Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40-59)|
HM REVENUE AND
UK BORDER AGENCY
9 MARCH 2009
Q40 Chairman: Are you going to write
privately or will you send a note to the Committee?
Mr Clark: To the Committee.
Q41 Chairman: We determine whether
it is kept private or not.
Mr Clark: We also do another range of
scanning of vehicles and freight coming into the UK. Last year
we scanned 60,000 vehicles on the journey in.
Q42 Mr Touhig: You do not have a
presence in every port.
Mr Clark: No.
Q43 Mr Touhig: So if the security
services say they are concerned about a ship which might be docking
at a fairly remote British port, what do you do?
Mr Clark: We would deploy to that remote
port. We have very close relationships with security services
and the police.
Q44 Mr Touhig: Who has the lead role
in trying to ensure that materials that are helpful to terrorists
do not get into the United Kingdom?
Mr Clark: Security services have the
lead role in that.
Q45 Mr Touhig: Coming back to my
first question, how closely do you work with the security services?
Mr Clark: I was saying that we work very
closely with them. They are part of our tasking and deployment
arrangements. We have a chief constable on the UKBA board and
we continue to develop links with serious and organised crime
and other parts of security services. They have the primacy on
security issues but we will deploy to their risks as they identify
Q46 Mr Touhig: Do you have the capacity
to do that bearing in mind you are not in every port?
Mr Clark: We have increased mobile capability
across the business significantly over the last 12 months and
we do have the ability to deploy in that way.
Q47 Mr Touhig: You say you work closely
with the security services. It is not a hit and miss, ad hoc arrangement;
this is a regular meeting between you and security services.
Mr Clark: What I would say to you is
that if the security services have identified a risk at a port
and seek our deployment we will, without question, deploy.
Q48 Mr Touhig: You say you have the
capacity for that.
Mr Clark: Absolutely.
Q49 Mr Touhig: We see at paragraph
2.18 on page 17 that in 2007 the United Kingdom examined just
0.1% of goods coming into the country and the EU average is 9.1%
and the median was 7.6%. That is not much of a record, is it?
Mr Tweddle: Again I think that is misreading
the overall Report, with respect.
Q50 Mr Touhig: If you disagree with
the Report why have you not told the Comptroller ad Auditor General?
Mr Tweddle: We are not disagreeing with
Q51 Mr Touhig: That is what the Report
Mr Tweddle: You are missing out the words
"based on the CHIEF examination only". There are 2-3%
of other examinations which get done for other reasons.
Q52 Mr Touhig: Why have you not told
the Comptroller and Auditor General that his Report is unclear?
I assume you have.
Ms Strathie: The Report actually was
delayed in sign off whilst we worked through this process and
extra work was indeed asked for in this Report. We did harness
all of it, not just 0.1% but 2% to 3% and to provide more context
for that. I think we are clear. We are about seventh.
Q53 Mr Touhig: The European median
is 7.6% and we are 0.1%. Is that right? Is that a fact?
Ms Strathie: Only CHIEF system generated
Q54 Mr Touhig: So what else is covered
outside the CHIEF system?
Mr Tweddle: We examine a much higher
proportion of the cargo as a result of
Q55 Mr Touhig: What percentage compared
with the rest of the EU, outside the CHIEF system?
Mr Tweddle: We believe that the figures
for the rest of the EU actually include the sort of examinations
which are done beyond the CHIEF system.
Q56 Mr Touhig: Is it a fact or do
you assume? Let us not have assumptions. Is it a fact?
Mr Tweddle: I think the National Audit
Office would agree that it is very difficult to establish the
basis on which figures abroad have been made but our belief is
that the figures for other countries actually include the sorts
of checks that are taking place
Q57 Mr Touhig: You believe but you
are not sure. Does anybody know?
Mr Burr: If I could just comment on this,
we know that the figures that we report are only partial estimates
because they are based on CHIEF and the full picture is estimated
at 2% or 3% as paragraph 2.16 says rather than at the 0.1%. What
we do not know, of course, is whether estimates by other EU Member
States as reported are also partial estimates.
Q58 Mr Touhig: You also say in the
Report that, "The Department considers that its risk targeting
justifies lower levels of examination, but the fragmented nature
of its risk and intelligence information makes it difficult to
assess." What is risk targeting?
Mr Tweddle: Risk targeting is taking
all the information that you have about consignments coming to
Q59 Mr Touhig: So an intelligence
Mr Tweddle: Yes.
1 Ev 14 Back