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Lord Carlisle of Bucklow: I shall follow my noble friend Lady Anelay of St Johns by asking exactly what degree of reciprocity there is in the clause. As I understand it, the Minister said that we were providing the new right to surveillance in this country because we were implementing the Schengen convention. Have all the other signatories to the convention signed up to the new right of surveillance? Does our police force have similar rights in those countries?
Lord Goodhart: We are having a preliminary debate on the surveillance provisions of Clauses 83 to 85, which are in some ways the most controversial element in the Bill. I should make clear that we, as indeed does the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, support the principle behind this form of surveillance. Co-operation on surveillance, as on other matters, is we believe of great importance.
In Article 40 of the 1990 convention, which implements the Schengen agreement, the power of hot surveillance is more likely to be used on mainland Europe than in the United Kingdom because of obvious geographical issues that arise. It is easy and quick nowadays to cross a border in mainland Europe from one member state to another, whereas in this countrywith the exception of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, to which, as I understand it, Article 40 does not applythe only way in, whether by boat, aeroplane or by the Channel Tunnel, involves a fair amount of time. Therefore, mostly there will be a chance to notify the authorities in advance and to get someone from a police force in the UK to carry out the surveillance here. I would be interested to know how often the Government expect that these powers will need to be used.
We are particularly concerned to note that a number of the limitations which are contained in Articles 40.2 and 40.3 are not set out on the face of the Bill. The Government have announced their intention that they should be observed, but we feel that they should be on the face of the Bill. That is why the relevant amendments stand in the name of my noble friend Lord Dholakia as well as the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland. We shall support, in particular, the amendments which seek to place these restrictions on the face of the Bill.
It was suggested at Second reading that the Government did not wish to see such amendments on the face of the Bill because they were anticipating further changes to the 1990 convention and it might therefore be more convenient if these matters were
Lord Stoddart of Swindon: It was most helpful of the noble Lord, Lord Filkin, to give a general overview of these clauses. The Committee will welcome the fact that there will be a complete prohibition on the carrying of firearms. Since there is a general prohibition for our own police, it would be absurd if foreign policemen could come to this country with firearms. I should like to know exactly how the restriction will be enforced.
At Second Reading, I raised the problem of a foreign policeman who has a gun and who is in hot pursuit of a criminal having to discard that gun somewhere on his way over here. How and where will he do it? Will he dump it in the sea, chuck it out of the Eurostar window or what? I should welcome further information. It is also good to know that foreign police may not enter private propertythat is the subject of an amendment which I hope the Government will acceptand that they may not arrest people.
As I understand it, these provisions do not apply to the Irish Republic; so IRA people who bomb in Northern Ireland and flee to the south will not be able to be hotly pursued by British policeman. Is that right? Perhaps the noble Lord could tell us later.
The Minister referred to operations being pre-planned. Has he any idea exactly how many such operations there will betens, fifties, hundreds, or thousands? It would be useful to know, because we should like to know just how many foreign policemen would be operating in Britain at any given time. That is important.
If someone is in hot pursuitsay, from the Continent, America or anywhere else where we have an arrangementand arrives in this country, I am not quite sure how the person knows who to get in touch with. It is not only a central intelligence agency that needs to know; the local police also need to know, because they are responsible in their own area. It would be useful to know how that is to be achieved and how the five-hour limit will be enforced. For example, when the chap is chasing someone along a road and the five-hour period expires, what happens then? Or what happens if he thinks, "Never mind about the international agreement, I have to go on". How is this provision to be supervised? How is discipline to be enforced? We ought to know.
Finally, I am not sure whether the agreement that we have made with other countries allows the five-hour period to be extended without the introduction of further primary legislation. We ought also to know that. I hope that the Minister will be able to answer all these questions.
Baroness Carnegy of Lour: The Minister assured us that such hot pursuit would happen only in the case of someone suspected of serious crime. He said that foreign officers would not be allowed to carry guns, nor to enter private property. I was unclear how we would know that. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, raised that point, but I did not know whether those points were set out in previous legislation. Is that what he is telling us?
