Written Ministerial Statements
Wednesday 24 October 2012
Funding Reform (Wales)
The Secretary of State for Wales and I are pleased to publish the statement on funding reform that has been agreed jointly with the Welsh Government, copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. The statement follows a year-long process of talks between the two Governments and addresses Welsh devolved funding, the case for capital borrowing powers and wider fiscal reform.
Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime
Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (“TAFA 2010”), the Treasury is required to report quarterly to Parliament on its operation of the UK’s asset-freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1373.
This is the seventh report under TAFA 2010 and it covers the period from 1 July 2012 to 30 September 2012. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime and the operation of the EU asset-freezing regime in the UK under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU. Under the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the Al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011. Under EU regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.
Annexes 1 and 2 to this statement provide a breakdown by name of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council resolution 1373.
The following table sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter ended 30 September 2012:
EU Reg (EC) 2580/2001
Al-Qaeda regime UNSCR1989
Assets frozen (as at 30/09/2012)
Number of accounts frozen in UK (at 30/09/12)
New accounts frozen
Number of designations (at 30/09/12)
(i) new designations (during Q2 2012)
(iii) individuals in custody in UK
(iv) individuals in UK, not in detention
(v) individuals overseas
8 (0 in UK)
25 (1 in UK)
68 (1 in UK)
Individuals by nationality
(i) UK Nationals2
(ii) Non UK Nationals
Renewal of designation
(i) Issued in Q2
(i) Issued in Q2
1 This figure reflects the most up-to-date account balances available and includes approximately $64,000 of suspected terrorist funds frozen in the UK. This has been converted using exchange rates as of 02/10/12.
2 Based on information held by the Treasury, some of these individuals hold dual nationality.
There are no significant areas of activity to report on this quarter.
Appeals against designations made under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 and TAFA 2010 were ongoing in the quarter covered by this report, brought by Zana Abdul Rahim and Gulam Mastafa. Mastafa’s case has been listed for a preliminary hearing on 28 November 2012. A claim for damages arising from the designation of another individual, known as “M” for the purpose of these proceedings, issued against the Treasury is also on-going.
In the quarter to 30 September 2012, no criminal proceedings were initiated in respect of breaches of asset-freezes made under the Act or under the Al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.
Annex 1—Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name3
1. Hamed ABDOLLAHI 2. Bilal Talal ABDULLAH 3. Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI 4. Abdula Ahmed ALI 5. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER 6. Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB 7. Manssor ARBABSIAR 8. Usama HAMDAN 9. Nabeel HUSSAIN 10. Tanvir HUSSAIN 11. Zahoor IQBAL12. Umar ISLAM 13. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN 14. Parviz KHAN 15.Waheed Arafat KHAN 16. Osman Adam KHATIB 17. Musa Abu MARZOUK 18. Gulam MASTAFA 19. Khalid MISHAAL 20. Khalid Shaikh MOHAMMED 21. Ramzi MOHAMMED 22. Sultan MUHAMMAD 23. Yassin OMAR 24. Hussein OSMAN 25. Zana Abdul RAHIM 26. Muktar Mohammed SAID 27. Assad SARWAR 28. Ibrahim SAVANT 29. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI 30. Ali Gholam SHAKURI 31. Qasem SOLEIMANI 32. Waheed ZAMAN
1. BASQUE FATHERLAND AND LIBERTY (ETA)
2. EJERCITO DE LIBERACION NACIONAL (ELN)
3. FUERZAS ARMADAS REVOLUCIONARIAS DE COLOMBIA (FARC)
4. HIZBALLAH MILITARY WING, INCLUDING EXTERNAL SECURITY ORGANISATION
5. HOLY LAND FOUNDATION FOR RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT
6. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE—GENERAL COMMAND (PFLP-GC)
7. POPULAR FRONT FOR THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE (PFLP)
8. SENDERO LUMINOSO (SL)
3For full listing details please refer to: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/terrorism.htm.
