UK Border Agency
The UK Border Agency was the border control agency of the Government of the United Kingdom and part of the Home Office, superseded by UK Visas and Immigration, UK Border Force and Immigration Enforcement in April 2013. It was formed as an executive agency on 1 April 2008 by a merger of the Border and Immigration Agency, UKvisas and the Detection functions of HM Revenue and Customs; the decision to create a single border control organisation was taken following a Cabinet Office report. The agency's head office was London. Rob Whiteman became Chief Executive in September 2011. Over 23,000 staff worked in over 130 countries, it was divided into four main operations, each under the management of a senior director: operations and settlement, international operations and visas and law enforcement. The agency came under formal criticism from the Parliamentary Ombudsman for poor service, a backlog of hundreds of thousands of cases, a large and increasing number of complaints. In the first nine months of 2009–10, 97% of investigations reported by the Ombudsman resulted in a complaint against the agency being upheld.
The complainants were residence, or other immigration applicants. On 26 March 2013, following a scathing report into the agency's incompetence by the Home Affairs Select Committee, it was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May that the UK Border Agency would be abolished and its work returned to the Home Office, its executive agency status was removed as of 31 March 2013 and the agency was split into two new organisations. Prior to this in April 2012, the border control division of the UKBA was separated from the rest of the agency as the Border Force; the agency attained full agency status on 1 April 2009. Immigration Officers and Customs Officers retained their own powers for the enforcement and administration of the UK's borders, although management of the new organisation was integrated and progressively officers were cross trained and empowered to deal with customs and immigration matters at the border; the Borders and Immigration Act 2009 received Royal Assent on 21 July 2009. This allowed the concurrent exercise of customs powers by HMRC Commissioners and the Director of Border Revenue.
The UK Border Agency had a staff of 23,500 people located in over 130 countries. Overseas staff vetted visa applications and operated an intelligence and liaison network, acting as the first layer of border control for the UK; the organisation operated as the single force at the border for the UK. Local immigration teams worked within the regions of the United Kingdom, liaising with the police, HMRC, local authorities and the public. In August 2009 HM Revenue and Customs transferred several thousand customs detection officers to the agency, following Parliament agreeing to give it customs control powers; the agency began to investigate smuggling. The agency was developing a single primary border control line at the UK border combining controls of people and goods entering the country; the agency's E-borders programme checked travellers to and from the UK in advance of travel, using data provided by passengers via their airline or ferry operators. The organisation used automatic clearance gates at main international airports.
The agency managed the UK Government's limit on non-European economic migration to the UK. It was responsible for in-country enforcement operations, investigating organised immigration crime and to detecting immigration offenders including illegal entrants and overstayers; the body was responsible for the deportation of foreign national criminals at the end of sentences. The UK Border Agency's budget combined with that of the Border Force was £2.17 billion in 2011-12. Under the spending review the agency was required to cut costs by up to 23%. At its peak the agency employed around 25,000 staff, but 5,000 posts were due to be cut by 2015 against the 2011-12 levels. Founding Chief Executive Lin Homer left the agency in January 2011 to become the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport. Deputy Chief Executive Jonathan Sedgwick was acting chief until the new CEO, Rob Whiteman, took over on 26 September 2011. Sedgwick became director of international operations and visas. In July 2011, the strategic policy functions of the agency moved to the Home Office.
Home Secretary Theresa May announced to Parliament on 26 March 2013 that the agency would be abolished due to continuing poor performance, replaced by two new smaller organisations which would focus on the visa system and immigration law enforcement respectively. The UKBA's performance was described as "not good enough" blamed on the size of the organisation. A report by MPs criticised the agency, described it as "not fit for purpose", it was claimed that the agency had provided inaccurate reports to the Home Affairs Select Committee over a number of years. The agency was split internally on 1 April 2013, becoming a visa and immigration service and separate immigration law enforcement service. Staff held a mixture of powers granted to them by their status as immigration officers and customs officers. Immigration officers had the power of arrest and detention conferred on them by the Immigration Act 1971, when both at ports and inland. In practice, border force officers exercised powers under Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 and inland immigration officers under S28A-H of the Immigration Act 1971 and paragraph 17 of Schedule 2.
