asked the Home Secretary what steps, if any, are taken to ascertain whether persons entering this country are or are not carrying firearms; and whether firearms can enter this country by post?
Such steps with regard to persons entering this country from overseas are taken in the course of the Customs examination. Packages sent from overseas by parcels post are examined by the Customs. Firearms sent in other post packages from overseas, without licence, are detained and handed to the Customs for action. If my hon. Friend means to refer to Ireland, I would refer him to the answer given to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Stafford on the 26th instant. All regulations as to removals of firearms apply to removals by post.
Are any steps being taken to search people coming from Ireland, in view of the fact that people going to Ireland are searched?
In eases of suspicion there would be search in exactly the same way.
Why should not people coming in be searched in exactly the same way as those going to Ireland?
Can Members of Parliament be exempt from that?
May I draw attention to the question on the Paper? I ask what steps are taken to ascertain whether persons entering this country are or are not carrying firearms?
That is the question I have answered. It is done by the Customs. They search the luggage and anything that would be likely to contain firearms.
Are persons searched?
Yes, if the Customs suspect that they may have arms hidden.
is there any difference of procedure adopted in the case of people going out of the country compared with those coming into the country?
There may be a difference in the amount, because the firearms being taken out are far more than those coming in. The principle is the same.
Do you always search people coming into this country, or only when you have reason to suspect them?
When we have reason to suspect them. We do not search every one.
Is there any difference in practice in the case of people coming from Ireland compared with those coming from foreign countries?
No, the practice is the same. If there is any suspicion of their having arms, they are searched.
On what would that suspicion be based?