Annex 2—Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC)2580/20014
1. Hamed ABDOLLAHI* 2. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER* 3. Ibrahim Salih AL YACOUB* 4. Manssor ARBABSIAR* 5. Mohammed BOUYERI 6. Sofiane Yacine FAHAS 7. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN* 8. Khalid Shaikh MOHAMMED* 9. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI* 10. All Gholam SHAKURI* 11. Qasem SOLEIMANI* 12. Jason Theodore WALTERS
Groups and Entities
1. Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)
2. Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade
3. Al-Aqsa e.V.
4. Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra
5. Babbar Khalsa
6. Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army (NPA), Philippines
7. Gama’a al-lslamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama’a al-lslamiyya) (Islamic Group—IG)
8. Büyük Dogu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)
9. Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem
10. Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)
12. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development*
13. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)
14. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)
15. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. KONGRA-GEL)
16. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
17. Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army)*
18. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
19. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*
20. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*
21. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)*
22. Devrimci Halk Kurtulu Partisi-Cephesi—DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front/Party)
23. Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*
24. Stichting Al Aqsa
25. Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)
4 For full listing details please refer to: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/terrorism.htm.
*EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.
On 27 March 2012 I issued a written statement to the House, Official Report, column 126WS on the Government’s response to Tom Winsor’s final report of his review of remuneration and conditions of service for police officers and staff in England and Wales.
In that statement I committed to consult with partners on proposals for implementing changes to the police officer pay machinery, including establishing a pay review body for officers.
I can confirm that the consultation on the implementation of this important reform will launch today on 24 October and close on 21 December. The consultation document and online questionnaire will be available on the Home Office website. My Department will ensure that all interested parties are aware of the launch of this consultation, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Police Federation and the Police Superintendents’ Association, to ensure that the views of police officers are heard. My Department will also work with the Association of Police Authorities, soon to be the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC), to ensure that PCCs have the opportunity to respond to the consultation when they take office. I would also welcome responses from other interested organisations and individuals.
The changes to the way in which police pay and conditions are determined, including establishing a pay review body, are part of a wider police reform agenda including the introduction of police and crime commissioners, the reduction in bureaucracy, developing professionalism in the service and the creation of the police professional body, and improving service to the public through collaboration between police forces. Police officers deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe, and enable them to deliver effectively for the public.
A copy of the consultation document is also available in the House Library and I will report to the House on the results of the consultation exercises early next year.
EU Readmission Agreement with Turkey
The Government have decided to opt in to the draft Council decision concerning the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and Turkey on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation (European Union Document No. 11743/12, COM(12) 239).
The readmission agreement will formalise reciprocal arrangements to document and remove illegal entrants from the EU and Turkey. After three years it will also apply to third-country nationals who have passed through the territory of individual member states and Turkey, where efforts have first been made to return the migrant directly to his or her country of origin.
The Government welcome the readmission agreement, which we believe will be valuable in easing the pressures on our border and form an important part of broader co-operation with Turkey on a wide range of justice and home affairs matters.
The agreement will help tackle the flow of illegal migration to the UK by making sure that every country in the EU has good arrangements for returns, so that would-be illegal entrants are removed before they reach our border. Participating in the agreement also makes clear the Government’s intention to stay active in addressing a range of strategic interests that the EU and Turkey share. They include not just migration, but tackling terrorism and transnational organised crime, and promoting judicial co-operation in civil and criminal matters.
Schengen Information System
The Government have decided not to exercise their right, under protocol 19 to the treaty on the functioning of the European Union (the Schengen protocol) and the treaty on European Union, to opt out of the regulation on migration from the Schengen information system (SIS 1+) to the second generation Schengen information system (SIS II).
The Government have taken this decision in accordance with the commitment in the coalition agreement, which states that we will approach legislation in the area of security and criminal justice on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting Britain’s civil liberties and preserving the integrity of our criminal justice system.
