Supplementary memorandum in response to
further questions from the Committee submitted by HM Customs and
Question 1. What is the value of tobacco seizures
for each of the last ten years?
Seizure figures for years prior to 1999-2000
record both alcohol and tobacco. Unfortunately it is not possible
to disaggregate them.
Figures are for UK seizures
Question 2: Have Customs given any indemnities to employees
of tobacco companies?
Question 3: Are any Customs employees under investigation in
relation to tobacco frauds?
Question 4: What is the total budget for Customs in each of
the last 10 years?
|(includes administration, programme and capital costsrounded to nearest million)
*Includes additional funding in support of the tobacco smuggling
Question 6: In your evidence to the Committee you indicated
that the need for intensive training of operators was a key contributing
factor for the current scanners not meeting projected targets.
Why has HM C&E therefore decided to introduce a third system
into the network thereby presumably contributing to additional
problems in training and operational efficiency?
Customs are considering the use of a third system particularly
at Dover and Coquelles with a view to undertaking a joint scanning
programme with the UK Immigration Service at those ports. This
could increase scanning capacity whilst minimising duplication
and inconvenience for legitimate traffic.
The number of image interpreter operators required is directly
related to the number of scanners employed. The nature of the
task of image interpreting is common to all three systems all
of which utilise a Windows NT based computer system. A revised
approach to training, already introduced, is intended to ensure
that adequate numbers of operators are trained in time for any
new system to operate effectively.
Question 7: Is the introduction of the third system an indication
that the 12 scanners already in place are less efficient than
the new system?
No. Different systems have different strengths and weaknesses.
The principal advantages of the third system being considered
are the possibility of joint operation with UK Immigration, which
it offers and the smaller size and greater manouverability which
is valuable at small ports and for regular travel. Customs have
yet to finalise a contract for a third system. If such a contract
is concluded it would be designed to supplement Customs existing
scanning fleet, not replace it.
Question 8: Will the procurement of a gamma-ray based system
require the introduction of additional safety arrangements by
Port Authorities (already identified as a factor in reducing the
efficiency of existing scanners) and thus further complicate operational
The gamma-ray based system emits even less radiation than
the current scanners and thus requires a smaller exclusion zone
or footprint. Such scanners would therefore be able to use all
of the established sites and would not disturb the existing Health
and Safety arrangements in any way.