HL Deb 12 February 2003 vol 644 cc120-1WA
Lord Fearn

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What checks and investigations are made to prevent the entry of illegal drugs into the port of Liverpool. [HL1500]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

Customs staff are based at the port of Liverpool with the specific task of detecting illegal drugs and other smuggled goods. These staff are fully trained anti-smuggling officers with experience in freight examination and vessel search.

Information and Customs' intelligence gathering, or its methods of selection and examination, is covered by exemption 4 (law enforcement and legal proceedings) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. However, in general terms, vessels and freight vehicles are selected for examination using intelligence. Such examinations may consist of scanning or a full physical examination by Customs officers. Drug detector dogs are also deployed to the port on a regular basis. A specialist team which can search all the confined spaces on a vessel is also based at the port.

Since October 2000, Customs has seized nearly I tonne of cocaine imported through the port of Liverpool, with a street value of around £70 million.