Justice and Home Affairs Council
The Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council is due to be held on 25 and 26 October in Luxembourg. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and I will attend on behalf of the United Kingdom. As the provisional agenda stands, the following items will be discussed.
The Council will begin in mixed committee with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland (non-EU Schengen states) where there will be an update on the second generation Schengen information system (SIS II). The UK will continue to reiterate its support for the continuation of the current SIS II project. The Commission has committed to deliver the central element of SIS II in early 2013.
Next the Council will note a short update from the presidency on Bulgarian and Romanian accession to the Schengen acquis.
Greece, the Commission, Frontex and the European Asylum Support Office will provide an update on progress in implementing Greece’s national action plan on asylum reform and migration management. The Council will be asked to note that the action plan will be revised ahead of December’s JHA Council and, following the recommendation of various member states including the UK, we anticipate it will incorporate benchmarks to enable sustainable progress towards Greece establishing a functional asylum and migration system. The UK welcomes this development and the recent momentum in tackling migratory pressures in Greece, but hopes that the operational expertise of member states will be fully utilised in the setting of benchmarks, and in implementing the revised action plan.
The Commission and Frontex will provide presentations on latest illegal immigration trends. This will provide an opportunity for member states to highlight current priorities on tackling illegal immigration as set out in the road map on EU action on migratory pressures. Like other member states, the UK considers it important that illegal immigration remains a Council priority, and believes the road map must continue to be a tool that drives action rather than a bureaucratic process. The UK is one of the co-drivers of action on abuse of free movement by third-country nationals, as set out in the road map, and we continue to work with other member states, the Commission and EU partners seeking further practical progress in this area.
There will be an exchange of views around the third report on the post-visa liberalisation monitoring for the western Balkan countries in accordance with the Commission statement of 8 November 2010. This concerns the decision to grant visa-free travel to citizens of the western Balkan countries. The purpose of the third report is to present the actions undertaken under the post-visa liberalisation monitoring mechanism following the first and second Commission staff working papers in May and December 2011; to assess the progress made in the relevant Western Balkan countries after the last assessment (December 2011); and to identify the next steps and the concrete actions to be taken. Although the UK will not implement any of the changes following visa liberalisation, we can support the Commission’s approach in seeking to use visa liberalisation agreements as a way of encouraging the adoption of measures laid out in the visa dialogue road maps. The UK also supports the measures being introduced to combat abuse following the introduction of visa liberalisation agreements.
Over lunch there will be a discussion on intra-EU relocation of beneficiaries of international protection. The UK will emphasise the importance of practical co-operation as the expression of “solidarity” rather than relocation, and the need to ensure any proposal for action in this area does not go ahead until it can be demonstrated that the lessons of the previous project (in Malta) have been learnt.
The main Council will start with a “state of play” discussion on the civil protection mechanism. The UK would want to restrict the role of the Commission and encourage a risk-based approach to disaster risk management while retaining primary responsibility with member states. The UK also supports the concept of a voluntary pool of assets while ensuring that any common funding is limited to areas where there is demonstrable added value.
There will be a “state of play” discussion on the common European asylum system (CEAS). The presidency are keen to make as much progress as possible on the CEAS by the end of the year. The UK has opted in to the Dublin (III) regulation and the new Eurodac proposal. The UK has not opted in to the three other directives.
There will also be a state of play discussion on the establishment of a regional protection programme in response to the Syrian crisis. The presidency remains highly concerned about the situation in Syria and is keen to ensure that the EU helps neighbouring countries build their capacity to host any resulting refugees. They will be seeking Council agreement for the establishment of a regional protection programme for Syria. The UK is supportive of this in principle, while cautious about the detail of such a proposal, particularly if a significant resettlement element is envisaged.
The presidency will be seeking to adopt the Council conclusions on the protection of soft targets from terrorist activities. While the conclusions do not identify any new areas of work which are not already under way under CONTEST (the UK’s strategy for countering terrorism), international collaboration is essential and we support the presidency’s initiative, particularly in relation to the sharing of experience and best practice in protecting soft targets.
