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Written Question
UK Border Force: Dover Port and Manston Airport
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what Border Force’s staffing levels were in (a) the Port of Dover and (b) Manston Airport in each quarter since January 2019 to date.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Home Office does not routinely publish information relating to the number of staff working in specific locations as this would publicise operational practises which, in the wrong hands, could be used to attempt to evade controls at the border and compromise border security.

However, resource and staffing requirements at every port are continually reviewed by Border Force and we work closely with all port operators to try and anticipate demand. Resources are deployed flexibly as and when they are required.


Written Question
UK Border Force: Dover Port and Manston Airport
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport since 17 March 2022 on Border Force’s private security contractors in (a) the Port of Dover and (b) Manston Airport.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Department for Transport is not involved in the asylum operations at Dover or Manston. There have therefore been no discussions with the Department for Transport about the use of private security contractors at the Home Office facilities at Dover and Manston.


Written Question
UK Border Force: Contracts
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what due diligence is undertaken by Border Force in relation to sub-contracting of private security services to deliver public contracts.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

Due diligence is an ongoing process carried out during a procurement exercise and varies depending upon the nature and size of the contract being procured. Typical areas considered as part of the selection and due diligence of a potential supplier could include:

  • Financial standing
  • Past performance
  • Capability
  • Experience
  • Security/Cyber Security
  • Whether there are grounds to exclude a supplier

Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: Dover Port
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list the (a) value and (b) length of the contracts Border Force holds with (i) MITIE, (ii) Interforce and (iii) Definitive PSA in connection with the processing of undocumented migrants arriving in the Port of Dover.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Home Office has a number of arrangements in place to provide security, and custodial staff at the Port of Dover, and at its site in Manston.

These arrangements include the pre-existing Escorting and Related Services Contract with Mite Care and Custody, a contract with Management & Training Corporation (UK) Ltd, and a contract with Bloom Procurement Services who contracts with Definitive PSA Ltd (trading as Interforce) to deliver services for the Department.

Providing number of staff based at Dover and Manston, would reveal information on the security of our borders. It is not possible to provide the level of detail requested on volumes and patterns without impacting national security.


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: Dover Port and Manston Airport
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list the private security companies (a) contracted or (b) sub-contracted to process undocumented migrants in (i) the Port of Dover and (ii) Manston Airport.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Home Office has a number of arrangements in place to provide security, and custodial staff at the Port of Dover, and at its site in Manston.

These arrangements include the pre-existing Escorting and Related Services Contract with Mite Care and Custody, a contract with Management & Training Corporation (UK) Ltd, and a contract with Bloom Procurement Services who contracts with Definitive PSA Ltd (trading as Interforce) to deliver services for the Department.

Providing number of staff based at Dover and Manston, would reveal information on the security of our borders. It is not possible to provide the level of detail requested on volumes and patterns without impacting national security


Written Question
UK Border Force: Dover Port and Manston Airport
Monday 25th July 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the current minimum staffing levels are on contracts between the Border Force and private security contractors in (a) the Port of Dover and (b) Manston Airport.

Answered by Kevin Foster - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The Home Office does not routinely publish information relating to the number of staff working in specific locations as this would publicise operational practises which, in the wrong hands, could be used to attempt to evade controls at the border and compromise border security.

However, resource and staffing requirements at every port are continually reviewed by Border Force and we work closely with all port operators to try and anticipate demand. Resources are deployed flexibly as and when they are required.


Written Question
Pupils: Body Searches
Monday 25th April 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to review (a) guidance and training for teachers and school staff and (b) guidelines on child safeguarding in relation to strip and intimate searches undertaken by police officers on school grounds.

Answered by Robin Walker

The department is currently reviewing the ‘searching, screening and confiscation at school’ guidance. As part of this review, officials are engaging with teaching unions, the third sector and other government departments, including the Home Office, to gather views on changes for consideration, including the roles of parents, the police and teachers in these challenging situations.

The department will aim to publish revised guidance in the summer, alongside the recently consulted on ‘behaviour in schools’ guidance, and the ‘keeping children safe in education’ guidance. This will ensure that all schools are clear on their duties relating to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all pupils. This co-ordinated approach will enable the department to take a comprehensive view of what improvements can be made across our school safeguarding advice and guidance, and whether changes are needed to the ‘working together to safeguard children’ statutory guidance.


Written Question
Teachers: Training
Thursday 21st April 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to take specific steps to promote and encourage teachers to undertake training on racial bias, discrimination and anti-racism.

Answered by Robin Walker

Racism has no place in education and providers have a responsibility to ensure they take a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of racism towards staff and students. All educational institutions should be inclusive and welcoming for students and staff from all backgrounds.

