on every entrance to the controlled zones (air bridges, coaching stands, gates, gangways, car ramps, train platforms and embarkation gates). This would have the potential to dramatically increase our ability to match inadequately documented passengers to services; improve our ability to identify carriers liable to charge under Section 40 of the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999; and help them prevent recurrences; improve our intelligence on whence inadequately documented arrivals come; improve our ability to disrupt these flows at source and reduce the need for physical surveillance of arrivals.

  CCTV in the Arrivals Halls and covering car lanes would have the potential to enable us to measure queuing times accurately, verifiably and transparently with minimum staff resource intervention to ensure that published service standards were being met.

  CCTV in the areas between the entry points to the Controlled Zones and the Arrivals Halls/Car lanes would have the potential to allow us to carry out surveillance for intelligence purposes and for proactive surveillance operations aimed at identifying racketeers and facilitators and disrupting their activities/bringing prosecutions.

  CCTV beyond those areas—eg check in desks/meeters and greeters areas etc would have the potential to further improve our ability to carry out surveillance for intelligence purposes and for proactive surveillance operations aimed at identifying racketeers and facilitators and disrupting their activities/bringing prosecutions.

  The costs to port operators cannot yet be clearly defined. Much will depend on the layout of the particular ports and their complexity and the scope for unifying the CCTV systems with the operator's own systems. Set against any costs would be any Security-factor funding that might be allowed for off-setting to carriers; the reduced costs of a more simplified infrastructure (eg a single CCTV network instead of many) and the benefits that operators may gain by the more flexible use of the port (eg shared departure lounges for domestic and international passengers).

  The emphasis from the Immigration Service perspective will be on achieving CCTV systems that are cost effective and bring benefit not just to the control authorities but also to port operators.

Can you list those Government agencies which have regular contact with the port authorities?

  The following is not an exhaustive list but comprises Government agencies who have statutory rights of entry to airports under the DETR agreed security programme.

  DETR Aviation Security Branch

  The Police

  HM Customs and Excise

  UK Immigration Service

  Fire and Civil Defence Authority

  Animal Quarantine Service

  Ministry of Agriculture Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate

  Ministry of Agriculture State Veterinary Service

  Local Authority—Public Protection Service

  Local Authority—Health Control Unit—PMIs

  Local Authority—Community Health Service

  Laboratory of the Government Chemist

  CAA—Accident Investigation Branch

  CAA—Flight Operations Branch

  Local Water Authority

  Health and Safety Executive

What arrangements exist for Customs to share profiling information with the Immigration Service?

In what circumstances can the Immigration Service gain access to the Customs OASIS database and Ferry Information Service?

What plans do you have to share passenger information supplied by carriers? Will this involve the loan of computer systems and equipment by carriers to the Immigration Service?

The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 establishes "statutory gateways" which enable Customs and Excise, among other named agencies, to provide information to the Secretary of State for specific immigration purposes. These purposes are defined in Section 20 of the new legislation. However, the gateways only allow information to be shared for specified purposes, which broadly equate with each agency's statutory functions. This does not allow, for example, Customs to ask the Immigration Service to acquire certain information on its behalf from carriers in order to by-pass perceived weaknesses in Customs' own information gathering powers. Rather, it allows the Immigration Service to share only that information which the Immigration Service has lawfully collected for its own purposes in the first instance. Customs will have routine access to "core" passenger information (as set out at Part 1 of the Schedule to the Passenger Information Order) to the extent that it has been collected from carriers by the Immigration Service. The Immigration Service has begun a detailed study to examine a range of data sharing issues, designed to move the Service towards a more targeted and intelligence led approach to the operation of the control. This will include looking at the way Customs use profiles; the way they analyse data and the manner by which carriers might provide the Immigration Service with passenger information.

On occasions when one border agency subjects travellers and/or vehicles to a thorough examination, what arrangements exist to invite other border agencies to attend and thus avoid subsequent duplication of examination procedures?

To what extent are the daily border agencies' operations at the SE ports co-ordinated?

