HC Deb 03 December 2002 vol 395 cc677-8W
Norman Baker

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many customs officials have(a) had training in respect of and (b) been allocated to the detection of illegal imports of (i) bushmeat and (ii) species and material listed under CITES. [80869]

John Healey

[holding answer 20 November 2002]: As part of their normal frontier enforcement activity, customs detection staff undertake work to detect imports which are illegal under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) They are supported by a specialist team. Customs detection staff also support the lead agencies (local and port health authorities and Defra) in detecting illegal bushmeat imports not covered by CITES restrictions.

Training in CITES-related issues is part of the standard training of the approximately 3,800 customs detection staff and others whose work involves CITES issues.

With customs currently not having the lead role in bushmeat detection no specific training is currently provided to customs officials on this.

A recent Cabinet Office study has recommended a future transfer of responsibility to customs for detection of smuggled imports of animals, fish, plants and their products, and foodstuffs (including meat). Work on arrangements to effect this transfer has begun.