§ 8.6 p.m.
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 5th June be approved [22nd Report from the Joint Committee].
89 The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St Johns, for indicating that she would appreciate it if I opened this matter slightly more fully than I would normally. I hope I will be able to deal with many of the issues that concern her, which she has been kind enough to indicate to me.
The purpose of this draft Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Juxtaposed Controls) Order is to give effect to the treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the French Republic concerning the implementation of frontier controls at sea ports of both countries on the Channel and North Sea. The treaty was signed at Le Touquet on 4th February and a copy was laid before Parliament on 3rd June.
The treaty is one element of an overall strategy agreed with the French Government to assist in reducing cross-channel illegal immigration, and to tackle the wider problems of illegal immigration flows across Europe. This strategy included the closure last December of the Red Cross centre at Sangatte.
The draft order is made in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 141 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. That section enables the Secretary of State, by order, to give effect to an international agreement which concerns immigration control at an EEA port. The ports which are to be designated initially for that purpose are Dover, Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne.
Establishing juxtaposed immigration controls at those ports will mean that French officers will exercise immigration control at Dover, and that UK immigration officers will exercise immigration control in Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne. The draft order provides the necessary powers for the French and UK officers in question to operate in the territory of the other.
At present the UK already operates juxtaposed frontier controls at four locations in France—the Eurotunnel site at Coquelles, and the three main Eurostar stations, Paris Gare du Nord, Lille Europe and Calais Frethun. The French authorities operate reciprocal controls at Cheriton and Waterloo and will soon commence operations at Ashford International. The controls are provided for under the Channel Tunnel Act 1987 and associated subordinate legislation.
On 12th July 2002, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary agreed with the French Interior Minister to establish juxtaposed controls at Calais and Dover to assist in reducing cross-Channel illegal immigration. It was subsequently agreed to include Dunkirk and Boulogne, as ferry services also arrive in Dover from those ports. Unlike the juxtaposed controls on the shuttle trains between Cheriton and Coquelles, which apply to Customs and police checks as well as immigration control, the proposed arrangements for Dover and Calais apply only to immigration control. That is similar to the position on Eurostar trains between Waterloo and Paris.
90 The existing juxtaposed controls have proved successful in helping to reduce illegal immigration to the United Kingdom. For example, the introduction of juxtaposed controls on Eurostar services has reduced by approximately 90 per cent the large number of inadequately documented passengers arriving at Waterloo. Establishing juxtaposed immigration control will reduce the numbers of inadequately documented passengers arriving at Dover. That should result in a significant reduction in public spending.
Section 141(5) of the NIA Act requires us to consult before making an order, and we have done so. A phased consultation process began on 16th August 2002, when an informal consultation letter was sent to a wide range of parties seeking their views on the Government's proposals. That was followed by a formal consultation paper in November 2002. The responses were brought together in a report issued in March this year. That was followed by further consultations with affected parties on the Government's approach on how the French authorities—the Police aux Frontieres (PAF)—will be provided with essential facilities in Dover. The views of all the consultees have been examined and taken into account in the draft of the order now before your Lordships.
Part 1 of the draft order concerns definitions and commencement. With the exception of Article 10, the order comes into force on the date when the treaty enters into force. That will be after the completion of ratification procedures by both states. Article 10, which allows the Secretary of State to require a manager of a designated port in the United Kingdom to provide accommodation and other facilities for the use of French officers, comes into force on the day after the order is made. That is so that we can ensure that the facilities required by the French authorities are available as soon as the treaty enters into force.
A regulatory impact assessment setting out the costs of establishing a juxtaposed control at Dover, which would fall to Dover Harbour Board under the arrangements, has been prepared and lodged in the Library. We firmly believe that direct costs associated with the introduction of juxtaposed controls and provision of facilities for the PAF do not exceed £260,000.
Part 2 of the draft order relates to what will happen in Dover, in that it is about the exercise of immigration control by French officers in a control zone in the United Kingdom. Such officers are permitted to carry out their functions in such a control zone, including arresting and detaining those who are being examined for the purposes of immigration control. It will be an offence to obstruct, without reasonable excuse, such an officer when carrying out his functions. A French officer will not be liable to prosecution in the United Kingdom for an offence committed in the exercise of his functions in a control zone. A claim for compensation by, or against, such an officer will be subject to French law.