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I hope to assist the Minister. In his general introduction to this clause, he has opened up the issue rather more widely than the Government might have anticipated at this stage, given that a substantial number of amendments are to follow. However, Committee Members have very properly seized the opportunity to ask questions.
Perhaps I may assist the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, who asked about the carrying of firearms. We hope to probe the Government closely on Amendment No. 148, which would prohibit the carrying of firearms by a foreign police officer or a Customs officer. We have further amendmentsAmendments Nos. 153 and 154that concern the period during which foreign officers may carry out surveillance within this country. I assure the Minister that when I asked for clarification on his statement that all applications must be made before a foreign officer's foot stepped on this soil, I sought only clarification. I do not expect him to go into any detailed explanation of the policy. Obviously, we shall probe those issues when we come to our amendments. We shall try to require not only that the application be made, but that permission should have been granted before the surveillance may continue.
Lord Filkin: I thank all noble Lords who have spoken. As they have signalled, I, in seeking to set the scene, inevitably opened up discussions on forthcoming amendments that will be considered later. Nevertheless, perhaps I may give some initial responses, as far as I am able, to as many points as I can. That may assist our subsequent consideration of future amendments. However, noble Lords deserve a reply, if I can give one.
I turn to the first question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, concerning advance notice or prior notification. There are two circumstances. First, when an operation is pre-planned, clearly, the foreign force is expecting something to happen. Therefore, they telephone the National Criminal Intelligence Service, and there is plenty of time to put in place a UK surveillance operation. That situation is clear. The noble Baroness was correct in saying that I was not simply referring to that situation. I was also referring to the urgent situations when it has not been possible to put in place a plan to take over the surveillance.
As the noble Baroness rightly observed, foreign officers will be expected to request assistance as soon as it seems probable that the suspects they are following will cross into the UK. That will be our general expectation; as soon as the foreign officers are
Those circumstances are expected to be few because, while the foreign officers are waiting for their car or whatever to be loaded on to a ferry or a hovercraft, it would be relatively simple to call NCIS on the telephone number in their Schengen handbook and notify it of their arrival.
The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, also asked a technical question on which she had the grace to signal that she would like a written answer. That I shall give. The question of other Schengen countries was also raised. Please bear with me if I am unable to spot exactly who asked which question. The position is that all other Schengen countries, apart from Ireland, are signed up to the convention. It is not new; the Schengen system has been in operation since 1990.
The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, is right in saying that surveillanceit is surveillance to which we are referring and not hot pursuit, which I shall turn to lateris much more likely to be used in mainland Europe, for the reasons that he accurately observed. Because of the delay in crossing the Channel, the likelihood is increased of being able to put a UK surveillance team into position at the point of entry of the suspect being tailed. That does not apply to Ireland, which does not want to participate in Article 40 of Schengenthat is entirely a matter for the Irish Government, as the noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, correctly surmised.
How often would the measure be used? It is hard to judge, but for the reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, one would expect that most circumstances would be pre-planned and pre-arranged, rather than having to take advantage of the particular circumstances that we are debating under this clause.
The limitations of the measures are important; I have signalled them. Clearly, they will be put into legislative force. We intend to do that through secondary legislation. For recollection, in virtually all cases, they will be by the affirmative procedure. But we shall return to those measures in more detail subsequently.
The noble Lord, Lord Stoddart, asked about firearms. The foreign officers will be aware that they must deposit their guns within their own country. That is for two reasons. First, it will be in the Schengen handbook surveillance officers will be expected to carry a copy. The handbook will set out the rules of entry to the UK. Secondly, it is suchhow shall I put it?a highly apparent issue that it is hard to believe that a French or a Belgian officer would not be aware that they were prohibited from bringing their gun into this country. On the mechanism of doing so, we would expect gun-carrying foreign officers to hand over their
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