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Customs And Excise

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the working hours of the local Swansea Customs team have been spent (a) in their home areas and (b) outside their home areas during the past two years. [118533]

Over the past two years the Swansea Customs team have spent approximately 40 per cent. of their operational time in Swansea. Of the 60 per cent. of the time they spent elsewhere, the majority was at Cardiff International airport.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what seizures have been made by the Swansea local Customs team in (a) their own area and (b) outside their own area in the past two years. [118534]

The Swansea Customs team have, in the last two years, made 19 seizures in Swansea. These included 156,750 cigarettes, some small seizures of hand rolled tobacco and spirits and two knives.Operating elsewhere over the same period, the team made a further 48 seizures mostly at Cardiff International airport. These comprised 633,520 cigarettes, some small seizures of hand rolled tobacco and a small number of other minor seizures.The team made no Class A drug seizures over the two-year period.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what plans there are for further co-operative working between the Customs and Excise departments of the UK and Eire; [118538](2) what meetings have taken place in the last two years between the Customs and Excise Service of the Republic of Ireland and the UK Customs and Excise concerning co-operative working to tackle

(a) drugs smuggling, (b) cigarette smuggling, (c) oil smuggling and (d) illegal immigration. [118539]

Customs work closely with the Republic of Ireland (as well as other member states) on a number of issues and meet with them regularly, both bilaterally and as part of larger meetings.These meetings take place at both the high level to discuss strategic plans for future working and also at operational levels to discuss specific cases. There is consequently a regular flow of information between UK Customs and Excise and their Republic of Ireland counterparts in relation to suspect drug consignments and cash related movements, cigarette smuggling and oils smuggling.Illegal immigration is not an assigned matter for either Service.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the role of Customs officers is in implementing anti-terrorism measures. [118540]

Customs has prime responsibility for controls on the movement of goods into and out of the United Kingdom, including the detection of terrorist material. A significant part of the £330 million announced by the Chancellor in the Budget for counter-terrorism purposes will be used to equip Customs with new technology and staff measures to assist their detection effort.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times in the past two years the Customs and Excise National Strike Force has undertaken operational duties in west Wales. [118546]

The National Strike Force was deployed to Wales 16 times over the last two years. On at least 12 occasions they were operating in west Wales.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost was of paying travel and subsistence allowances to customs officers serving in the South East Region Enforcement Team in (a) 1999, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002; and what estimate he has made of the cost of paying travel and subsistance allowances to customs officers serving in the South East Region Enforcement Team in (i) 2003, (ii) 2004 and (iii) 2005. [116731]

There is not, and never has been, a South East Region Enforcement Team in Customs and Excise. Following changes in customs' management structure in 2001, an enlarged Law Enforcement South Region was created. Travel, subsistence and other expenses are paid in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Service Management Code.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of the working hours of the local Pembroke Customs team have been spent (a) in and (b) outside their home areas during the past two years. [118530]

During the last two years, the Pembroke Customs team have spent 80 per cent. of their time in Pembroke and Fishguard and 20 per cent. elsewhere, largely at Cardiff International airport.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what seizures have been made by the Pembroke local Customs team (a) in and (b) outside their own area in the past two years. [118531]

The Pembroke Customs team have made one significant seizure, of 1.2 million cigarettes, in Pembroke in the past two years. This seizure was a result of a specific operation, based on intelligence gathered from outside Wales. In addition, the team made a small number of minor seizures of cigarettes, hand rolled tobacco, spirits and beer, in Pembroke and Fishguard.Elsewhere, over the last two years, the Pembroke Customs team seized 481,290 cigarettes at Cardiff International Airport, and made a small number of minor seizures of cigarettes and hand rolled tobacco elsewhere.The Pembroke Customs team made no significant drug seizures over the past two years.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what seizures have been made by the Customs and Excise National Strike Force in west Wales in the last two years. [118532]

The National Strike Force have been deployed to Wales 16 times in the past two years. Their seizures have included £500,000 cash and over 5.6 million in cigarettes in west Wales and the borders.