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Immigration Officers

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she has given on the distance a designated officer may pursue an individual they have detained or attempted to detain at a port who subsequently leaves the port under the powers in section 2 of the UK Borders Act 2007. (199146)

I reported to the House on 3 April on the creation of the UK Border Agency, setting out the purpose and power of the agency to protect our border and making reference to the delivery of new powers to front line officers, including the powers in section 2 of the UK Borders Act.

Full guidance and suitable training will be provided to designated officers before they exercise the section 2 powers. In relation to pursuit, guidance will reflect that this power was introduced to enable a designated immigration officer to go to the immediate vicinity outside the port for the purpose of returning to the port an individual who has absconded from detention.

The guidance will also reflect that in practise, the use of the pursuit power will need to be assessed dynamically on a case by case basis by the designated officer, while weighing benefits against risk and taking full account of their own and their colleagues' safety, as well as that of the individual and members of the public.