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Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 45 and 46:


Page 77, line 40, after ("1999") insert (", and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act,").
Page 77, line 42, after ("(7)") insert ("of that section and in that paragraph").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 116 [Other restrictions on assistance: England and Wales]:

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 47 and 48:


Page 78, line 6, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(4B) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of subsection (4A) as they apply for the purposes of that section, but for the references in subsections (5) and (7) of that section and in that paragraph to the Secretary of State substitute references to a local authority."").
Page 78, line 12, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(2B) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of subsection (2A) as they apply for the purposes of that section, but for the references in subsections (5) and (7) of that section and in that paragraph to the Secretary of State substitute references to a local social services authority."").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

2 Nov 1999 : Column 847

Clause 119 [Other restrictions on assistance: Scotland]:

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 49 to 54:


Page 79, line 41, after ("1999") insert (", and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act,").
Page 79, line 43, after ("(7)") insert ("of that section and in that paragraph").
Page 80, line 5, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(5) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of subsection (4) above as they apply for the purposes of that section, but for the references in subsections (5) and (7) of that section and in that paragraph to the Secretary of State substitute references to a local authority."").
Page 80, line 10, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(4) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of subsection (3) above as they apply for the purposes of that section, but for the references in subsections (5) and (7) of that section and in that paragraph to the Secretary of State substitute references to a local authority."").
Page 80, line 16, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(4) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of subsection (3) above as they apply for the purposes of that section, but for the references in subsection (5) and (7) of that section and in that paragraph to the Secretary of State substitute references to a local authority.").
Page 80, line 21, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(5) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of subsection (4) above as they apply for the purposes of that section, but for the references in subsection (5) and (7) of that section and in that paragraph to the Secretary of State substitute references to a local authority.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 120 [Other restrictions on assistance: Northern Ireland]:

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 55 to 57:


Page 80, line 29, at end insert ("solely--
(a) because he is destitute; or
(b) because of the physical effects, or anticipated physical effects, of his being destitute.
(3A) Subsections (3) and (5) to (8) of section 93 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act, apply for the purposes of paragraph (3) as they apply for the purposes of that

2 Nov 1999 : Column 848

section, but for the references in subsections (5) and (7) of that section and in paragraph 2 of that Schedule to the Secretary of State substitute references to the Department."").
Page 80, line 39, after ("1999") insert (", and paragraph 2 of Schedule (Provision of Support: Regulations) to that Act,").
Page 80, line 41, after ("(7)") insert ("of that section and in paragraph 2 of that Schedule").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Dholakia moved Amendment No. 58:


After Clause 126, insert the following new clause--

("PART VIA
COMPLAINTS
THE POLICE COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY: COMPLAINTS AGAINST IMMIGRATION OFFICERS

(" .--(1) The Police Complaints Authority (the Authority) established under Schedule 5 to the Police Act 1996 shall investigate complaints against immigration officers exercising their powers under the Immigration Acts.
(2) The provisions of Schedule 5 to the Police Act 1996 as amended by this Act shall apply to the Authority in the exercise of its duties under this section.
(3) At least two members of the Authority with experience of immigration and asylum matters shall sit as members of the Authority when it is investigating any complaints under this section.
(4) The Authority shall recommend disciplinary or criminal action against immigration officers against whom complaints are upheld, where appropriate.
(5) The Authority shall publish an annual report on its activities under this section.
(6) The Secretary of State shall by regulation make provision in relation to the duties of the Authority under subsection (1).
(7) When exercising his duty under subsection (6), the Secretary of State must consult persons and organisations with experience of immigration and asylum matters as to the desirability of making provision similar to that which is made for the investigation of complaints by the Authority under Part IV of the Police Act 1996 and to such modifications of that provision as may be required.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this amendment is grouped with Amendment No. 85 which deals with the consequential effect in relation to the Police Act 1996. On Report I had the support on this or a similar amendment of the former Home Secretary, the noble Lord, Lord Carr of Hadley, and also of the noble Lord, Lord Allen of Abbeydale, who was at one time the permanent secretary at the Home Office. At every stage during the passage of this Bill I have pleaded the need to establish an appeals machinery to deal with complaints about immigration officers.

On Report I withdrew an amendment which would have brought this service within the scope of the race relations legislation. In fact the definition of direct and indirect discrimination would have been to an extent in conflict with the administration of immigration policies because it discriminates on the grounds of nationality and national origin.

One may ask why we need a statutory provision. Following the Macpherson Report on the death of Stephen Lawrence, the Home Secretary accepted that certain government actions were outside the scope of, or excluded from, the provisions of the race relations legislation. For example, if you are discriminated against in the provision of services or as regards

2 Nov 1999 : Column 849

employment or housing provision, you can approach an industrial tribunal or the county court to seek redress. However, if one is discriminated against in the provision of services either at the hands of a police officer or an immigration officer, you do not have any recourse whatever as the Law Lords have interpreted that the services provided by immigration officers and police officers do not comprise service to an individual but service to the Crown. Therefore it is vitally important that some ways and means are devised to ensure that police and immigration officers are accountable for their actions.

