HC Deb 12 April 2002 vol 383 cc631-2W
Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what extra security measures his Department has taken at Shoreham Port to help combat entry by illegal immigrants; [47374]

(2) how many illegal immigrants have been caught trying to enter this country at Shoreham Port, listed by country of origin; and how many of these have claimed political asylum since 1997. [47373]

Angela Eagle

[holding answer 10 April 2002]: It is not possible to provide statistics for the total number of illegal entrants detected having entered the United Kingdom via Shoreham seaport. This is because illegal entrants are frequently detected inland and will not identify, or cannot be attributed to, any particular port of entry.

Shoreham seaport does not receive any passenger vessels and so has no permanent immigration presence. However, for the purposes of immigration control the port is covered by Immigration Service staff based at Newhaven who may be deployed there should a need be identified. Remote coverage is also provided by officers from Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and Sussex Police, Special Branch.

The Immigration Service views very seriously any potential breach of immigration controls, as well as the risks that migrants take by seeking to enter the United Kingdom clandestinely. Whilst there is currently no evidence to suggest that Shoreham seaport is being targeted for such activity, should such information be received, it would be passed to the District Intelligence Unit at Gatwick. They would assess the risk and ensure that appropriate measures were taken to combat any threat to the integrity of the immigration control.