Obstruction offence in relation to immigration officers

Criminal Finances Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 17th November 2016.

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Amendment made: 11, in clause 19, page 72, line 36, at end insert—

“( ) section 303C as so applied (powers to search for a listed asset);

( ) section 303J as so applied (powers to seize property);

() section 303K as so applied (powers to detain seized property);”—

This amendment is consequential on NC9.

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

This clause is similar to clauses 17 and 18. It addresses the need for an offence of obstruction, in this case to apply to immigration officers. Much of what I have already said in relation to such an offence also applies here. Under section 21(1)(g) of the Immigration Act 1971, a person commits an offence if they obstruct an immigration officer who is lawfully acting in accordance with their powers under that Act. That obstruction offence does not apply to the exercise of powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

As immigration officers now regularly use their powers under POCA—in particular since the extension of those powers in the Crime and Courts Act 2013—it is consistent for them to have a related obstruction offence. The clause amends POCA to create such an offence. Immigration officers are already covered by a general assault offence under section 22 of the UK Borders Act 2007, so no further provision is required in relation to assault. We are also amending immigration officers’ power of arrest without warrant to include this new offence.

Photo of Rupa Huq Rupa Huq Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Crime and Prevention)

Again, Her Majesty’s Opposition entirely support this clause in relation to obstruction of immigration officers in the line of duty.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 19, as amended, accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 20