The arrangements will vary from port to port but the general, and important, point to make is that there exists a high degree of co-operation between the border control agencies. Each agency will normally notify the others if it has a specific target. Unless there are reasons for another agency to conduct its own search, the agency with a specific interest will be awarded primacy. For example, the Immigration Service will often refrain from searching vehicles which are to be subjected to a detailed Customs check, safe in the knowledge that we shall be notified if any clandestines are found. Random searches by one agency will occasionally reveal cargo of interest to another. At an operational level, officers are well aware of the range of colleagues' interests and business is conducted in a spirit of mutual co-operation.

Are there plans for a joint border agencies' intelligence unit for SE ports?

  Yes. In fact at Dover, a Joint Intelligence Cell (JIC) already exists and currently comprises officers of Kent Police, Customs and the Benefits Agency. The Immigration Service now has the staff resources to join and arrangements to do so are in train.

How does the Border Agencies Working Group ensure that closer co-operation is made effective on the ground?

  Two-three visits each year are undertaken by the BAWG to ports in order to examine the extent to which the agencies are cooperating "on the ground". Glasgow airport and Stranraer were visited on 3-4 July. In 1999 Dover and Portsmouth were visited.

  ICP NEWS—the Immigration, Customs and Police border agencies newsletter is published three times per year in order to advertise the benefits of closer working amongst the border agencies. Staff of all three agencies are invited to contribute articles for publication.

  Periodical surveys are carried out to establish to what extent co-operation on the ground is taking place eg training exchanges, attachments, setting up joint intelligence cells etc.

  Influencing local attitudes where relationships are poor is just as important as spreading best practice nationally.

What is the present flow of passenger vehicle traffic through controls at Portsmouth port? What is the full capacity of these controls?

  In the month of July 2000, immigration officers at Portsmouth dealt with 52,049 arriving vehicles (includes cars, coaches, camper vans and motorcycles) which represented about 50 per cent of potential capacity.

How frequent are tailbacks caused at Portsmouth by checks being undertaken by the various control agencies?

  Passenger vehicle traffic almost invariably flows through the controls (UKIS, Customs, and, if present, Hampshire Police Ports Unit) steadily at about walking pace (the vehicle speed limit within the Port Restricted Zone area is 5 mph). Very occasional exceptions would be short-term, targeted checking exercises undertaken by Customs, and/or the Police Ports Unit which can cause temporary tailbacks. If the volume of vehicles is high, passengers who require more in depth examination by the Immigration Service or who simply have to fill in a landing card, can generate short delays. However staff are aware of the need to deal expeditiously with all passengers and are under instruction to put to one side vehicles containing passengers requiring further examination, in order to minimise the interruption to the flow.

  There is one other, geographical, cause of occasional tailbacks; if the traffic lights at the exit from the Restricted Zone immediately after the control area are at red, preventing access to the public roads system, a tailback through the controls can result.

Are the physical layout of control arrangements at Portsmouth and the scheduling of ferry arrival and departure times factors in the cause of tailbacks occurring on occasions, impeding the off-loading procedures?

  There are three "pinch" points each day (0600-0800; 1200-1400 and 2015-2200) when four services are scheduled to arrive, off-load and then load for departure from/to variously Cherbourg, Caen and Le Havre. The physical layout of the Port Restricted Zone area is such that passenger and freight vehicles and coaches carrying foot passengers between the ferries and the Passenger Terminal have to cross each other's routes from/to three different linkspans. The part played by ferry company marshals (P&O European and Brittany Ferries) is crucial in keeping inevitable interruptions to arriving and departing vehicle flows to a minimum.

Do any countries from which ferries depart on sailings to the UK (eg France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, the Scandinavian countries) require outward bound searches to be carried out on vehicles?

  We know of no continental feeder port which requires the search of outbound vehicles except Coquelles where Eurotunnel undertake security checks in accordance with their obligations under Channel Tunnel regulations. However, random searches, either by officials or private contractors are carried out, with varying degrees of intensity, at a number of ports in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.

How many other countries operate carrier liability legislation?