This led to separate training for inland officers. This act is applicable in England and Northern Ireland. "Designated Immigration
HM Customs was the national Customs service of England until a merger with the Department of Excise in 1909. The phrase'HM Customs', in use since the Middle Ages, referred both to the customs dues themselves and to the office of state established for their collection and administration; the payment of customs duty has been recorded in Britain for well over a thousand years. A centralised system for their collection has been in place since the 13th century, overseen since the 17th century by a Board of Commissioners. In 1909, HM Customs was merged with the Excise department to create HM Customs and Excise, responsible for all forms of indirect taxation. Just under a century HMCE was itself merged with the Inland Revenue to create HM Revenue and Customs. HM Customs officers operated exclusively in and from the coastal ports of England and Wales. By the start of the 19th century HM Customs had Custom Houses in 75 ports in Wales. While revenue collection and protection was the Customs officers' principal task, several other responsibilities were accrued over centuries in relation to maritime law enforcement.
As the principal government representatives in England's ports, customs officers were involved in the regulation of salvage, immigration, fisheries and embargoes, as well as in the collecting of statistics and various other activities. The Port of London was Britain's largest port and its Custom House in Lower Thames Street served as the headquarters of HM Customs. Alongside large numbers of local officers, the building accommodated officials and clerks responsible for national administration and oversight; the main public space in each Custom House, known as the Long Room, was where traders and others presented themselves to make the required payment of duties and fees on cargo destined for export or import.. Prior to the establishment of shipping exchanges, the Long Room was, by default, the prime meeting place in each port where the owners and masters of ships could negotiate on trade and other matters with local merchants and others; the levying of Customs duties in Britain has been part of national life for many centuries.
In 1215 Magna Carta asserted that merchants travelling to and from England should expect to pay the rectae et antiquae consuetudinae. The first written reference to a Customs-type payment in England is found in a charter of King Aethelbald of Mercia issued in AD 743 to Worcester Abbey, granting them the dues of two ships collected at the Hythe of London. There is evidence from as early as AD 979 of import duties being collected at what was the City of London's principal wharf at Billingsgate. Subsequently, there are references to various Customs-like duties, including lastage and cornage, the details of which are unclear; the tax on imported wine called Prise involved a proportion of the beverage itself being surrendered for use at the King's table. The term customs meant any customary payments or dues of any kind, but became restricted to duties payable to the king on the import or export of goods; the beginnings of a centralised English customs system can be traced to the Winchester Assize of Customs of 1203, in the reign of King John, which established procedures by which customs duty would be collected and paid direct to the State Treasury and accounted for by the Exchequer.
Between 1203 and 1205 this duty was collected at thirty-five English ports. Legislation establishing a more permanent system of customs can be traced to an Act of Parliament of King Edward I known as the nova custuma or'new customs' of 1275. Under the Act, in any port so designated by the King, two Collectors of Customs were to be appointed by Royal patent, along with a Controller to maintain a counter-roll, their authority was signified by the cocket: a two-part seal which certified payment of duty, one half of, held by the Collectors, the other by the Controller. For any sizeable port, the grant of a cocket to its appointed Customs officers was important as it signified that it was a legitimate place for the landing and loading of goods for international trade. Merchants were required to present themselves at a designated office to make the required payments.
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army, British Crown forces; the Free State was established as a Dominion of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It comprised 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland. Northern Ireland, which comprised the remaining six counties, exercised its right under the Treaty to opt out of the new state; the Free State government consisted of the Governor-General, the representative of the King, the Executive Council, which replaced both the revolutionary Dáil Government and the Provisional Government set up under the Treaty. W. T. Cosgrave, who had led both of these governments since August 1922, became the first President of the Executive Council; the Oireachtas or legislature consisted of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann known as the Senate. Members of the Dáil were required to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of the Free State and to declare fidelity to the king.
The oath was a key issue for opponents of the Treaty, who refused to take the oath and therefore did not take their seats. Pro-Treaty members, who formed Cumann na nGaedheal in 1923, held an effective majority in the Dáil from 1922 to 1927, thereafter ruled as a minority government until 1932. In 1931, with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, the Parliament of the United Kingdom relinquished its remaining authority to legislate for the Free State and the other dominions; this had the effect of making the dominions sovereign states. The Free State thus became. In the first months of the Free State, the Irish Civil War was waged between the newly established National Army and the anti-Treaty IRA, who refused to recognise the state; the Civil War ended in victory for the government forces, with the anti-Treaty forces dumping their arms in May 1923. The anti-Treaty political party, Sinn Féin, refused to take its seats in the Dáil, leaving the small Labour Party as the only opposition party.
