Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Home Office (10 June 2002)
During my evidence before the House of Commons
Defence Select Committee I offered to provide supplemental evidence
to the Committee on several questions following the Ministerial
evidence hearing of 22 May 2002.
I enclose answers to the following questions
Q1409, Q1411, Q1418, Q1457 (includes the membership of DOP(IT)(T),
Q1471, Q1474, Q1485, Q1486 and the potential use of biometrics
to monitor passengers at airports.
The Home Secretary, who has ministerial responsibility
for counter terrorism in the UK, and his ministerial team spend
a considerable amount of time addressing a range of issues under
the broad heading of countering terrorism. It is difficult to
estimate exactly how long each of us spend on counter terrorism
issues in the average week, but I can assure you that both of
us give this area the highest priority at all times, and our immediate
attention should an incident arise.
Ministerial Group on Protective and Preventive
Securitycomposition and terms of reference.
Secretary of State for the Home Department (in
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and
Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government
and the Regions
Secretary of State for Health
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Secretary of State for Defence
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Minister of State, Home Office
The Director General of the Security Service
and the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers
will attend as required. The Secretary of State for Wales and
the Secretary of State for Scotland, or their representatives,
attend regularly. Other Ministers and the heads of the other Intelligence
Agencies will be invited to attend as necessary.
"To keep under review the Government's
policy on preventive and precautionary security measures to counter
the threat of terrorism in the United Kingdom and to British interests
overseas; and to report to the Sub-Committee on International
Terrorism as appropriate."
Provided by the Defence and Overseas Secretariat.
Part 2 of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security
(ATCS) Act contains measures to allow the UK to take action to
freeze the assets of overseas persons, or governments, who are
threatening the economic interests of the UK or life and property
of UK nationals or residents. The provisions of the Act permit
the UK to impose sanctions in cases of urgency where neither the
UN nor EU has yet agreed a course of action, or in those instances
where it is appropriate for the UK to act unilaterally. [These
provisions replace section 2 of the Emergency Laws (Re-enactments
and repeals) Act 1964].
The freezing orders are not intended for frequent
use, and the numbers of orders made should not measure its usefulness.
At present, we are freezing the assets of terrorists
on international lists using our powers under UNSCR 1373, put
into effect in the UK by the Terrorism (United Kingdom Measures)
Order 2001. The restraint orders in part 1 of the ATCS may be
employed against individuals in the UK, but not against external
threats. UNSCR 1373 while allowing the UK to freeze the assets
of terrorists does not define terrorism, or allow for unilateral
action to be taken by the UK against groups or individuals not
on international lists.
There may be situations where neither of these
powers are applicable, for example where the UK sought to freeze
the assets of individuals within a foreign government taking action
against UK interests. Even if such actions could be classified
as acts of terrorism, the elected heads of government could not
be classed as terrorists.
Range of powers under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime
and Security Act 2001
Summary of Sunset Clauses the Anti-Terrorism,
Crime and Security Act 2001
1. Sunsets on Part 4Immigration and
Section 29 Duration of sections 21-23
The provisions in Part 4 have an overall sunset
clause of five years.
The power for this is contained in Section 29
(7) and states that three sections (sections 21 (Suspected international
terrorist: certification), 22 (Deportation and removal), and 23
"... shall by virtue of this subsection
cease to have effect at the end of 10 November 2006."
However, five years is the maximum period that
the provisions in the section can be invoked, so within this period,
and subject to the provisions of section 29, there are interim
provisions for expiry and renewal for these same sections:
Section 29 (1) states that sections
21 to 23 will, subject to the further provisions of the same section,
expire at the end of the period of 15 months from the date of
Royal Assent (effectively 14 March 2003)
The other provisions in the section
are contained in subsection (2) and allow the Secretary of State
to use an order to:
repeal sections 21 to 23;
revive those sections for a period
not exceeding one year; and
provide that those sections shall
not expire in accordance with subsection (1) or an order under
paragraph (b) or this paragraph, but shall continue in force for
a period not exceeding one year.