A French officer is permitted to carry a firearm while exercising his functions in a control zone. The carriage of firearms is to be regulated by a separate 91 firearms agreement which is presently being negotiated with the French authorities. Certain provisions of UK law will no longer apply in the French control zone at Dover.
Part 3 of the draft order relates to what will happen in Calais and the other French ports, in that it is about the exercise of immigration control by UK immigration officers in a control zone in France. The draft order applies the usual immigration controls to the control zone. Part 3 also allows UK police to operate in support of immigration officers in the control zone. The enactments extended by Article 11 to such a control zone include the Immigration Act 1971, and Schedules 7, 8 and 14 to the Terrorism Act 2000, which relate to port controls, with the modifications set out in Schedule 2. It is essential that immigration officers have all their usual powers under the provisions of the Terrorism Act 2000 because a significant part of immigration control relates to preventing persons who may be a risk to national security entering the UK.
A number of criminal offences, principally under the Immigration Act 1971, are extended to a control zone in France under Part 3. In addition, the criminal law is extended to such a control zone in relation to things done by an immigration officer or a constable in the exercise of his functions and in relation to the protection of such officers and their property. An immigration officer may exercise his usual powers of arrest, search and seizure in a control zone in France and may request the assistance of a constable when so doing. A constable may also exercise a power of arrest under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in respect of any offence extended by the order to such a control zone. All that is provided for in the treaty to which this draft order gives effect.
Juxtaposed controls are an essential element in our overall strategy for tackling illegal immigration, and I commend the order to the House.
Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 5th June be approved [22nd Report from the Joint Committee].—(Baroness Scotland of Asthal.)
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Baroness Anelay of St Johns
My Lords, again, I thank the Minister for giving a full and helpful description of the order, which, in many respects, is significant. During our debates when the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act went through this House last year, we made it clear that we strongly support the principle of co-operation over border controls in trying to tackle the problems of illegal immigration. We recognise that juxtaposed controls are an important weapon in the Government's armoury against such illegal immigration.
As ever, the devil is in the detail in relation to how co-operation can be achieved. Therefore, as the Minister has already said, I gave her advance notice of most of the questions that I shall ask. One or two further questions arose subsequently as a result of the fact that the Printed Paper Office was able to find some 92 of the papers that were hidden away in the cellars here rather than on display. Therefore, I was able to mention those questions to the noble Baroness informally a little in advance of tonight's debate.
The schedule to the order lists Dover as the only UK port and the French ports as Calais, Boulogne and Dunkirk. If the number of ports to be covered is extended at a later date, can the Minister tell us whether we shall have another order seeking permission to make that extension, or does this order give the Government the power to go ahead and extend it to other ports or areas at will in the future?
The Explanatory Memorandum explains that the area comprising the control zone has been confirmed through the exchange of diplomatic notes between the two countries and that a copy can be obtained by writing to the address at the end of the notes. I must admit that I did not settle down with great enjoyment, as one does, to look through all the papers on this order until Saturday morning as part of my usual weekend work on orders. Therefore, it was a trifle late for me to write to the address at the bottom of the order. Today, I immediately contacted both the Printed Paper Office and the Library, but neither has been able to track down a copy of the boundaries.
Of course, the answer may be very simple. In respect of Dover, can the Minister tell us whether the control zone covers simply the area of the port delineated by the barbed wire security fences or is a larger area covered? It is very important for the public to know that because, as the noble Baroness has explained, French police are to be given the power to carry guns in that area, arrest people, question them and, indeed, then to be free from prosecution for any offence they commit in the pursuit of their functions. Anyone who suffers damage will have to sue for compensation in France.
Under the existing juxtaposed controls at Cheriton and Waterloo, do the French police there already have the right to carry guns and presumably use them if they are carrying them? During the passage of the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill in this House, the Minister the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, was resolute in saying that that Bill—I appreciate that it is a different Bill from the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill—would not in any circumstances permit foreign police officers to carry guns within the United Kingdom. On Report, we tabled a completely probing amendment in order genuinely to try to assist the Government on that occasion because we could see some circumstances in which the safety of foreign officers might indeed be compromised if they were not able to carry guns, which they normally did in the course of their duties. However, we stuck to our overall view that, if at all possible, we did not want foreign officers to carry guns in this country.
