HC Deb 11 June 1998 vol 313 c647W
Sir John Stanley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what embarkation controls he has removed or reduced at which airports and ports; and what protection he has put in place at those ports and airports for children who are victims of attempted abduction from Britain. [44908]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

The previous administration had already removed, in 1994, embarkation checks for passengers departing from ferry ports and small airports for destinations within the European Union/European Economic Area, with the consequence that some 40 per cent. of all departing passengers were not seen by an immigration officer. This meant that those seeking to evade embarkation controls could do so by using these ports.

Implementation of the new embarkation arrangements, which I announced on 16 March 1998, Official Report, columns 506–07, commenced on 14 April at Heathrow Terminal 3, Gatwick North and Stansted. Gatwick South started on 7 June. These arrangements are due to come into place at the remaining major ports—Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 4, Birmingham, Glasgow and Manchester—on 1 July, or as soon as possible thereafter.

These intelligence-led embarkation checks are more effective than those which existed before; they include the increased use of Closed Circuit Television and enhanced co-operation between border agencies, port operators, and airlines. An important part of this liaison is the operation by the police of the All Ports Warning System in order to frustrate child abduction.

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