New Clause 2

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 20th March 2007.

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Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Minister of State (Home Office) (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality) 4:45 pm, 20th March 2007

This is a debate that we have, to an extent, already had. The purpose of the clauses is to create the new offence of assaulting an immigration officer, to establish penalties and sanctions relating to that offence, and to ensure that there is the power of arrest, and to make the technical and consequential amendments that are required to ensure that it is possible to give effect to warrants to enter premises, to search individuals who are arrested and to seize material. They not only bring the new offence into being, but align it with the similar offences of assaulting an officer of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and assaulting a police officer. The proposed penalties, which have been well debated by the Committee, are fairly standard and well established.

Before I sit down I underline the point that we have had a useful debate in the Committee, in which we have spent some time celebrating the contribution, pride and  professionalism of our immigration officers. The Committee can take this opportunity to send an important signal to immigration service staff that we take their work extremely seriously and will ensure that they have the protection of the law where and when they need it.