On 29th January—I had given this quotation to the noble Baroness's office—the Minister said:I shall labour the next point because it is germane. Foreign officers may not carry their firearms. They will be prohibited from bringing their guns into the United Kingdom".—[Official Report, 29/3/03; col. 199.]93 On Report, he amplified that a little by stating at col. 658:The law at present makes it illegal for anyone to bring a firearm into the UK without the authority of the Home Secretary and an import licence from the DTI".—[Official Report, 3/3/03; col. 658.]I understood from the noble Baroness's explanation that that is now a case for negotiation between the two governments and that there will be an agreement with the French authorities that would appear to overturn existing British law. I believe that that explanation will be the response to the question that I put to the noble Baroness's office. It has rather thrown me because I am afraid that I now have to ask a further question. Does an agreement with a foreign government automatically overturn British law in this respect or do we have to change existing law on the carriage of firearms in this country?
The Minister referred to the fact that there is immunity from prosecution. Paragraph 6 states:An officer belonging to the French Republic shall not be prosecuted for any offence committed in the exercise of his functions in a Control Zone in the United Kingdom".It goes on to say that if you suffer damage, you must go to the French courts to get compensation. I was intrigued by that because it is a different approach from that which the Government adopted in the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill, which is now being considered in another place. In that Bill, very sensibly, the Government differentiated between lawful and unlawful acts committed by an officer in the course of duty. However, this order refers to all acts—presumably unlawful or lawful.
In my view, the proper approach was; adopted in Clauses 82 and 84 of the Crime (International Cooperation) Bill. Under Clause 84, if the foreign officer committed an unlawful act in the pursuit of his duties, the person who suffered damage here could seek compensation in the United Kingdom court system. On the other hand, if—and only if—the foreign officer committed a lawful act that caused damage in the pursuit of his duties, the UK citizen would have to seek compensation in France.
This order pursues a different approach, saying that no matter what the basis on which the act was committed, if someone suffered damage, that person would have to go to France to seek compensation. That seems a harsh way in which to deal with it. What were the Government's reasons for adopting these different approaches in legislation in the same year?
The noble Baroness referred to provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act with regard to taking persons into custody at Boulogne and Calais. I am curious about the procedure that would be followed when a French officer here detains someone. While detained in the UK control zone in Dover, will that person have the same access to the safeguards of PACE as they would if they had been arrested outside the control zone in the United Kingdom? Will they have an automatic right to legal advice under PACE? Will its provisions regarding bail apply to them?
94 The Printed Paper Office managed to find me the supplementary consultation document of March 2003. Given its length, I have only managed to skim read it. With regard to matters of detention, it states at page 5 that:it is anticipated that police au frontiere requirements at Dover will not be extensive. They will not for example require a holding room or any detention facilities".I am confused by that, because the order specifically refers to detention. The consultation document goes on to say that,the UK immigration service believes that the site of a former check-in area will be suitable".I wonder whether the Government have thought again, in the light of responses to the consultation document, and whether proper detention facilities are being made available.
To return to the case of the arrest of a French officer. Article 7.2 of the treaty states that,when the French officer is taken to a police station after committing the offence, it is the custody officer who takes the decision as to whether the offence has been committed whilst in the exercise of his functions".I wonder why the Government have decided that a custody officer would be of a suitable grade. I mean no insult to custody officers, but this is a very sensitive decision. If ever such an event happened—and we hope it never would—it could be a diplomatic matter. I am a little concerned about a custody officer being involved, and I wonder whether an officer of higher rank ought not to be called in.
Finally, I turn to something totally different, of which I have given advance notice. I want to ask a question and hope that the Minister will simply say, "No, it will not happen. Don't worry. Go home quietly and peacefully.". I want to refer to paragraph 4 relating to the powers of arrest and detention by French officers. It states that they,may arrest and hold for questioning in a Control Zone in the United Kingdom a person who is being examined for the purposes of immigration control".Once that person is being held for that purpose, will the French officer be able to serve a European arrest warrant on him if one has been issued and if the police officer is aware of that?
The Minister will be aware to her cost that a promotion to Minister of State has brought upon her heavy responsibilities because from tomorrow she is taking through the Extradition Bill in addition to everything else. She will understand that it is on my mind as to whether the power we are giving in this order to a French officer in relation to immigration matters might, by "ambition creep" be used for something else. I hope that the Minister will be able to say that in no circumstances will the French officer be able to serve the European arrest warrant on the person he is detaining on immigration matters.