In 1926, when Sinn Féin president Éamon de Valera failed to have this policy reversed, he resigned from Sinn Féin and founded Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil entered the Dáil following the 1927 general election, entered government after the Irish general election, 1932, when it became the largest party. De Valera abolished the Oath of Allegiance and embarked on an economic war with the UK. In 1937 he drafted a new constitution, passed by a referendum in July of that year; the Free State came to an end with the coming into force of a new constitution on 29 December 1937 when the state took the name "Ireland". The Easter Rising of 1916 and its aftermath caused a profound shift in public opinion towards the republican cause in Ireland. In the December 1918 General Election, the republican Sinn Féin party won a large majority of the Irish seats in the British parliament: 73 of the 105 constituencies returned Sinn Féin members; the elected Sinn Féin MPs, rather than take their seats at Westminster, set up their own assembly, known as Dáil Éireann.
It passed a Declaration of Independence. The subsequent War of Independence, fought between the Irish Republican Army and British security forces, continued until July 1921 when a truce came into force. By this time the Ulster Parliament had opened, established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, presenting the republican movement with a fait accompli and guaranteeing the British presence in Ireland. In October negotiations opened in London between members of the British government and members of the Dáil, culminating in the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December 1921; the Treaty allowed for the creation of an independent state to be known as the Irish Free State, with dominion status, within the British Empire—a status equivalent to Canada. The Parliament of Northern Ireland could, by presenting an address to the king, opt not to be included in the Free State, in which case a Boundary Commission would be established to determine where the boundary between them should lie. Members of the parliament of the Free State would be required to take an oath of allegiance to the king, albeit a modification of the oath taken in other dominions.
The Dáil ratified the Treaty on 7 January 1922. A Provisional Government was formed, with Michael Collins as chairman; the Treaty, the legislation introduced to give it legal effect, implied that Northern Ireland would be a part of the Free State on its creation, but in reality the terms of the Treaty applied only to the 26 counties, the government of the Free State had neither de facto nor de jure power in Northern Ireland. The Treaty was given legal effect in the United Kingdom through the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922; that act, which established the Free State, allowed Northern Ireland to "opt out" of it. Under Article 12 of the Treaty, Northern Ireland could exercise its option by presenting an address to the King requesting not to be part of the Irish Free State. Once the Irish Free State Constitution Act was passed on 5 December 1922, the Houses of Parliament of Northern Ireland had one month to exercise this option during which month the Government of Ireland Act continued to apply in Northern Ireland.
Realistically it was always certain. The Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Sir James Craig, speaking in the Parliament in Octob
The Royal Navy is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France; the modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century. From the middle decades of the 17th century, through the 18th century, the Royal Navy vied with the Dutch Navy and with the French Navy for maritime supremacy. From the mid 18th century, it was the world's most powerful navy until surpassed by the United States Navy during the Second World War; the Royal Navy played a key part in establishing the British Empire as the unmatched world power during the 19th and first part of the 20th centuries. Due to this historical prominence, it is common among non-Britons, to refer to it as "the Royal Navy" without qualification. Following World War I, the Royal Navy was reduced in size, although at the onset of World War II it was still the world's largest.
By the end of the war, the United States Navy had emerged as the world's largest. During the Cold War, the Royal Navy transformed into a anti-submarine force, hunting for Soviet submarines and active in the GIUK gap. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, its focus has returned to expeditionary operations around the world and remains one of the world's foremost blue-water navies. However, 21st century reductions in naval spending have led to a personnel shortage and a reduction in the number of warships; the Royal Navy maintains a fleet of technologically sophisticated ships and submarines including two aircraft carriers, two amphibious transport docks, four ballistic missile submarines, six nuclear fleet submarines, six guided missile destroyers, 13 frigates, 13 mine-countermeasure vessels and 22 patrol vessels. As of November 2018, there are 74 commissioned ships in the Royal Navy, plus 12 ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary; the RFA replenishes Royal Navy warships at sea, augments the Royal Navy's amphibious warfare capabilities through its three Bay-class landing ship vessels.
