Daily Archives: April 28, 2009

Making the most of technology and IT to support the tobacco strategy

UKBA has a wide range of tools available to help detect illicit goods at the border, including those detailed below which will be used to support the tobacco strategy.
X-ray scanning • A program of replacement and upgrading of mobile freight x-ray scanning
equipment equipment will enhance UKBA capability with new state of the art equipment.
Two new mobile freight scanners will be operational by April 2009 to replace
older units. A program of redeployment of mobile scanner units will seek to
make best use of this method of screening large volumes of freight and
container traffic.
• New equipment, capable of x-raying whole pallets of goods, is being introduced.
This will enable quicker, detailed screening of freight loads to identify possible
tobacco concealments.
• A program of replacing old static x-ray equipment at some airports with new
high-definition x-ray equipment to detect tobacco products in passengers’
baggage will add to the armoury of equipment available to Border
Force officers.
Automatic Number Plate • A review of the ANPR capability of UKBA, commencing in November 2008,
will lead to a program of equipment upgrades and system enhancement
Recognition during 2009.

The integrated HMRC–UKBA response

Operational delivery of the tobacco strategy is spread across a number of different parts of HM Revenue & Customs and the UK Border Agency, which collectively provides a comprehensive and integrated response to the threats from tobacco smuggling. The following sections illustrate
how HMRC and UKBA will work together to deliver the strategy.
Refreshed border detection strategy
The creation of the UK Border Agency has established a new 25,000 strong force to protect
the border. Its officers work at all principal points of entry into the UK and in many locations
overseas. This presents clear opportunities to capitalise on the increased capabilities the new
Agency brings to support the fight against the illicit tobacco trade. UKBA will play a pivotal role
in the strategy through the disruption of the illicit supply chain at the UK border.
UKBA has stretching targets for the disruption of tobacco smuggling into the UK, which are
set out in the UKBA/HMRC Partnership Agreement (see Annex 1). In order to achieve this
alongside its other key priorities, UKBA is already trialling closer integration at 5 key “flagship”
sites at Edinburgh, Teesport, Harwich, Coquelles and Gatwick Airport, where immigration and
customs powers have been “cross-conferred” and officers from former HMRC Detection and the
Border and Immigration Agency are working closely together in joint teams. Already, over 500
immigration officers have been trained and given customs powers, enabling them to question
travellers about tobacco products. The closer working underway is already bringing results.
As this integration develops we expect to see an increase in the effectiveness of our tobacco
disruption activity at the border.
Case Study 1: UKBA Flagship Site
A male passenger arriving into Gatwick from Tripoli was referred by the Immigration officer
at the primary line for further examination as his route and reason for travel were considered
suspicious. Examination of his baggage resulted in the seizure of just under 10,000 cigarettes
and 11 Kilos of prohibited meat products.
Case Study 2: UKBA Flagship Site
A single male arriving into Gatwick from Vilnius came to the attention of the Immigration
officer at the primary checkpoint when his name appeared on a watchlist. He was referred
for further examination where a check on his baggage produced just 1200 cigarettes. The
Immigration officer then identified another bag the man had been carrying when he arrived.
This bag produced a further 10,800 cigarettes. As a regular traveller who has had cigarettes
seized before he was arrested and interviewed. A total of 12,000 cigarettes were seized. The
case is ongoing.

New and emerging threats

Product threats
3.1 Prior to the launch of the Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy in 2000, the illicit cigarette market was predominantly made up of genuine cigarettes that were manufactured in the UK, exported, then smuggled back to the UK. Since then, and in part as a result of the strategy, the brand mix found on the UK illicit cigarette market has been progressively diversifying. Initially, counterfeit cigarettes began to represent a rapidly growing share of the illicit market and, more recently, brands not sold on the legitimate UK market, in particular so called “cheap white” brands made by small independent tobacco companies are representing a growing share of cigarette seizures.
3.2 Analysis of our large tobacco seizures provides an indication of changes in smuggling patterns.
The following trends have been identified from our analysis of these large seizures which, in
2007/08, represented approximately 55% by volume of all cigarette seizures and 52% of all
HRT seizures.
3.3 The following table illustrates the breakdown of all large seizures, into genuine and counterfeit
UK brands, and non-UK brands.

