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Illegal Food Imports

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 22 May 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to his answer, of 14 May 2003, Official Report, columns 261–62W, on food imports, (a) whether the personnel for the new mobile anti-smuggling teams will be drawn from existing Customs personnel, (b) which regions the new anti-smuggling teams will operate in, (c) which regions the detector dogs will operate in, (d) what provisions are in place for replacing ill detector dogs and (e) when the publicity campaign at ports and airports in the UK and overseas will be unveiled. [114950]

Staff for the new teams will be drawn from existing Customs personnel. The anti-smuggling teams and detector dogs are mobile and the locations of their deployment will be varied according to risk. Where illness or injury seriously impairs a detector dog's long-term effectiveness, the dog would normally be retired from duty, Customs would then arrange for the supply and training of a new dog as soon as possible.DEFRA publicity is continuing while Customs publicity material is developed. This will be rolled out later this year.