§ Lord Avebury
My Lords, I echo the thanks expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, to the Minister for the careful and thorough explanation she has given of the import of this order. I want to add to the list of complaints the noble Baroness made 95 regarding the documentation. When I went home expecting to work on the order I accessed the website to look for the regulations but they were not there. I sent an e-mail to HMSO, which told me that it was no part of its duties to put draft statutory instruments on to the website. I would like the Government to pay attention to that as a general issue, not just on this occasion, and ensure that a statutory instrument that is being considered in your Lordships' House or another place must be on the website at the same time as it appears in the Printed Paper Office. That should apply to any documentation that comes before Parliament.
We on these Benches are concerned by some of the implications of juxtaposed controls which deal with the adequacy of a person's documentation rather than the merits of his claim. As the Minister must acknowledge, many of the people ultimately granted asylum in the UK, whether on first application or on appeal, arrived here with false or inadequate documentation because dictators are not in the habit of facilitating travel arrangements by their opponents. We have made it progressively more difficult for asylum seekers to come here legally; for instance, by imposing visa requirements on all major refugee-producing countries and by making carriers liable to fines in respect of passengers who are refused entry. Therefore, it is inevitable that most people who come here seeking asylum will be travelling on inadequate or false documentation.
As the Minister explained, the extension of juxtaposed controls from Eurostar to the ports was part of the package which was agreed between the Home Secretary and his French opposite number, Mr Sarkozy, last July, which included the closure of Sangatte. I would point out that the UK recognised that 1,000 Iraqis and 200 Afghans from Sangatte had legitimate protection needs and, in the case of the Afghans, close family ties with the UK. So the implication is that many of the people who will be stopped by the juxtaposed controls would have had good grounds for a claim to asylum if they had been able to present that claim in the UK.
The Home Office, in its report on the juxtaposed controls consultation process sent under cover of a letter from Mrs Barbara Wilson of the UK Immigration Service, denies that the controls will affect the UK's commitment to the international protection regime. It states that the UK has no obligation under the convention to consider applications for asylum which are not made from within the country or at ports of entry.
The Home Office also claims that there is international acceptance of the asylum seeker's obligation to claim asylum in the first safe country she reaches. I differ from that because, as the Minister may be aware, a Lisbon meeting of experts, convened under the auspices of the UNHCR and the Migration Policy Institute last December, referred to a decision of the UNHCR's executive committee in 1979, which said the precise opposite—that there was no obligation to claim asylum in the first country that somebody 96 reached. Since the UK is a member of the executive committee of UNHCR, the Government must have been a party to that decision.
The Lisbon meeting acknowledged that an applicant's right to claim asylum in the country of her choice was not unfettered, but that her intention should be "taken into account". That is in paragraph 11 of the decision. The arrangements, they said, should take account of family connections and other close ties between an asylum seeker and a particular country. That is reflected in the so-called Dublin Two European Council Regulation, which establishes the criteria and mechanisms for,determining the member state responsible for examining asylum applications lodged in one of the member states by a third country national".That provides that where the applicant has a family member who is a refugee in a member state, or who has applied for asylum in a member state, that member state should be responsible for examining her application.
The definition of "family member" is confined to spouse or unmarried partner, unmarried minor children, and parent or guardian, where the applicant is a minor and unmarried. However, under Article 15,family members, as well as other dependent relatives,may be brought together,on humanitarian grounds based in particular on family or cultural considerations.Is the term "family members" to be construed more widely than this article, and would the term "dependent relative" include a sibling, parent or cousin, particularly one who is physically or mentally disabled, and in the care of the first asylum seeker?
How do the arrangements proposed in the order comply with European law? There is no reference to the Council regulation, nor is any separate provision made for persons who claim that they have a family member in the United Kingdom. All those who present themselves to an immigration officer in Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne, and who have incorrect documentation, or who are ineligible under the immigration rules, are to be handed over to the French authorities.
I shall take as an example the case of a Zimbabwean, Mr Moyo, travelling on a valid Zimbabwe passport, who arrives to board a ferry in Boulogne. He is refused on the grounds that he does not have a visa, and he then says that he is intending to join his wife in the United Kingdom, and that she has already claimed asylum there. Would the Minister please explain what happens next? Is he handed over to the French authorities, or does the European directive take precedence, and is he to be given the consideration that is allowed for persons who have close relatives in the United Kingdom?
