HC Deb 04 July 1996 vol 280 cc1045-6
12. Mr. Dykes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to hold discussions on sharing of police information with the United States Secretary of the Interior. [34528]

Mr. Howard

We co-operate closely with the United States in tackling organised and international crime at both governmental and operational levels. Sharing police information on this and wider policing issues will be an important subject of discussion during my visit to the United States later this month when I shall meet the US Attorney-General, who is responsible for policing matters.

Mr. Dykes

I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer and wish him well on his important forthcoming visit. Will he confirm that the experience of senior US officials has been that police intelligence information sharing and anticipatory surveillance are more important than the outward appearances of phenomena such as border guards? Will their interest in Europol be confirmed by his enthusiasm now for the Europol arrangements, after recent hesitations?

Mr. Howard

There has been no hesitation on our part on Europol. I fully expect that we shall be among the first countries to ratify the Europol convention. On intelligence in relation to border controls, we need the benefits of intelligence but we also need border controls. That is why we have said that we have every intention of maintaining our existing system of frontier controls.

Mr. Pope

Will the Home Secretary join me in congratulating the News of the World on exposing the growth in Britain of the Ku Klux Klan, which is controlled from bases in the United States? Will he hold urgent talks with his opposite number in the United States to try to eradicate the growth of that evil and odious organisation in the United Kingdom?

Mr. Howard

I am not sure that the United States Attorney-General will be able to assist to any great extent in that matter. The agenda for my discussions with her has not yet been formalised, but I shall consider the hon. Gentleman's comments.

Mrs. Ann Winterton

Will my right hon. and learned Friend, in his discussions with his opposite number in the United States, place a high priority on how best we can control child pornography in media such as the Internet? Does he believe that that is a vital subject, that we must protect our children and that ways must be found for our two countries, and other countries, to co-operate to cut the number of paedophiles?

Mr. Howard

My hon. Friend knows the high importance that I attach to that subject. She also knows that we have already been able to convict people in Britain who have been using the Internet for the transmission of pornography, including child pornography. The police will remain vigilant so that those who use the Internet for that evil purpose can be brought to justice.