Borders, Citizenship And Immigration Bill [HL] - continued          House of Commons

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268.     The Government does not believe the provisions in this Part raise any ECHR issues.


Fingerprinting of foreign criminals liable to automatic deportation

269.     Clause 53 amends section 141 of the IAA 1999 to insert a provision to allow fingerprints to be taken from a person who is a foreign criminal within the meaning of section 32 of the UKBA 2007 and in respect of whom a section 32(5) decision is taken that the automatic deportation provisions in that Act apply. The amendments extend the definition of the existing category C person in respect of whom fingerprints may be taken under section 141 to include such a person. Subsection (2) excludes their dependants from the section 141 fingerprinting provisions. The provisions of section 141 to 146 of the IAA 1999 which apply in relation to a category C person otherwise apply accordingly.

270.     The taking and retention of fingerprints potentially engages Article 8(1) as constituting an interference with private life. However, the Government considers that any interference is justified and proportionate. In the Government’s view, the proposals are in accordance with the law. Furthermore, the Government considers the proposals can be justified as necessary and proportionate under Article 8(2) in the interests of the economic well being of the UK, in the interests of public safety, and for the prevention of disorder or crime.

271.     Any interference with Article 8 constituted by retention is lawful in that there is a clear and limited scheme in the IAA 1999. Fingerprints must be destroyed after a period of ten years. The ten-year retention period is proportionate in this context and strikes a fair balance between the competing public and private interests. The retention of data in this context allows for the verification of identity for those seeking to re-enter the UK following deportation.

Detention at ports - Scotland

272.     Clause 54 extends the powers in sections 1 to 4 of the UKBA 2007 to Scotland in relation to a person subject to a warrant for arrest. A designated immigration officer at a port may detain a person, for up to three hours pending the arrival of a constable, where the officer thinks a warrant is outstanding for that person.

273.     Designated officers exercising this power of detention will have limited powers to search the individual to check for weapons and/or documents and to seize any relevant items found.

274.     The Government considers that this power to detain falls within the permitted cases for detention, namely Article 5(1)(a) and (c). These provisions permit the lawful arrest or detention of a person for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or detention when it is reasonably necessary to prevent a person committing an offence or fleeing after having done so.

275.     The power to search individuals, and seize weapons or documents, raises potential issues under Article 8 and Article 1 Protocol 1, but in the Government’s view any interference under either Article can be justified. The powers of search and seizure pursue the legitimate aim of the public safety, the economic well-being of the country, and/or the prevention of disorder or crime, and are proportionate. The power to search is for very specific and limited purposes. It will be carried out by designated officers who the Secretary of State has concluded are fit and proper for this purpose and have received suitable training.


276.     The Government does not believe the provisions in this Part raise any ECHR issues.

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Prepared: 24 April 2009