  Although definitive figures are not available, the following 50 countries are known to impose liability on carriers who bring inadequately documented passengers into their jurisdiction:

  Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Korea, Liberia, Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, the United States of America, Venezuela, the Yemen Republic.

Are airlines encouraged to assess or profile passengers prior to departure and, if so, is this a formal or informal arrangement?

  Under legislation carriers are only expected to check that a passport or travel document presented by a passenger is valid and acceptable for entry into the UK, that the passenger is the rightful holder and that, where required, the passenger holds a valid visa. Where a passenger presents a false passport, the carrier is liable to a charge only if the falsity is reasonably apparent—that is, if it is of a standard which a trained representative of the carrying company, examining it carefully but briefly and without the use of technological aids, could reasonably be expected to detect. The same standard of reasonable apparence also applies to impostors, ie those passengers unlawfully travelling on another person's passport.

  Airlines are not generally required to assess passengers' reasons for travelling to the UK or predict their intentions on arrival in the UK. However, in the case of visa nationals seeking to benefit from the visa waiver concession, carriers need to satisfy themselves (as far as possible) that the passenger meets all of the requirements of that concession, including having a genuine intention to transit as claimed. The training offered to airlines by the UK immigration service stresses the importance of brief but careful examination of travel documents and also highlights the link between many inadequately documented passengers (IDAs), and a variety of common factors including illogical routings, lack of check-in baggage on long haul flights and late arrival at check-in. Consideration of these factors, and their own experience of passengers holding false documents or a document not rightfully theirs, has led airline staff to a heightened awareness of the type of passenger whose documents they might wish to examine more closely.

Will profiling by carriers be a condition for pre-clearance agreements?

  Pre-clearance arrangements will enable the Immigration Service to give or refuse leave to enter prior to a passenger boarding a ship or aircraft for the United Kingdom. Such arrangements require bi-lateral agreements between the United Kingdom and the Government of the country where the pre-clearance operation is located. These arrangements are separate from the responsibilities that Carriers have to identify inadequately documented passengers.

What plans are there to review the Direct Airside Transit Visa policy in relation to the exemptions to the DATV requirement?

  It is important to ensure that all visa requirements continue to be workable and justifiable in relation to their costs and consequences. These matters are kept under regular review.

Further to the information provided in annexes A and B of appendix 37 of your initial memorandum, could you provide details, by calendar year of

      The number of charges made upon airline carriers under the provisions of the Immigration (Carriers Liability) Act 1987 since their implementation;

    —  The total value of these charges;

    —  The number of charges which were subsequently appealed against;

    —  The number of such appeals which were upheld;

    —  The value of the charges in respect of which appeals were upheld.

  Since the inception of the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987, separate records of demands served only on air carriers (as opposed to all carriers) have not been kept.

  Table A attached indicates the total number of charges demanded (by calendar year) of all carriers, their value and the value of charge demands which were subsequently waived. It also contains details of the approximate cumulative number of charges demanded of air carriers only as at 31 December 1999, their value and the value of the demands subsequently waived.[11]

  It should be noted that charge demands may be waived at the port of arrival or at Immigration Service HQ. Moreover because carriers can dispute charges either by formal written representation or, more rarely, through discussion and negotiation, it is not possible to detail accurately the total number of charges "appealed" against. Table A sets out the value of all demands waived in respect of all carriers annually from 1987. It also contains the cumulative value of all demands waived in respect of air carriers as at 31 December 1999.[12]

  There are many reasons for waiving charge demands. Charges may be waived at ports of arrival following representations on the basis of new evidence received after demand notices have been served. They may also, for example, be waived at Immigration Service Headquarters as a result of secondary representations or following the grant by IND of full refugee status to passengers in respect of whom demands have been served.