2. Other Sunset Provisions
2.1 Part 14Supplemental
Section 123 Effect of report
Section 123 (1) states that the report finalised
by the Committee of Privy Counsellors may specify any provision
of the Act as one to which section 123 (2) applies.
In section 123 (2), this effectively means that
any provision specified as above ceases to have effect at the
end of the period of six months beginning with the day on which
the report is laid before Parliament.
This, however, is countered by section 123(3)
in that subsection (2) does not apply if a motion has been made
in each House of Parliament considering the report before the
end of that six month period.
2.2 Part 11Retention of Communications
Section 105 Lapsing of powers in section 104
Section 105 (1): Section 104 (Directions about
retention of communications data) lapses at the end of the initial
period unless an order authorising the giving of directions is
made under that section before the end of that period.
The initial period is the period of two years
beginning with the day on which the Act is passed (effectively
14 December 2003).
The initial period can be extended on one or
more occasions by the Secretary of State by affirmative order.
Any such order would need to be made before the end of the initial
Organisation challenging proscription under Schedule
2 of the Terrorism Act 2000
21 international organisations were added to
Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in March 2001.
The Terrorism Act 2000 provides a mechanism
by which a proscribed organisation, or any person affected by
the proscription of an organisation, may make application to the
Secretary of State for de-proscription at any time. So far five
organisations have appealed to the Home Secretary for de-proscription.
All the applications were rejected.
The Act also provides for an appeal to the independent
tribunal, the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission (POAC).
Three organisations have applied to the POAC. These cases are
ongoing. The Commission considers any refusals to de-proscribe
in the light of judicial review principles.
Provision is also made for further appeal following
a decision of the Commission on a question of law.
QUESTION 1471, 1474
The Civil Contingencies Committee's (CCC) terms
of reference are:
"To co-ordinate the preparation of plans
for ensuring in an emergency the supplies and services essential
to the life of the community; to keep these plans under regular
review; to supervise their prompt and effective implementation
in specific emergencies; and to report as necessary to the appropriate
The Home Secretary, who is the only formal member
of the Committee, chairs the Civil Contingencies Committee (CCC).
Attendance at meetings of CCC is determined by the subjects under
discussion and would normally include Cabinet Ministers, the Security
Service, Devolved Administrations, and Presidents of the emergency
service associations and others as necessary.
I attach as an Annex (Annex B) a copy of the
Home Secretary's letter to MPs of 9 November 2001 informing them
of the committee structure of the Civil Contingencies Committee,
and its sub-committees, for background information.
Interoperability of Emergency Services Communications
In their Questions 1471 and 1474 Mr Cran and
Mr Howarth respectively asked for further information on the time-scale
for the procurement of compatible communications equipment for
the Emergency Services.
The primary emergency services have different
requirements for interoperability; this a direct reflection of
their differing command and control arrangements. The police force
needs a system that allows police officers at all levels to communicate
with one another. The ambulance service requirement focuses on
communication between the radio control room and the ambulance
fleet and hospitals. The fire service system connects the officer
in charge of a fire engine with the control room.
The Police Service has adopted a single system,
"Airwave". The provider of that service is O2 and roll
out has already begun. Five forces have reached Ready For Service
(RFS) dates. Ready for Service is the point at which the Airwave
infrastructure is completely installed and the force is ready
to migrate, usually over several months, to full operational working.
This is a large and very complex programme and
the Committee may find it helpful to note the process that has
to be completed before a force reaches its Ready For Service date
and then full implementation. The key steps in the process are:
Selection of the sites for new masts,
site acquisition and obtaining planning permission before build.
Building the ground based network.
Commissioning sites and their integration
into O2's customer service department.
Testing the network for coverage
using a contractually agreed methodology.
