HL Deb 18 November 2003 vol 654 c279WA
Lord Tomlinson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many foreign nationals have been detained under Part IV of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. [HL5573]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal

Sixteen foreign nationals have so far been detained using powers in Part IV of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security (ATCS) Act 2001. Eight were detained in December 2001, one in February 2002, two in April 2002, one in October 2002, one in November 2002, two in January 2003 and one in October 2003. One further individual has been certified under Part IV of the ATCS Act in August 2003 but is detained under other powers.

Of the total detained, two have voluntarily left the United Kingdom. The other 14 remain in detention.

The Home Secretary's decisions to detain these individuals were made on the basis of detailed and compelling evidence. That evidence is being examined by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission as the individuals' appeals are heard, as provided for under the ATCS Act. The commission is equivalent to the High Court. It has the power to overturn his decisions.

Where terrorism is concerned, our paramount responsibility is to ensure public safety and national security. So long as the public emergency subsists, where a person is suspected of terrorism but cannot currently be removed and for whom a criminal prosecution is not an option, we believe that it is necessary and proportionate to provide for extended detention, pending removal.