Clause 173 - Customs officers

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:15 pm ar 16 Ionawr 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Criminal Justice System IT) 3:15, 16 Ionawr 2003

I shall watch with great interest the campaign of the hon. Member for Surrey Heath to reduce the powers of the Treasury, something that successive generations of Ministers have tried to do. What is relevant is not so much the institution as the fact that it controls the money. The hon. Gentleman has embarked on a fairly hopeless exercise.

No one in the Committee quarrels with the purpose of the clause. In appropriate circumstances, Customs officers should be able to execute European arrest warrants. They should therefore be governed by the same procedures, and the people they arrest should be afforded the same protections, as those who are arrested by the police. The clause provides the legal basis in that respect.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether the Treasury, in some amorphous guise, or a Minister would make the order. The order will have to be laid by a Minister and it will be subject to a negative resolution.

The hon. Member for Torridge and West Devon asked about the rank, seniority and qualifications of the Customs officers. The Bill originally referred to role of inspector, which was not appropriate for Customs; it will be a rank of appropriate seniority for the job.

I hope that my reassurances will satisfy the Committee that the clause should stand part of the Bill.