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Special Branch

Volume 463: debated on Monday 1 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when she expects to complete the review of Special Branch; and if she will make a statement; (155249)

(2) if she will make a statement on the progress of the review of Special Branch;

(3) whether Special Branch officers serving at ports and airports will continue to be part of the local constabulary.

[holding answer 12 September and 17 September 2007]: The review of Special Branch is a matter for the Association of Chief Police Officers, whose Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee is examining the work undertaken by the police service in support of national security intelligence, particularly the role and function of Special Branch. This review will involve wide consultation with experts and practitioners. I understand that it will be completed by the end of the year, and the Association of Chief Police Officers has undertaken to keep me informed.

Separately from this review, and following the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 25 July that the Government would integrate the vital work of the Border and Immigration Agency, Customs and UK Visas overseas and at the main points of entry to the UK, the Cabinet Secretary is conducting a review on the stages ahead in implementation and whether there is a case for going further, while ensuring value for money. Special Branch will continue to play its full role, based on intelligence, at ports and airports.