It works as a force multiplier for the Royal Navy doing patrols that frigates used to do. The total displacement of the Royal Navy is 408,750 tonnes; the Royal Navy is part of Her Majesty's Naval Service, which includes the Royal Marines. The professional head of the Naval Service is the First Sea Lord, an admiral and member of the Defence Council of the United Kingdom; the Defence Council delegates management of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence. The Royal Navy operates three bases in the United Kingdom; as the seaborne branch of HM Armed Forces, the RN has various roles. As it stands today, the RN has stated its 6 major roles as detailed below in umbrella terms. Preventing Conflict – On a global and regional level Providing Security At Sea – To ensure the stability of international trade at sea International Partnerships – To help cement the relationship with the United Kingdom's allies Maintaining a Readiness To Fight – To protect the United Kingdom's interests across the globe Protecting the Economy – To safe guard vital trade routes to guarantee the United Kingdom's and its allies' economic prosperity at sea Providing Humanitarian Aid – To deliver a fast and effective response to global catastrophes The strength of the fleet of the Kingdom of England was an important element in the kingdom's power in the 10th century.
At one point Aethelred II had an large fleet built by a national levy of one ship for every 310 hides of land, but it is uncertain whether this was a standard or exceptional model for raising fleets. During the period of Danish rule in the 11th century, the authorities maintained a standing fleet by taxation, this continued for a time under the restored English regime of Edward the Confessor, who commanded fleets in person. English naval power declined as a result of the Norman conquest. Following the Battle of Hastings, the Norman navy that brought over William the Conqueror disappeared from records due to William receiving all of those ships from feudal obligations or because of some sort of leasing agreement which lasted only for the duration of the enterprise. More troubling, is the fact that there is no evidence that William adopted or kept the Anglo-Saxon ship mustering system, known as the scipfryd. Hardly noted after 1066, it appears that the Normans let the scipfryd languish so that by 1086, when the Doomsday Book was completed, it had ceased to exist.
According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in 1068, Harold Godwinson's sons Godwine and Edmund conducted a ‘raiding-ship army’ which came from Ireland, raiding across the region and to the townships of Bristol and Somerset. In the following year of 1069, they returned with a bigger fleet which they sailed up the River Taw before being beaten back by a local earl near Devon. However, this made explicitly clear that the newly conquered England under Norman rule, in effect, ceded the Irish Sea to the Irish, the Vikings of Dublin, other Norwegians. Besides ceding away the Irish Sea, the Normans ceded the North Sea, a major area where Nordic peoples traveled. In 1069, this lack of naval presence in the North Sea allowed for the invasion an
The Admiralty known as the Office of the Admiralty and Marine Affairs, was the government department responsible for the command of the Royal Navy first in the Kingdom of England in the Kingdom of Great Britain, from 1801 to 1964, the United Kingdom and former British Empire. Exercised by a single person, the Lord High Admiral, the Admiralty was, from the early 18th century onwards invariably put "in commission" and exercised by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, who sat on the Board of Admiralty. In 1964, the functions of the Admiralty were transferred to a new Admiralty Board, a committee of the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom and part of the Navy Department of the Ministry of Defence; the new Admiralty Board meets only twice a year, the day-to-day running of the Royal Navy is controlled by a Navy Board. It is common for the various authorities now in charge of the Royal Navy to be referred to as simply'The Admiralty'; the title of Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom was vested in the monarch from 1964 to 2011.
The title was awarded to Duke of Edinburgh by Queen Elizabeth II on his 90th birthday. There continues to be a Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and a Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, both of which are honorary offices; the office of Admiral of England was created around 1400. King Henry VIII established the Council of the Marine—later to become the Navy Board—in 1546, to oversee administrative affairs of the naval service. Operational control of the Royal Navy remained the responsibility of the Lord High Admiral, one of the nine Great Officers of State; this management approach would continue in force in the Royal Navy until to 1832. King Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission in 1628, control of the Royal Navy passed to a committee in the form of the Board of Admiralty; the office of Lord High Admiral passed a number of times in and out of commission until 1709, after which the office was permanently in commission. In this organization a dual system operated the Lord High Admiral Commissioners of the Admiralty exercised the function of general control of the Navy and they were responsible for the conduct of any war, while the actual supply lines and services were managed by four principal officers, the Treasurer, Comptroller and Clerk of the Acts, responsible individually for finance, supervision of accounts and maintenance of ships, record of business.
These principal officers came to be known as the Navy Board responsible for'civil administration' of the navy, from 1546 to 1832. This structure of administering the navy lasted for 285 years, the supply system was inefficient and corrupt its deficiencies were due as much to its limitations of the times they operated in; the various functions within the Admiralty were not coordinated and lacked inter-dependency with each other, with the result that in 1832, Sir James Graham abolished the Navy Board and merged its functions within those of the Board of Admiralty. At the time this had distinct advantages. In 1860 saw big growth in the development of technical crafts, the expansion of more admiralty branches that began with age of steam that would have an enormous influence on the navy and naval thought. Between 1860 and 1908, there was no real study of strategy and of staff work conducted within the naval service. All the Navy's talent flowed to the great technical universities; this school of thought for the next 50 years was technically based.