Regulatory and policy changes

Fiscal marks
1.14 In 2001, the Government introduced fiscal marks on packs of cigarettes and HRT to make identification of smuggled product easier. This measure is intended to prevent duty-free tobacco products (which are not fiscally marked) from being sold as duty-paid product in the retail sector.
Changes to cross border shopping policy
1.15 In 2002, changes in Government policy were introduced to help distinguish more clearly between smugglers and genuine shoppers. These changes put the onus on HMRC to prove that activity was illegal, and imposed tougher penalties on repeat smugglers. Guide levels for shoppers from within the EU were increased from 800 to 3200 cigarettes and from 1kg to 3kg of HRT. These amounts represent about 6 months’ supply for the average smoker, and allow HMRC officers to concentrate efforts on those who are more likely to pose a risk of smuggling.

Tobacco Smuggling strategy

The Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy has been the foundation of the Government’s success in reducing the illicit tobacco market. A new partnership between HM Revenue & Customs and the UK Border Agency, drawing on the strengths of both organisations, will now take the strategy forward, ensuring that there is no let-up in the fight against tobacco smuggling.
International strategic approach will focus on the following key objectives:
• A broader collective understanding of the risks - through our combined risk and intelligence
capability, we will enhance our understanding of the threats from tobacco smuggling, in order to
develop the most appropriate responses.
• The most effective deployment of our resources – through improved intelligence, risk profiling,
tasking and coordination, we will make the most effective use of our people and equipment to detect
and disrupt the supply of illicit tobacco products.
• Increasing the deterrent value of our activity – working collaboratively with other enforcement
agencies at home and abroad, we will increase public awareness of the consequences of the illicit
tobacco trade, and the adverse impact this has on our citizens, communities and the UK economy.
By doing this, we will make it more difficult for smugglers to dispose of illicit tobacco products.
• Improving detection at the border – we will continue to build on our increased capability at the
border following the creation of the UK Border Agency. We will also examine ways to enhance
the effectiveness of our combined resources overseas to identify and tackle threats further up the
illicit supply chain.
• Increasing the impact of our inland enforcement activity – the creation of a nationwide network of
inland excise enforcement teams will see a new focus on tackling the supply of illicit and counterfeit
tobacco in our communities, both in the formal retail sector and through wholly illicit channels.
These teams will work closely with local and regional tobacco control partners.
• Making the most effective use of our combined powers and sanctions – we will aim to make it
increasingly harder to smuggle tobacco products into the UK, so that those who are caught will face
a wider range of penalties and sanctions. We will also continue to modernise customs powers at the
frontier, ensuring that the UKBA has the powers it needs to work in the most effective way.
• Strengthening our international partnerships – recognising that tobacco smuggling is a global
problem, we will continue to work towards global solutions in international fora, including the
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. We will strengthen operational co-operation with EU
and international partners. We will also seek to deepen political co-operation with source and transit
countries to combat illicit tobacco.
• Strengthening our regional and local partnerships – Police, local government, health and business
stakeholders all have a role to play in tackling the demand for and supply of illicit tobacco. We will
work to strengthen our co-operation with local and regional partners.

Judith Mackay: brandishing a sword for health

In the 25 years that Judith Mackay has been fighting the tobacco industry, she has been described as dogmatic, meddlesome, puritanical and “psychotic human garbage.” Jane Parry finds out the truth

Kenaf tipped to replace tobacco

THE quest for Malaysia’s next golden industrial crop has been endless since the success of oil palm, rubber and to a certain extent cocoa, pepper and tobacco.

Lorillard, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2009 Results