The number and total value of all demands waived at the port of arrival in the year 1999 (usually in response to representations) was 785 demands with a total value of £1,570,000.[13]

  Details of formal secondary representations dealt with at Immigration Service HQ are as follows:

All Carriers

Representations Received
Representations Upheld
2000 (1st half)

Air Carriers

Representations Received
Representations Upheld
2000 (1st half)

  The Committee will wish to note that, regrettably, an error occurred in the details given in Annex B to Appendix 37 to the initial memorandum. The computerised presentation of demands waived changed from 1 April 1999. As a result of a consequential clerical error the wrong figure was quoted for the cumulative total of charges waived as at 31 December 1998. This, in turn, led to wrong figures being quoted for the amounts waived during 1998, 1999 and 1999-2000. Attached as Table B are the correct figures.

Could you provide details of the ISPD current complement figures?

  On 1 July 2000 there were 2,567 staff in post in ISPD. This figure is due to increase to 3,050 by 31 March 2001. Table C shows actual numbers of staff in post from 1995.

Are there plans to give an element of transparency to the civil penalty objection system?

  The procedure for objecting to a penalty notice is laid down in Section 32 of the Immigration and Asylum Act. It requires that any person served with a penalty notice who wishes to object to his liability under it must submit a notice in writing to that effect. The Secretary of State is required to consider such an allegation and determine whether or not any penalty to which it relates is payable. In practice, notices of objection are considered on behalf of the Secretary of State by the Inspector at the Civil Penalty Central Administration Unit. Where the penalty is upheld, the person who submitted the notice of objection receives a letter fully explaining the reasons for the decision. If the penalty then remains unpaid, payment may only be enforced via court proceedings during which a responsible person would have the opportunity to be heard by the court and to adduce evidence to show why the penalty should not stand.

  There are no plans to change the objection procedures.

At which ports are the provisions of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 enabling imposition of the civil penalty now being enforced?

  Since 3 July 2000, the civil penalty provisions applying to vehicles have been enforced at all ports of entry.

Could you provide details as of 31 July, of


    —  The number of civil penalty notices issued;

    —  The number of penalties paid, and the amount received;

    —  The number of successful appeals against civil penalty notices;

    —  The number of civil proceedings instigated as a result of refusal to pay.

  As at 31 July: 294 penalty notices had been served.

  Fifteen penalties totalling £86,000.00 had been paid in full and agreement reached for an additional four penalties totalling £86,000.00 to be paid by instalment.

  Notices of objection in nine cases had been successful.

  Twenty-four cases had been referred by the Treasury Solicitor to solicitor agents for enforcement action although court proceedings had yet to be filed at court or served on the persons concerned in any of these.

How have your plans to counter displacement activity resulting from tighter controls involved the other border agencies?

  The Immigration Service works closely with Police and Customs on initiatives such as Coastwatch where members of the public are encouraged to telephone a hot line provided by Customs if they see suspicious activity that may be of interest to all the control agencies.

Is the provision of AFIS progressing as stated in Appendix 31 of your memorandum?

  Progress on the Immigration & Asylum Fingerprint (IAF) Project continues on schedule and remains within budget. Phase 1A was implemented by the end of June and now includes an interim matching solution pending the full matching service which will be part of Phase 1B due for implementation in December.

How extensive is the Warnings Index network? Does it include West Coast ports?

  The Warnings Index (WI) computer system is installed at every port where UK Immigration Officers are based. Terminals are also installed for use by HM Customs in Lower Thames Street, London EC3 and by NCIS in Spring Gardens, London SE11. Immigration Officers take portable WI computers to those places where there is occasional attendance. Portable WI computers are also used by Immigration Officers in the Channel Islands. The WI system is not installed at those ports on the West Coast of the UK which deal solely with traffic from the Isle of Man and from Ireland. Some police officers who operate controls at the West Coast ports, Immigration Officers in the Irish Republic and staff operating the immigration control in the Isle of Man are registered users of the WI system and may make checks of the system by telephoning the Warnings Index Control Unit.

To what extent is the Warnings Index used for Customs and Police (including NCIS) purposes?

  The WI is one of a number of operational tools available to HM Customs and Excise. It is in regular use by HM Customs and has a valuable role to play as part of their strategy in maintaining a UK Customs Control. The WI is also an integral part of Police National Strategy on border controls. It is regularly used by Police Officers for the prevention and detection of serious crime; to uphold national security and for the prevention of terrorism. Its existence is an important factor in facilitating co-operation between all the Border Control Agencies.

