HL Deb 04 December 1984 vol 457 cc1301-2WA
The Marquess of Ailesbury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the powers of H.M. Customs and Excise to seize private property are greater than those of the police; and, if so, why.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Arts (The Earl of Gowrie)

The powers of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to seize property are more extensive than the equivalent powers granted to the police, and reflect the difference in their law enforcement functions. These powers, which derive mainly from the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, are however limited to matters assigned to the management of the commissioners.

The powers of the revenue departments have been considered by a committee under Lord Keith of Kinkel. Volumes 1, 2 (Cmnd. 8822) and 3 (Cmnd. 9120) of the committee's report have been published and the fourth volume, which deals specifically with Customs powers, will follow.