Feeds

Taxman wants power to fingerprint suspects

Keep PACE with technology, HMRC urges

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

HM Revenue and Customs wants stronger powers to investigate tax crime including authority to take fingerprints to avoid delays in finding a police constable, the right to charge suspects, and simplified procedures for obtaining search warrants.

A consultation document setting out how the powers and accompanying safeguards used in the investigation of tax crime could be modernised was published by HMRC yesterday.

HMRC is responsible for investigating suspected criminal activity across the whole range of its responsibilities, including investigating tax credit fraud and VAT fraud, which can involve organised crime.

HMRC is seeking views on applying the relevant provisions in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) across all its activities. Currently, those powers and their associated safeguards are only available for specific taxes and duties. Having the same law apply across the board will be clearer for those under investigation and will increase the effectiveness of HMRC's investigations, argues the authority.

PACE doesn't apply in Scotland, and views are also sought on the provisions that would provide an effective and fully integrated regime that is appropriate for Scotland's legal system.

Currently, HMRC relies on provisions inherited from its predecessor Departments – the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise. These differ, which means that HMRC has no powers of arrest and detention for ex-Revenue matters. This "leads to a number of difficulties", says HMRC, including problems obtaining police support. It already has powers of arrest for offences that would previously have been within HMCE's remit.

Arranging for a constable to take a suspect's fingerprints can cause delays and "can raise logistical and security issues", adds HMRC in its consultation. "If appropriately trained officers of HMRC were allowed to take fingerprints this would establish the identity of detainees and prints at crime scenes more quickly without using police resources. It would also help HMRC to take better advantage of new technology which allows fingerprints to be identified quickly."

Modernising these provisions would give trained officers harmonised powers to apply for search warrants and production orders, and powers of arrest across all taxes, all of which would be subject to the important safeguards which attach to criminal investigations generally, says HMRC.

HMRC anticipates that, in light of responses to this consultation, specific proposals will be worked up in detail, on which there will be a further opportunity to comment.

See: The consultation (47 page/593KB PDF)

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.