Memorandum by National Co-ordinator Ports
1. With reference to an invitation, dated
11 July 2007, to submit evidence and comments to the above mentioned
sub-committee, I would ask for the following points to be considered.
I am submitting these comments on behalf of the Association of
Chief Police Officers [Terrorism and Allied Matters] (ACPO (TAM))
where, in my capacity as National Co-ordinator Ports Policing
2. The Office of the NCPP was formed in 1987
under the authority and control of the Home Office, where it formed
part of the Terrorism and Protection Unit (now the Office of Security
and Counter TerrorismOSCT). There has been a National Co-ordinator
since its inception, developing the police response at ports and
borders and joint working with the other border agencies. In 2003,
following the HMIC Thematic Inspection "A Need to Know",
the NCPP moved under the Governance of ACPO (TAM).
3. The NCPP supports the Government's CONTEST
strategy and the ACPO (TAM) Three Year Delivery Plan (2006-09),
into which specific objectives for ports policing have been incorporated.
Under the vision statement "Working together to secure UK
ports and borders from the threat of terrorism and crime thereby
reducing harm to the UK", we aim to achieve the following
More effective border controls.
The collection and development of
Support to investigations.
Providing a hostile environment for
terrorists and criminals.
4. Policing at the border and ports can
be described as falling into three broad categories: Intelligence,
Protective Security, and General Policing (including the management
of major and critical incidents). The intelligence function at
the border and ports is the role of Special Branch officers whose
responsibilities are set out in the Home Office "Guidelines"
for Special Branch. They cover: Counter Terrorism; Serious Organised
Crime; and Child Abduction.
5. The current terrorist threat level within
the UK necessitates that positive action is taken to prevent terrorists
from entering the UK and, in the case of suspected "home-grown"
terrorists that a sufficient capability exists to monitor their
movements. The police work in close partnership with other border
agencies; HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Border &
Immigration Agency (BIA) as well as the Security Service. This
border agency partnership approach has been shaped through the
Border Management Programme (BMP).
6. SB officers at ports primarily rely on
powers contained in Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (TA2000)
to examine passengers and goods. This legislation allows a constable
or designated officer to examine a person to determine any involvement
in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
This examination may or may not lead to reasonable grounds for
arrest being established.
7. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
was established in April 2006 as a new law enforcement agency
with a remit for reducing the harm caused to citizens of the UK
by serious organised crime. The current top two priorities are
combating Class A drugs and organised immigration crime. SOCA
does not have a direct frontline presence at ports. Police work
closely with SOCA in providing expert operational support, particularly
in relation to tackling organised immigration crime.
8. In terms of the wider police responsibility
related to combating less serious criminality (Level 1 and 2 crimes)
that may penetrate the border, officers at ports also deal with
such matters. With the development of e-Borders it is anticipated
that the number of suspected criminals coming to police notice
at ports will significantly increase. Early indications from Project
Semaphore (the pilot of e-Borders) forecast that 38 arrests are
made per million passengers that have passed through this system.
Expected passenger numbers for 2014, when e-Borders is expected
to reach 95% capacity, is 200 million. Potentially this could
result in up to 8,000 arrests being made per annum at ports (although
this figure must carry the caveat that it is based only on preliminary
9. In partnership with BIA (Enforcement
and Compliance) police officers provide considerable expert practical
assistance in the investigation and detention/removal of [inland]
immigration offenders. A number of senior police officers have
been seconded to BIA Enforcement. Their role is to co-ordinate
teams of police and immigration officers through a network of
police inspectors organised on the ACPO geographical regions.
Within London over the past three to four years there have been
a number of police officers co-located with BIA staff within Joint
Intelligence Units. These officers mainly assist with the conduct
of risk assessments prior to any operations being carried out.
Additionally, for the past two years around 30 police officers
have been assisting in visits and with the removal of Failed Asylum
Seekers. Following the publication of the Enforcement Strategy
an additional 65 police officers have been assisting BIA staff
with the investigation of immigration crimethis includes
both the investigation and charging of individuals under the current
legislation via the courts, leading to either removal or formal
deportation. Outside London the picture is similar, however the
third strand mentioned above (ie assisting BIA staff with the
investigation of immigration crimethis includes both the
investigation and charging of individuals under the current legislation
via the courts, leading to either removal or formal deportation)
is planned to commence later this year.
10. The UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC)based
in Sheffieldis led by ACPO and is responsible for ensuring
that police and partner agencies maintain a joined up and strategic
approach to tackling human trafficking. Their main aim is to increase
knowledge and understanding of human trafficking amongst police
and partner agencies. I am aware that the UKHTC have very limited
interaction with Frontex.
11. At present the UK Police Service is
not represented within Frontex. Should the scope of Frontex be
expanded then I consider that the current arrangement, whereby
BIA is the sole UK border agency present on the Frontex Management
Board [indirectly representing other UK border agencies] as being
insufficient. It is reasonable to assume that Frontex will widen
its remit in the future. I consider that representation of the
UK Police Service within this Agency would significantly improve
upon the existing situation; by fully representing the interests
of the UK in relation to any Counter Terrorism (CT) effort and
combating criminality, particularly around operational activity
and gathering intelligence.
12. Given the necessity to tackle terrorism
and crime beyond our physical borders I would welcome any opportunity
to discuss the possibility of increasing UK Police Service activity
in the European arena, in order to secure links with other EU
police and government agencies that are specifically responsible
for monitoring European land and sea borders. It would be beneficial
for UK police to gain a better understanding of [and influence]
the EU Integrated Border Management (IBM) approach that has been
13. In relation to intelligence products,
Frontex does not currently produce a collective intelligence product
for dissemination to member states. Each state is responsible
for recording intelligence for its own use. There is significant
scope for more action to be taken to effectively capture and disseminate
intelligence that would be of use in combating crime and terrorism
impacting on the UK.
14. One of the Agency's main tasks is to
co-ordinate joint operations at the external sea, land and air
borders of the EU. Given the UK's current level of engagement
with Frontex, even if SB officers were to take part in specific
operations in a supplementary capacity it would at least create
opportunities for gathering CT and crime intelligence around irregular
migration. For example, where there might be a tacit connection
between a human smuggling ring and a terrorist organisation then
the opportunity to extrapolate and develop intelligence on that
connection is not currently apparent (ie a structured approach
to gathering and disseminating intelligence). As Frontex develops
its operational capability and influence beyond irregular migration
then the UK Police Service should be represented. Such representation
would be of benefit to the UK in contributing to reducing harm
to its citizens and the economy by increasing our intelligence
gathering capability within the EU. Furthermore, I believe that
the UK Police Service could offer much needed expert support in
planning and managing operations to combat criminality.
15. In its current form Frontex is limited
in what it can achieve; it employs 82 personnel and has a budget
of 35 million. In order to become more efficacious in dealing
with matters beyond irregular migration (eg criminality, CT) a
significant increase in [specialist] resources would be required.
16. As Frontex comes under increasing pressure
to act comprehensively in all border management matters I would
look forward to engaging in discussion around the UK Police Service
being singularly represented on the Management Board; in relation
to CT and mainstream criminal matters. I am aware that two Border
and Immigration officers are permanently based in Frontex, undertaking
specific roles. I would see real benefit in initially placing
a UK SB officer within the Agency to assist with operational planning
and intelligence sharing.
Assistant Chief Constable
National Co-ordinator Ports Policing
4 September 2007