Integrating the network, control
rooms and terminals and ensuring that business processes and people
are able to deliver the business benefits. This covers issues
such as following a managed installation programme to minimise
the time that police vehicles were off the road and training personnel
in the operation of the new system.
Each of these phases requires specialist staff.
The restrictions on access to land imposed during the foot and
mouth epidemic in 2001 (and which are crucial to locating new
masts) resulted in some delays to early roll-outs to forces.
A programme of this size and complexity is always
likely to be susceptible to unexpected problems of this nature.
But as more forces reach RFS dates and as experience of rolling
out AIRWAVE to more forces increases, then the probability of
delays from technical and business process problems will diminish.
The police service roll out of Airwave will
be completed before new systems are in place in the Fire Service
and the Ambulance Service. The Police Information Technology Organisation,
who handle the Airwave contract on behalf of the police service,
are currently working with O2 to agree the final detail of roll-out
to individual forces. Ministers will take the opportunity that
this offers to ensure that there is a robust, agreed plan which
can be met by both contractors and forces and which delivers the
Airwave system at the earliest date.
All forces (England, Wales and Scotland) are
likely to have reached Airwave RFS dates by (mid 2005 at the latest).
But it is important to note that the benefits of interoperability
can be achieved significantly before national roll-outs are complete,
ie if a police force and a fire service in the same area have
both moved to interoperable systems then those services can have
the benefits immediately. Given that the need for interoperability
will most commonly be for local or adjacent services, this is
an important consideration.
The Department of Health is planning to procure
a nationally managed digital radio network service for ambulance
services in England. The Department is awaiting confirmation from
the Devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales that they wish
to join in with this procurement. The Department took this approach
in order to:
avoid a series of separate local
ensure a common standard of communications
and the same technical solution across all 32 NHS Ambulance Trusts;
ensure appropriate interoperability
with other public safety/emergency services.
In order to comply with European Public Procurement
legislation, it will be necessary for the Department to undertake
a competitive procurement process. It cannot be assumed that procurement
of the Police system, Airwave, will be the eventual outcome though
the system ordered will be compatible with it.
The procurement schedule is currently:
July 2002: Official Journal of the
European Community (OJEC) advert to be placed for the procurement
of a single national radio network for NHS ambulance services.
December 2002formal invitation
to tender to be issued.
September 2003: contract for this
new service to be put in place and first pilot to be implemented.
Between January 2004 and December
2005: new service to be rolled out.
By 2008: all NHS Ambulance Trusts
to have moved across to the new service.
The Committee may be aware that the former Fire
Service Minister, Alan Whitehead, announced on 7 May 2002 the
government's intention to procure a national radio communications
system for the Fire Service in England and Wales which would meet
the interoperability requirement already agreed by the primary
emergency services. That announcement also made clear that the
Government would fund a new national competition to supply the
equipment and that work on that would start immediately.
The current procurement schedule is:
December 2002: OJEC advert to be
placed for a single radio network.
April 2004: contract awarded.
Early 2005: begin to roll out to
2007: completion of roll out.
The Fire Service central Firelink team are carrying
out a risk assessment in the context of maintaining existing equipment
and considering options available for providing interoperability
in the interim.
Ministers have looked very carefully at the
issue of interoperability of the emergency services' communications
equipment. On the basis of expert advice on the legal, procurement
and technical issues, Ministers concluded that the earliest practicable
date for achieving interoperability across all services and the
entire country was 2007-8. Naturally, they would wish that this
date could be brought forward but they have had to recognise the
impossibility of short-circuiting the processes necessary to conduct
Work to meet the government's aim of achieving
interoperability will continue to be co-ordinated by the Civil
Contingencies Secretariat and closely monitored by the UK Resilience
Sub Committee (of the Civil Contingencies Committee) under the
Chairmanship of the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Right
Honourable Lord Macdonald of Tradeston, CBE.