The first serious attempt to introduce a sole management body to administer the naval service manifested itself in the creation of the Admiralty Navy War Council in 1909. It was believed by officials within the Admiralty at this time that the running of war was quite a simple matter for any flag officer who required no formal training. However, this mentality would be questioned with the advent of the Agadir crisis, when the Admiralty's war plans were criticized. Following this, a new advisory body called the Admiralty War Staff was instituted in 1912, headed by the Chief of the War Staff, responsible for administering three new sub-divisions responsible for operations and mobilisation; the new War Staff had hardly found its feet and it continually struggled with the opposition to its existence by senior officers they were categorically opposed to a staff. The deficiencies of the system within this department of state could be seen in the conduct of the Dardanelles campaign. There were no mechanisms in place to answer the big strategic questions.
A Trade Division was created in 1914. Sir John Jellicoe came to the Admiralty in 1916, he re-organized the war staff as following: Chief of War Staff, Intelligence, Signal Section, Trade. It was not until 1917 that the admiralty department was again properly reorganized and began to function as a professional military staff. In May 1917, the term "Admiralty War Staff" was renamed and that department and its functional role were superseded by a new "Admiralty Naval Staff". Appointed was a new post, that of
HM Customs and Excise
HM Customs and Excise was a department of the British Government formed in 1909 by the merger of HM Customs and HM Excise. The payment of customs dues has been recorded in Britain for over a thousand years and HMCE was formed from predecessor bodies with a long history. With effect from 18 April 2005, HMCE merged with the Inland Revenue to form a new department: HM Revenue and Customs; the three main functions of HMCE were revenue collection and preventive work, alongside which other duties were performed. On behalf of HM Treasury, officers of HM Customs and Excise levied customs duties, excise duties, other indirect taxes. Officers spent significant amounts of time in docks and depots and on board newly-arrived ships assessing dutiable goods and cargoes. Specialist tools were provided e.g. for the measurement of containers or the specific gravity of alcohol. HMCE was responsible for managing the import and export of goods and services into the UK. Since the early 17th century, the searching of vessels for illicit goods when undertaken by customs officers has been called'rummaging'.
For various reasons HMCE and its predecessors had accrued a variety of other responsibilities over the years, some of which had nothing to do with revenue collection and protection. Many of these additional duties pertained to the regulation of activities in UK coastal waters on behalf of HM Government, thus at various times in the 20th century HMCE was involved in receiving, regulating or recording: import & export licences trade statistics light dues wrecks embargos quarantine and other public health restrictions occupational licensing registration of moneylenders exchange controls ship registration immigration control In the 1970s Customs & Excise officers were operating from around 2,000 offices located in all parts of the United Kingdom. The Board of Customs and the Board of Excise were'the only Crown Services organised on a country-wide basis'. Custom Houses were to be found in all major ports of entry. Excise Offices were located both around inland; the nation's borders were the prime location for much of HMCE's work.
Before the 20th century the UK's only border was its coastline and customs activity was focused around the coast. The establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922 gave the United Kingdom a land border, which required customs checkpoints; as well as administering Customs declarations, HM Customs and Excise staff had responsibility for guarding the borders of the United Kingdom from smugglers. To try to achieve this, HMCE and its predecessors had a history of operating both on land and at sea; the historic headquarters of HM Customs was the Custom House on Lower Thames Street in the City of London. This went on to become the headquarters of HMCE when the Excise head office moved there from Somerset House in 1909. However, the Commissioners along with most of the headquarters staff were forced to move out after the building was damaged in a bombing raid in December 1940, they moved to Finsbury Square in 1952 to the newly-built King's Beam House in Mark Lane. The damaged section of London's Custom House was rebuilt and the building remains in use by HM Revenue and Customs as of 2018.
In the 1990s the headquarters staff moved again to New King's Beam House in Southwark. The 1909 amalgamation of the Customs and Excise services required a new corporate structure, which remained in place until 1971; the new Board of Customs and Excise had oversight of three inter-linked branches, each with its own management structure: The Headquarters staff The Outdoor Service The Waterguard. The Board of Customs and Excise was made up of eight Commissioners appointed by Letters Patent under the Great Seal and chaired by a Permanent Secretary; the Board was responsible to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for collecting and accounting for all customs and excise revenues and for'the management of all matters belonging and incidental to such collection'. The Headquarters Staff had oversight of policy implementation and management, as well as providing central accounting and administrative services; the Outdoor Service was divided into geographical areas called Collections, each overseen by a Collector.
