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Crime: Borders

Question for Home Office

UIN HL8811, tabled on 6 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the steps being taken to address cross-border crime involving (1) people, and (2) fuel smuggling, between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Answered on

20 October 2020

The UK’s approach to the Common Travel Area (CTA) is that there are no routine immigration controls on journeys to the UK from Ireland and the Crown Dependencies. Both the UK and Irish Governments are committed to taking all necessary measures to continue to protect this joint agreement and secure the CTA.

The Home Office, Ireland’s Garda National Immigration Bureau and Border Management Unit, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and other police forces work together to tackle abuse of the Common Travel Area by conducting intelligence-led checks and enforcement operations.

Our priority will always be to keep the British public safe and we are determined to remove foreign criminals from the UK wherever it is legal and practical to do so.

The Government remains committed to tackling all forms of tax evasion and avoidance. The estimated tax gap for diesel in Northern Ireland remains at 6% maintaining an all-time low.

Extensive multi-agency, cross border cooperation is a key element of the operational response to fuel fraud. HMRC chairs a multi-agency cross border Smuggling Group, a sub-group of the NI Organised Crime Task Force. The group shares intelligence and information, and coordinates targeted joint operations to tackle criminals who deal in illicit fuel and cheat the exchequers in the UK and Ireland.

HMRC has maintained its capacity for fuel testing and investigation of fuel fraud in NI. HMRC activity focuses on detecting and deterring outlets facilitating the supply of illicit fuel, with special units performing risk-based interventions throughout the fuel supply chain; at fuel retailers, wholesalers, and at “huckster” sites.

Answered by

Home Office