Government's plans to make British Passport better
protected against fraud including by the use of biometrics
The UK Passport Service's efforts to combat
passport fraud are directed at identifying fraudulent applications
through effective authentication techniques, improved data management
and protecting the passport document through advanced security
The British digital passport, around 12 million
of which have been produced since 1998, is one of the most secure
in the world. It contains a digital photograph and digital signature
of the holder, and the personal identification page is protected
by a clear plastic laminate incorporating a holographic device
which further protects the portrait. The personal identification
page is also protected by a series of laser perforations. The
use of special paper and printing techniques provide added security.
The digital passport is machine readable, and
complies with the International Civil Aviation Organisation Standard
(Doc 9303) for machine-readable travel documents, and the specification
for passports of the Council of the European Union.
As indicated in the UKPS Corporate and Business
Plans 2002-07 the security features in the passport document remain
under continuing review in case a feature is compromised by the
fraudster. Studies are being undertaken of the use of biometrics
(fingerprint, iris, facial recognition) in passport books and
cards both to further enhance security and to prevent the issue
of multiple passports in the same identity.
The UKPS is keeping in close touch with work
being undertaken by ICAO post 11 September to develop an international
standard for the use of biometrics in passports; and will be attending
a major international conference in Holland in mid June to discuss
and share experience on the use of biometrics in passports, representatives
from the US Government will be attending the Conference to report
on the new US Government requirement for biometric information
in travel documents in order to benefit from the visa waiver arrangements.
We are also aware that the New Zealand and Australian passport
services are conducting tests on biometrics, and Australia is
committed to introducing a facial recognition biometric into their
passport in 2003.
As part of the UKPS's collaboration with DVLA
to develop a central identity database to support the concept
of an entitlement card, the UKPS has commissioned a study by Dr
Tony Mansfield of the National Physical laboratory on the application
of biometrics in an entitlement scheme. This study is primarily
aimed at identifying the issues arising from the use of biometrics
on a one to many basis against a national database to prevent
duplicate applications. This study will look at iris, fingerprint
and facial recognition templates.
As will be seen the UKPS are keeping abreast
of developments in the use of biometrics in travel documentation
but significant issues (capability, acceptability, legality and
technology, among others) remain to be resolved before they are
introduced. The UKPS firmly intends to introduce a card form of
the passport book within the next three years which will provide
a suitable platform for the storage of biometric data. In advance
of conclusions/decisions on the adoption of biometric information,
the UKPS has developed a reserve design for its digital passport
in case the security features are compromised.
Finally, in terms of strengthening its capability
to tackle identity fraud which is a key business priority, the
UKPS has in place a comprehensive fraud action plan. The key elements
of this plan are improved linkages with trusted databases in the
public/private sector, sharing of information with law enforcement
agencies, the creation of a lost and stolen passport database,
and a single global database of British passport issues worldwide,
and strengthened internal sampling audit procedures to continually
test systems and processes.
Plans to make Visas issued by the UK better protected
UKvisas, a joint Home Office and Foreign and
Commonwealth Office Department, is responsible for the issue of
all UK visas at diplomatic posts overseas. Visas are already issued
on specially designed vignettes that contain various security
features in a common European Union format.
A revised EU common format vignette is being
designed and should be brought into use at all our visa issuing
posts by April 2004. The new format will incorporate space for
a digital photograph of the applicant and the EU agreement is
for all common format vignettes to be issued with a printed photograph
within the next five years. UKvisas expects to implement this
change also by April 2004, three years ahead of the EU deadline.
UKvisas is also working on an IT modernisation
programme one feature of which will implement a central visa database
accessible by all our visa issuing posts and the Immigration and
Nationality Department of the Home Office. This will improve integrity
and reduce the possibility of "visa shopping".
Although there are currently no plans to use
a biometric such as fingerprints or iris scans as part of the
visa process, UKvisas is monitoring moves towards such use by
various authorities including the Immigration Service trial at