To be awarded qualified teacher status, trainees must demonstrate all of the Teachers’ Standards at the appropriate level, including Teacher Standard One, which requires teachers to have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils and set goals that stretch and challenge young people of all backgrounds and abilities. Section 2 of the Teachers’ Standards’ is also clear that teachers must treat all pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect; and show tolerance and respect for the rights of others.

Once teachers pass initial teacher training, they enter into two years of funded support through the Early Career Framework, which requires early career teachers to be trained and supported to develop their understanding of maintaining fair and inclusive school environments. This is supplemented by a reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) to provide training and support for teachers and school leaders at all levels to improve outcomes for young people, including a specialist NPQ in Leading Behaviour and Culture that focuses upon the skills and knowledge required to have a positive impact on the wellbeing, motivation and behaviour of their pupils and create a school culture of high-expectations.

Beyond training, school leaders are responsible for ensuring their workforce has appropriate training to meet the needs of all pupils, which is in line with the department’s position on school autonomy and school leaders being best placed to assess the needs of their pupils and workforce.

The Public Sector Equality Duty also requires public bodies, including maintained schools and academies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010; advance equality of opportunity for people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and foster good relations across all characteristics. The department has published guidance for schools on how to comply with their duties under the Equality Act 2010 at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools.


Written Question
Children: Body Searches
Thursday 21st April 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that children are not strip-searched without a parent, guardian or appropriate adult present.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Strip search is one of the most intrusive powers available to the police and its use should not be a routine occurrence. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice govern how the police should deploy this power. If the police judge it operationally necessary, then any strip search conducted on a child must be carried out by officers of the same sex, in private and with an appropriate adult present unless both the child and the appropriate adult agree otherwise and in line with safeguarding procedures.

Nobody should be stopped and searched because of their race or ethnicity and safeguards exist to ensure that this does not happen, including statutory codes of practice, use of body worn video to increase accountability and extensive data collection. It is critical that we maintain public confidence in policing and as part of this we will be looking carefully at strengthening the system of local community scrutiny and the value of body-worn video, because transparency is vital.

The MoJ are supporting a project with the National Police Chief’s Council with the aim of addressing the difference in experience of ethnic minority children and adults in police custody. A wide range of agencies and independent advisors have contributed to this work, which engages a number of police forces across the country and builds on existing initiatives in the workplace, including a dedicated Independent Strip Search Scrutiny Panel (ISSSP) in Norfolk & Suffolk Police.

From December 2022 we will be including more detailed custody data in the annual Police Powers and Procedures statistical bulletin which will include data on whether an appropriate adult was called out for a detained child and the number of strip searches & Intimate searches carried out, broken down by age, gender, ethnicity, and offence type.

Further work is underway for the collection of data during stop & searches on the use of strip search. Currently, the Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating this incident and it is vital we await their findings. However, we will consider all recommendations made for the Home Office as a result of these investigations very carefully.


Written Question
Body Searches: Children
Thursday 21st April 2022

Asked by: Diane Abbott (Labour - Hackney North and Stoke Newington)

Question to the Home Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to tackle race disproportionality in the use of strip searches on children.

Answered by Kit Malthouse - Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Strip search is one of the most intrusive powers available to the police and its use should not be a routine occurrence. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice govern how the police should deploy this power. If the police judge it operationally necessary, then any strip search conducted on a child must be carried out by officers of the same sex, in private and with an appropriate adult present unless both the child and the appropriate adult agree otherwise and in line with safeguarding procedures.

Nobody should be stopped and searched because of their race or ethnicity and safeguards exist to ensure that this does not happen, including statutory codes of practice, use of body worn video to increase accountability and extensive data collection. It is critical that we maintain public confidence in policing and as part of this we will be looking carefully at strengthening the system of local community scrutiny and the value of body-worn video, because transparency is vital.

The MoJ are supporting a project with the National Police Chief’s Council with the aim of addressing the difference in experience of ethnic minority children and adults in police custody. A wide range of agencies and independent advisors have contributed to this work, which engages a number of police forces across the country and builds on existing initiatives in the workplace, including a dedicated Independent Strip Search Scrutiny Panel (ISSSP) in Norfolk & Suffolk Police.

From December 2022 we will be including more detailed custody data in the annual Police Powers and Procedures statistical bulletin which will include data on whether an appropriate adult was called out for a detained child and the number of strip searches & Intimate searches carried out, broken down by age, gender, ethnicity, and offence type.

Further work is underway for the collection of data during stop & searches on the use of strip search. Currently, the Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating this incident and it is vital we await their findings. However, we will consider all recommendations made for the Home Office as a result of these investigations very carefully.