HC Deb 23 May 2002 vol 386 c553W
Mr. Rosindell

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy towards the initiative of Spain setting up a European network for the protection of public figures (2002/C42/08). [57864]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth

The Working Party on Police Co-operation meeting held on 5 to 6 February 2002, proposed the setting up of a European network for the protection of public figures to be chaired by the member state holding the Presidency of the Council. Its remit was to standardise the package of support and protection afforded to visiting dignitaries against agreed criteria, as well as the exchange of resources and information.

Negotiations are ongoing and it is expected that a decision on the implementation of the Network's proposals will be taken in June. However, the Government feel that the United Kingdom (UK) has much to offer in the exchange of best practice ideas and procedures in the area of public figure protection. One of the key issues that the Government have sought to maintain is the principle that it is the right of the host state to determine the appropriate package of support according to the specific threat to the individual visiting that country. The network will have no power to make legislative changes to UK law.