Clause 18

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:45 pm on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Joan Ryan Joan Ryan Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 6:45 pm, 13th March 2007

The hon. Gentleman will know that we are significantly increasing enforcement activity and that is why, across the board, we want all our enforcement officers to be arrest trained so that that they can undertake specified activities and the required level of enforcement.

There are a number of safeguards in relation to the powers that will give some reassurance to the hon. Members. For example, subject to regulation made under section 4 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, the powers will be subject to regulation and scrutiny by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. That is a strength. The Immigration (PACE Codes of Practice) Direction 2000 will also apply to the use of the powers. A strong safeguard and scrutiny process is therefore in place. As I said, only officers who have had the appropriate training will be able to exercise the powers, and safeguards will be employed to ensure that they are used correctly. The powers will enable us to continue to ramp up our enforcement activity, ensure that it is effective and meet our commitment to deal with fraud of this kind. That probably covers all the points that I wish to make.

As I said, it is important to bear in mind that we are not giving new powers to immigration officers, but simply applying them to a different set of offences. The powers have operated well and without problems since 2000, which means that we should be confident to move forward and allow immigration officers to use the same powers in relation to this offence.