An implementation report is also being presented to the Council for adoption on enhancing the links between internal and external aspects of counter-terrorism. This capitalises on the opportunity to bring together the aims and activities of the internal and external aspects of counter-terrorism in the EU. The UK endorses the draft implementation plan and is pleased to note that our comments have been incorporated into the revised document. In both of these initiatives the UK has stressed that national security is a member state competence.
Under any other business there will be a presentation by the Commission on the illicit trafficking of firearms. The Council will also be updated on the European border surveillance system (EUROSUR) regulation, Schengen governance proposals and the EU Visa Regulation (539).
The justice day will begin with a state of play update and an orientation debate on the proposed draft directive creating minimum standards on the freezing and confiscation of proceeds of crime. The aim of the directive is to establish minimum standards in the freezing and confiscation of the proceeds and instrumentalities of crime in the EU. The proposed directive was last discussed at Council level at the informal meeting in July. The UK has not opted in to the proposed directive but will look to engage in the negotiations with a view to considering opting in at the post-adoption stage. The Cypriot presidency are committed to making substantial progress on the directive during their presidency.
The presidency will provide a state of play update which will be followed by an orientation debate on the proposal on criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation. The aims of the proposal are to establish minimum EU rules concerning the definition of criminal offences of market abuse—namely, insider dealing and market manipulation. The directive also seeks to complement the broader framework for tackling market abuse, which is provided for in the larger accompanying market abuse regulation. A partial general approach was agreed at the April JHA Council earlier this year. The UK has not opted in to this directive.
The Commission will be making a presentation on its proposed directive on the protection of the financial interests of the EU by criminal law (“the PFI directive”) which it published in 23 July this year. The draft directive would repeal and replace the existing EU convention and protocols on protection of financial interests (PFI). It proposes measures that aim to improve the equivalence and effectiveness of protection of the EU’s financial interests by criminal law sanctions.
A state of play report will also be given on the proposed regulation on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free flow of such data. The Commission published new legislative proposals for data protection in January which consist of a regulation and a directive. The proposed regulation will set out a general EU framework for data protection which would replace the existing Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). This was last discussed at this level at the July informal Council.
Under non-legislative items the presidency will also be discussing the recommendations on the fifth report on mutual evaluations on financial crime and financial investigations. The report forms the latest of a series of mutual evaluations of how member states have carried out their obligations in the fight against organised crime.
Also under non-legislative items there will be a presentation on the state of the drug problem in Europe by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
Northern Ireland (Threat Level)
Today the Security Service reduced the threat level to Great Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism from substantial to moderate. This means that a terrorist attack is possible, but not likely.
The threat level to the UK from international terrorism remains at substantial, which means that an attack is a strong possibility. The threat level to Northern Ireland from Northern Ireland-related terrorism remains at severe, meaning that an attack is highly likely. Neither of these two levels has changed.
Despite the change which has been made today, there remains a real and serious threat against the United Kingdom from terrorism and I would ask the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police.
The decision to change this threat level is taken by the Security Service independently of Ministers and is based on the very latest intelligence, considering factors such as capability, intent and time scale. Threat levels are kept under constant review.
College of Policing
In July I set out further information about the establishment of a professional body for policing, the College of Policing.
I can now update the House with progress on its establishment.
I am very pleased to announce my intention to appoint Alex Marshall as chief executive officer of the college. As chief constable of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Alex has overseen four consecutive years of crime reduction, rolled-out mobile data terminals to front-line officers and delivered around £40 million in savings. He has also maintained the numbers of police officers and police staff in visible local policing roles across Hampshire. Alex has also played a pivotal role in the formation of the national police air service which became operational earlier this month.
My Department has now legally incorporated a company limited by guarantee under the name “College of Policing Limited”. The college will become operational in December 2012. The college will be established on a statutory basis as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Creation of the College of Policing represents the final stage of the commitment to close the National Policing Improvement Agency by the end of 2012