Select Committee on Defence Seventh Report


115. The explanatory notes on the draft bill refer to some additional costs falling on HM Customs and Excise in respect of new controls, suggesting that they are to be the enforcement authority.[188] The RIA refers to Customs and excise as being "mainly" responsible, noting that the police would have some enforcement responsibilities on intangible transfers".[189] The additional costs foreseen for Customs arise mainly from controls on trafficking and brokering enforcement.[190] The Secretary of State was confident that no further enforcement powers would be needed.[191] It is however likely that the new controls sought will need extensive use of existing powers, in particular on interception of electronic communications, and based on past experience not improbable that the law enforcement authorities will seek additional or amended powers.

116. Clause 7(1)(d) of the Bill provides that secondary legislation under the Bill may create offences with a maximum penalty of ten years, compared to the current maximum of seven years. Lord Scott drew our attention to his doubts as to who the enforcement agency would be for the new controls on transfers and other transactions, since Clause 9(4) provides that the Act is to be a Customs Act only as regards export controls. [192] We recommend that clarification be provided to the House on the identity of the enforcement agency for transfer and other controls to be introduced by the Bill, and some explanation of the practical significance of the legal provisions to be made.

188  Cm 5091, page 45, para 54 Back

189  ibid, page 34, para 9 Back

190  ibid, page 32, para 5 Back

191  Qq256-8 Back

192  Qq 177-8 Back

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