HC Deb 24 April 1996 vol 276 c158W
Mr. Spearing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what factors underlay the statement by management of Customs and Excise in the recent expenditure review that further redundancies in the number of front line anti-smuggling officers including those specialising in drug offences, would be implemented in accordance with the level of drug seizures. [26523]

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

The fundamental expenditure review of anti-smuggling recommended that reductions in staffing should take place in two phases and that the effects of the first tranche of reductions should be comprehensively reviewed before any further savings are contemplated. Some 292 posts were withdrawn in the first phase during 1995–96 and the review is taking place throughout this year.

In addition to monitoring drug seizures, the review will evaluate Customs' success in dismantling smuggling organisations, seizing illicit assets and detecting other prohibitions. The drugs risk faced by the United Kingdom, the effectiveness of intelligence in informing targeting, and the effects of changes in tactical deployment are also being closely monitored.

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