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Clause 34 - Disclosure to law enforcement agencies

Part of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 25th October 2005.

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Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Shadow Minister, (Assisted By Shadow Law Officers) 4:45 pm, 25th October 2005

I have one or two brief questions. I seek the Minister’s indulgence because, a moment ago, my mind wandered on to the next clause. I missed an earlier exchange, so if my question has already been asked, I hope that he will forgive me. Most of my best family holidays have been on the island of Alderney. I wonder whether, since Guernsey and Jersey have been mentioned, Alderney, Sark and Herm should be mentioned separately.

Although the chief officer of police may disclose information to other foreign law enforcement agencies, I should be interested to hear whether many foreign law enforcement agencies have legislation in place to permit them to exchange information with us, and whether they do so. Can the Minister explain why it was decided not to specify by order the relevant foreign law enforcement agencies, whether by name of agency or by country? Can he also say a little more about the reference in the clause not to police forces but to those with

“functions similar to ... functions of a police force.”

I take it, for example, that in America, we would be talking about the CIA, the FBI, the federal police and the state police. Are those all included? What about other countries?

In relation to the issue of police purposes, have any purposes been specified under section 21 of the 1999 Act? Can the Minister confirm that the sharing of information under the clause will also be limited to sharing for police purposes as defined by that section? Could that limitation as to purpose be specified in the Bill on Report?

Those are my questions on the clause which, otherwise, I think is sensible.