Migrants

Home Department written question – answered on 6th October 2003.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the new detection technology used in the management of migration to the UK.

Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism)

The deployment of people detection technology is one of the many initiatives the Government have taken to significantly reduce the number of unfounded asylum claimants arriving in the United Kingdom.

We have deployed people detection technology at ports in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Ireland.

In France, we have deployed technology in Calais and Coquelles and negotiations on deployment are at an advanced stage with the ports of Dunkirk, Cherbourg, Le Havre and Caen, and preliminary scoping visits have been made to Dieppe, Roscoff and St. Malo. At Calais there is the capability to screen 100 per cent. of embarking freight vehicles. Following the tightening of security at Calais, we are taking steps to deploy at other continental ports vulnerable to the displacement of clandestine activity.

In Belgium, operations have commenced at Ostend where United Kingdom provided technology screens on embarking freight. Initial operations have commenced at Zeebrugge and deployment continues at other terminals within the port. A gamma scanner has been trialed in a joint operation with the Belgian authorities since August 2003.

In the Netherlands, deployment has now commenced at the port of Vlissingen and negotiations continue with other Dutch ports.

In Germany, technology has been operational on the German border with Poland and the Czech Republic since late August.

In Ireland, technology has been deployed since late July.

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