The Terrorism Act 2000 seeks to include Customs and Immigration Officers as examining officers, what plans are there to allow Police to act as examining officers under Immigration legislation?

  There are no plans to extend the powers of Police Officers beyond those already contained in the Immigration Act 1971 and subsequent legislation.

Using existing powers, what objections would there be to Customs officers operating the EEA arrivals controls? Subject to a power to examine what objections would there be to Police operating the EEA arrivals controls?

  It is only immigration officers who have specific statutory power to examine arriving EEA passengers in order to determine whether they are entitled to exercise free movement rights and, if so, whether they should be excluded from the United Kingdom on public policy, public security or public health grounds. We do not see how Customs or the police could become involved in this process without significant re-training and on the part of the police primary legislation would be required. This is not practicable in the foreseeable future.

  The primary threat to the integrity of frontier controls by persons using the EEA channel at major ports is one of forgery, whereby non-EEA nationals use EEA documentation in order to enter the United Kingdom unlawfully. From 1 October 1999 to the end of June this year 4,225 forgeries were detected at ports of which 61 per cent were EEA documents. In order to counter this threat the Immigration Service has developed significant expertise in forgery detection that is not shared by the other control agencies whose primary objectives are very different.

  Additionally, using a police or Customs officer on one element of the primary immigration control would reduce the ability for Immigration Service managers to redeploy resources rapidly to counter competing pressures on the control. For example, at Waterloo International Terminal the immigration officers deployed to deal with EEA passengers are quickly re-deployed to deal with non-EEA passengers once the EEA queue is reduced. This facilitates the speedy passage of the majority of people who may be considered to constitute a low risk to the immigration control.

  Customs officers are deployed flexibly according to perceived risk and there could be no guarantee that they would be available for immigration control purposes at any given time.

In what circumstances would the Immigration Service seek to operate embarkation controls?

  The Immigration Service would co-operate with the Police in reinstituting traditional embarkation controls in an emergency, for example to identify a named terrorist. In a national emergency there is also provision under section 3(7) of the Immigration Act 1971.


  Responses to questions emanating from the oral evidence session with IND officials on 13 June 2000 or the visits to IS ports.

The national figure of illegal entrants detected in May 2000. (Q3 of the oral evidence session refers)

  2,180 people were identified and treated as offenders in May 2000. This compares with 2,092 in April 2000 and 1,260 in May 1999. (It should be noted that not all such offenders are clandestine entrants.)

The final figures for funding for the current financial year. (Q34 of the oral evidence session refers)

  The ISPD allocation is £116 million.

Do we grant exceptional leave on the basis of difficulties with documentation? (Q117 of the oral evidence session refers)

  We do not have a policy of granting exceptional leave where we cannot obtain a document.

Are asylum seekers in France allowed to work? (Q124 of the oral evidence session refers)

  As a general principle asylum seekers in France have not been allowed access to the Labour market since 1991. There is discretion to grant access to individual asylum seekers who possess specific skills of which there is a shortage in the French labour market. This discretion is very seldom exercised.

Enclosed Space Detection Devices (Query raised following the Committee's visit to Status Park)

  The National Forgery Section is actively considering and evaluating any form of enclosed space detection device promoted by manufacturers, including AVIAN (Advanced Vehicle Interrogation and Notification). Evaluation of the suitability of AVIAN will be taking place in the near future.

11   Whilst the cumulative and annual figures given now and previously include all carriers and all amounts incurred, waived and paid, the detailed balance reports for many earlier years listed only carriers with outstanding debts. It was not possible, therefore, to distinguish the amounts incurred and waived in respect of air carriers only. The present computerised accounting system now allows this to be done. Back

12   It should be borne in mind that charges waived in any calendar year cannot be compared directly with charges demanded in that same year. Charges waived in any one year will include charges originally demanded in earlier years. Back

13   The computerised accounting system in use in previous years is not capable of distinguishing between demands waived at ports and elsewhere. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 31 January 2001