One of the conditions of an effective European asylum system, under which responsibility is equitably shared between member states, is that not only are procedures for determining asylum claims harmonised, but the delays to the right to work and the support offered to claimants is no better or worse in 97 one country than another. We have rightly been successful in speeding up the evaluation of asylum claims, but the result is that claims are considered faster in this country than they are in France. The Refugee Council has said that, according to French non-governmental organisations, the delays in access to the French asylum system mean that claimants there may be destitute for 10 months, and that because of accommodation shortages 15,000 asylum seekers are homeless. Support for those living independently is capped at one year, although asylum procedures often take much longer.
Those are the reasons why some people might wish to come to the United Kingdom rather than to remain in France. I point that out because many people talk about the pull factor of better conditions in the United Kingdom for asylum seekers, without at the same time underlining the fact that the conditions in France may not be as good as we would like them. That is one of the necessities of the juxtaposed controls—to try to align the conditions in both countries.
I accept that juxtaposed controls are here to stay; inevitably, they will have to be extended as asylum seekers and economic migrants look for other routes. In the case of the Channel Tunnel, they have already done so. The 90 per cent reduction mentioned by the noble Baroness was accompanied by an increase in the number of people attempting to gain entry to the United Kingdom by ferry. That is why the order is before us.
That makes it all the more essential that we do not just stop up every means of entry to the UK for genuine asylum seekers, leaving the rest of Europe to look after them all, even those whose natural destination is Britain. Britain should also be taking a leading role in the development of a common European asylum policy, similar procedures for dealing with claims and comparable systems of support for asylum seekers. Only then will it be morally legitimate for us to extend juxtaposed controls, as we are doing under the order.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
My Lords, I shall now try to answer as many as possible of the questions asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. I may have a bit of a challenge, but I shall try to cover them all. First, in answer to some of the questions of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, his description of the Government's current position as to a claim being made in the first country of arrival not affecting our commitment to the 1951 convention, and so on, is indeed an accurate reflection.
The noble Lord will also know that we have pushed hard for an EU position on asylum. The Commission has considered our proposals; it has said that they are sound and addressing the right issue. The UNHCR has been supportive of them. I accept what he said about the need for a more holistic European response that will be able to manage the whole migration issue in a more attractive and effective way in the long term. We are indeed considering the difficulties faced by 98 source countries from which many applicants flee—what we can do together in Europe to be supportive—as well as seeking to improve our internal structures, one being the juxtaposition that we are now debating, in this country. We must consider all three steps as an integrated, balanced response to what I entirely accept is a most pressing problem, and one with global implications.
Having said that as a broad response to one of the questions asked by the noble Lord, I shall now deal with the detailed questions asked by the noble Baroness. She asked about extending the order to other ports. Perhaps I can reassure her that, if it proves necessary to apply this procedure to any other port, an appropriate order will be brought before the House and she, as well as other noble Lords, will be able to comment on it, as she can today.
On the question about the control zone, it is the area within a port designated in Schedule 1 to the order within which officers of the state of arrival are authorised to carry out immigration controls under the treaty. In Dover, that will be the area within which the Police aux Frontieres officers will be able to exercise their immigration controls and powers. The UK Immigration Service is still discussing the control zone with the PAF. We intend to place a map of the control zones in the Libraries of both Houses when the order is made. I hope to be able to do that. I cannot remember whether the noble Baroness asked whether the control zone incorporates port property; the control zone at Dover will only incorporate port property.
The noble Baroness pressed me on whether PAF officers would be liable to carry firearms and. if they did, what sort of controls would be imposed on them. PAF officers would be able to carry guns at Dover. This arrangement has long existed at other juxtaposed controls in the UK, at Waterloo, Ashford and Cheriton. As is the case at these railway terminals, the carriage and use of any firearms will be strictly regulated by a bilateral agreement. The terms of the Dover agreement are still being negotiated, but will be similar to those in the firearms treaty for Waterloo concluded on 4th February 2003. The changes that will be made on the position will flow from the passing of the order.
In relation to the comments made by my noble friend Lord Filkin, in response to the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill, there is a difference between the context in which the two should be seen. The noble Lord has given assurances during the various stages of progress on that Bill that French officers entering the UK involved in urgent border surveillance operations will not, as the noble Lord right says, be automatically allowed to carry firearms.
