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Intelligence Officers (Wales)

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether extra intelligence officers will be employed in Wales to counteract the loss of front-line anti-smuggling officers. [118535]

Customs will maintain the current intelligence resource levels, but will deploy them differently to combat the changing nature of criminality in Wales. They will work more closely with partner law enforcement agencies to focus on the threats posed whether they are drugs, other illegal goods or terrorism. In particular, they are joining with South Wales, Gwent and Dyfed Powys police forces to form a new Joint Intelligence Cell in Bridgend. They will make use of constant quality intelligence sources, from all over the world, and be able to determine the necessary Customs response to call upon mobile teams whether the threat is inland or at ports or airports.Moreover, under Customs' plans there will be an overall increase in the deployment of mobile teams to Wales, from a contingent of 100 officers based in Wales and the West Midlands, supported by the National Strike Force. This capability to deploy larger numbers of officers on unpredictable targeted operations will provide a real deterrence to professional smugglers and bootleggers.