There were ninety-two Collections but these were reduced: to thirty-nine by 19
HM Revenue and Customs
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes, the payment of some forms of state support and the administration of other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage. HMRC was formed by the merger of the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, which took effect on 18 April 2005; the department's logo is the St Edward's Crown enclosed within a circle. The department is responsible for the administration and collection of direct taxes including Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax, indirect taxes including Value Added Tax, excise duties and Stamp Duty Land Tax, environmental taxes such as Air Passenger Duty and the Climate Change Levy. Other aspects of the department's responsibilities include National Insurance Contributions, the distribution of Child Benefit and some other forms of state support including the Child Trust Fund, payments of Tax Credits, enforcement of the National Minimum Wage, administering anti-money laundering registrations for Money Service Businesses and collection and publication of the trade-in-goods statistics.
Responsibility for the protection of the UK's borders passed to the UK Border Agency within the Home Office on 1 April 2008 and to UK Border Force and the National Crime Agency in 2013. HMRC has two overarching Public Service Agreement targets for the period 2008–2011: Improve the extent to which individuals and businesses pay the tax due and receive the credits and payments to which they are entitled Improve customers' experiences of HMRC and improve the UK business environment HMRC is a law enforcement agency which has a strong cadre of Criminal Investigators responsible for investigating Serious Organised Fiscal Crime; this includes all of the previous HMCE criminal work such as tobacco and oils smuggling. They have aligned their previous Customs and Excise powers to tackle previous Inland Revenue criminal offences, they are responsible for seizing billions of stolen pounds of HMG's revenue. Their skills and resources include the full range of intrusive and covert surveillance and they are a senior partner in the Organised Crime Partnership Board.
HMRC criminal investigation officers have wide-ranging powers of arrest, entry and detention. The main power is to detain anyone who has committed, or whom the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect has committed, any offence under the Customs and Excise Acts as well as related fraud offences. On 30 June 2006, under the authority of the new Labour Home Secretary, John Reid, extensive new powers were given to HMRC. Under Chairman Sir David Varney, a new Criminal Taxes Unit of senior tax investigators was created to target suspected fraudsters and criminal gangs. To disrupt and clamp down on criminal activity; this HMRC/CTU would pursue suspects in the same way the US Internal Revenue Service caught out Al Capone on tax evasion. These new powers included the ability to impose penalties without needing to prove the guilt of suspected criminals. On 19 July 2006, the Executive Chairman of Sir David Varney resigned. HMRC is listed under parts of the British Government which contribute to intelligence collection and assessment.
Their prosecution cases may be coordinated with the Crown Prosecution Service. The department is organised around four operational groups, each led by a director general; the four operational groups are: Personal Tax led by Mike BakerBenefits and Credits led by Nick Lodge Business Tax led by Jim Harra Customer Compliance led by Penny CiniewiczIn addition to the four operational groups, there are five supporting groups. These are: Permanent Secretary for Tax group Chief Finance Officer group Chief information Officer group General Counsel and Solicitor group Chief People Officer groupHMRC deals with the top 2,000 large business via CRM; the next 8,400 business are dealt with via Customer Co-ordinators who provide a single point of contact with HMRC. The merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown in the Budget on 17 March 2004; the name for the new department and its first executive chairman, David Varney, were announced on 9 May 2004.
Varney joined the nascent department in September 2004, staff started moving from Somerset House and New Kings Beam House into HMRC's new headquarters building at 100 Parliament Street in Whitehall on 21 November 2004. The planned new department was announced formally in the Queen's Speech of 2004 and a bill, the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Bill, was introduced into the House of Commons on 24 September 2004, received Royal Assent as the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 on 7 April 2005; the Act creates a Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office responsible for the prosecution of all Revenue and Customs cases. The old Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise departments had different historical bases, internal cultures and legal powers; the merger was described by the Financial Times on 9 July 2004, as "mating the C&E terrier with the IR retriever". For an interim period officers of HMRC are empowered to use existing Inland Revenue powers in relation to matters within the remit of the old Inland Revenue and existing Customs powers in relation to matters within the remit of the old Customs & Excise.