Juxtaposed control is entirely different. I am not aware of any assurance that my noble friend Lord Filkin, or any noble Lord from this side of the House, made about that during the passage of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The French officers involved will not be actively following a suspect into the United Kingdom, but will be 99 working in a defined, controlled zone. French officers at juxtaposed controls in the UK at Waterloo and Cheriton have been able to carry firearms for two years, and firearms are part of their uniform. The current treaty has followed this pattern. The order reflects that they should be allowed to do so within a defined, controlled zone. There has never been an incident of a French officer discharging a firearm at any juxtaposed controls in the UK.
The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay of St. Johns, also asked whether the treaty extends to other frontier controls and what parliamentary scrutiny there will be. I think that I have dealt with that to her satisfaction—I see her nodding.
Under the treaty, a person can only be detained in the control zone for 24 hours, or exceptionally for 48 hours, by a French or UK officer in their respective control zone. This mirrors the provisions of the Sangatte protocol, which contains the same time limits for detention by the French at Cheriton and by the UK officers in Coquelles. It is envisaged that the French will only detain for the purposes of questioning, and either escort the person to France—for example, if they have committed an offence under French law as it applies in the control zone—or hand them over to UK authorities if they have refused to enter France. Where, unusually, the French need to detain someone for any length of time, for example overnight, they will ask the British police to do it for them. That is referred to in Article 5 of the draft order. I invite the noble Baroness to look at it. The person would be detained in the police station. PACE would apply, including the right to seek legal advice under Section 58 of PACE, but they would have to be handed back to the French within the deadlines fixed by the treaty; 24 hours, or, exceptionally, 48 hours. The French would be required to release them at the end of that period if they were still in the UK.
Where the British police arrest and detain in Calais, the place where a person is detained is treated as a police station for the purposes of PACE, which is in Article 14(2) of the draft order. Where the French arrest a person in the control zone of the UK, it would be unnecessary for them to obtain a European arrest warrant to extradite the person back to France. The powers in the treaty avoid the need for that by allowing the French—
§ Baroness Anelay of St Johns
My Lords, I apologise for interrupting the Minister when she is being so helpful. I think that the way in which I phrased my last question was not as clear as it might have been.
The circumstance that I am thinking of is disjunctive, rather than conjunctive. A French police officer may have detained somebody for questioning in connection with an immigration offence and, quite separately, be aware that that person is subject to an existing European arrest warrant because, in the period that the Minister mentioned—24 hours—the French authorities may have made that fact known to the French police officer. It is a matter of the powers of the French police officer at that moment.
100 In raising the issue, I must say that I would be happy for the Minister to write to me on it. It is a complex matter. At that moment, while the French police officer is carrying out his duties in respect of immigration matters, does he have the right to exercise a European arrest warrant, if one is already extant? I do not expect him to ask for one, but, if one is extant, can he apply it? I am happy for the noble Baroness to write to me, if that is more helpful.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
My Lords, I shall certainly write to the noble Baroness. My initial reaction is that any officer in that situation, if he were dealing with an arrestable offence, would be entitled to take the person back on that basis and would not have to exercise the European arrest warrant. However, I am thinking on my feet. I shall write to the noble Baroness to make sure that my initial gut reaction—if I can put it colloquially—is correct.
The noble Baroness asked what we would do if a French officer acted unlawfully in the exercise of his duty. Article 8 of the order gives effect to Article 14, sub-paragraph (2), of the treaty. It is in line with the position on the Channel Tunnel juxtaposition controls under Article 30 of the Sangatte protocol to the Treaty of Canterbury. In the same way, United Kingdom courts have jurisdiction over the actions of a UK officer acting in the course of his duties in a control zone in France. It is natural for UK officers to be subject to the scrutiny of UK courts in the exercise of their duties, and the same applies to French officers and French courts. We have parity of treatment, which was the basis on which the treaty was agreed. It appears to have worked well and without difficulty, and we do not anticipate that it will cause us any anxiety or difficulty.
The noble Baroness said that, if someone suffered damage in any circumstances, they would have to go to France. That is not quite the position. People need to go through the French system only if the alleged abuse is committed by the PAF officer in the course of his duties. That is in Article 8(1) of the order.
I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, will feel that I have answered all his questions. I tried to answer them globally. If the noble Lord would feel easier if I answered them specifically in greater detail, I would be happy to do that. I see the noble Lord nodding, so I undertake to do that.
§ Baroness Scotland of Asthal
My Lords, I am being pulled in two directions. Either I can launch into an exposition of every matter raised by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, which would take me some time, or I can retire gracefully. With the greatest respect to my noble friend, I will do the latter.
On Question, Motion agreed to.