Police and immigration officers are more or less given the same powers as are stipulated clearly on the face of the Bill. The Secretary of State has accepted that there is this anomaly within the race relations legislation and it needs to be rectified. Whether we have that or not, at some stage there is bound to be some amendment to the race relations legislation which will bring immigration officers within the scope of the Race Relations Act. I look forward with great interest to the forthcoming Queen's Speech to see whether or not such a provision has been included.

I shall explain why I feel so passionate about the need to have some kind of machinery such as I have mentioned. In the 1980s, the Commission for Racial Equality, where I worked, investigated the administration of the Immigration Service. As part of that investigation, in which I was involved, we were privileged to be able to visit British posts abroad and examine the files of entry clearance officers. Those officers are responsible for interviewing people before they come to this country. They can determine whether or not entry should be granted. In a number of files, we found comments which were racist, which were anti-immigrant and which were to an extent very damaging. If that had happened in this day and age, some of those people would have been sacked.

The situation has, of course, changed over the past 20 years. However, there is still a public perception that the Immigration Service fairly frequently treats people unfairly. It is right and proper, therefore, that there should be some statutory machinery by which we can examine such complaints. The situation has certainly improved over a period of time. There is no way in which we can monitor the decision-making process of the Immigration Service to determine whether it is a sound process. I do not know of a single entry clearance officer or an immigration officer being dismissed or disciplined because of some of the actions that he may have taken which may not have been professional.

By comparison, at least 20,000 complaints against police officers are being investigated on a regular basis by the Police Complaints Authority. At least 10 per cent of such complaints are substantiated. Indeed, they are substantiated on the basis of a high standard of proof-- beyond reasonable doubt. The standard is now being lowered to that of the balance of probabilities. On that basis, we may find that as many as 30 per cent of complaints against police officers are substantiated.

2 Nov 1999 : Column 850

I mention that because immigration officers now have similar powers to those of the police. By the admission of the Minister at Report stage, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act now applies equally to immigration officers. The powers of arrest, body searching and fingerprinting are some of the measures now available to them.

Where do we go from here? I believe that we cannot exclude immigration officers from the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. They perform the same task as the police. Therefore, it is right that there should be some independent machinery, similar to that of the Police Complaints Authority, which can in reality conduct investigations.

Let me give a practical example. Most of your Lordships are aware of the instance that I cited some time ago of a black woman named Joy Gardner. Police officers, together with immigration officers, went to her house for the purpose of arresting and deporting her. They bound and gagged her, as a result of which she died. As I understand it, the two police officers were at that time investigated by the Police Complaints Authority and faced criminal charges; the immigration officers did not. In that respect, what is the difference between police officers and immigration officers? They were present at the same time. There is no point in saying, "We have the immigration audit body which will examine such complaints". If, for example, an immigration officer indicates that a case similar to that of Joy Gardner has been investigated by the Immigration Service, what is needed is an independent body that can effectively look at whether or not the powers have been abused.

I do not want to repeat the argument that I put forward about the immigration audit committee, on which the Government seems to place so much emphasis. However, perhaps I may make some very basic points about it which the Minister did not dispute on the last occasion that I spoke about it. The audit body does not investigate individual complaints. It simply supervises and calls for the files to find out whether or not a proper investigation has been carried out. It does not consider whether or not an investigation was undertaken. It has no power to discipline. If it wishes to discipline, the matter has to be referred back to the Immigration Service, which has its own internal procedure to determine what will happen to a particular individual who has abused his or her power. If the machinery is so internal, who can have any confidence that people outside will ever know the final outcome of the procedure?

It is a little known body. I would bet that if one went out on to the street and asked the first 50 people one met if they knew anything about the immigration audit body, none of them would have a clue what one was talking about.

There is a need for openness in the system and a need for an independent investigation when complaints of this nature emerge. My amendment meets all those points. It seeks to protect immigration officers as much as it seeks to deal with those who are in breach of the disciplinary code. The three people appointed as

2 Nov 1999 : Column 851

audit members could easily be incorporated within the existing structure of the PCA and the service could still continue to investigate. One would be giving it an independent element to determine within the balance of probability whether there has been a breach of the disciplinary code. If there has been a breach, at least an independent body will be able to say to the Immigration Service what kind of disciplinary action should be taken.

The immigration audit body that was referred to on Report does not necessarily deal with the actions of the entry-clearance officers who operate at British posts abroad. We are talking now about immigration officers here--but who is responsible for the actions of the entry-clearance officers abroad? I mentioned what we found some years ago when we investigated some of the files. A substantial part of the control mechanism does not take place in this country; it takes place abroad. The visa system stops people from coming to this country. How are people to complain if they feel that they have been treated unfairly by the operation and administration of the immigration control procedures?

We cannot have confidence in internal machinery. We need to develop machinery in which the public have confidence. At the same time, we are talking about a need for fairness, dignity and justice in the way we deal with people of different colours who are trying to come to this country, legitimately in many cases. That is the least we can expect from setting up a body such as the Police Complaints Authority, with members qualified in immigration matters, which can determine whether the service operates fairly, justly and with dignity. If we reject the amendment we will deny ourselves the right to talk about justice and fairness as far as concerns our procedures. I beg to move.


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