Failings at UK borders are opening doors to terrorists and criminals

passport control

Britain’s border controls are under-fire

Criminals and terrorists are being allowed to enter Britain due to failings at UK borders. This is according to two separate damning reports published this week.

The Home Affairs Select Committee has warned that poor decisions by border officials could be allowing terrorists to slip under the net and enter into Britain.

A report into Britain’s Asylum system published by the MPs admitted the Committee was concerned about the quality of decision-making by border officials as 30 per cent of appeals against initial decisions were allowed into the UK.

They warned that, if asylum is granted when it is not deserved, then the UK could end up harbouring war criminals and terrorists. It stated the quality of decision-making ‘must be improved’.

Keith Vaz MP

Keith Vaz MP

Committee chairman Keith Vaz admitted there were concerns about decisions to grant asylum to people “who later emerge to be involved with terrorist activity”.

He said: “Those who apply for asylum in the UK should be checked against national and international law enforcement agency and security service databases to ensure that we are not harbouring those who intend us harm.

“The Home Secretary has to assure us that any anomalies in the process, which have allowed decisions such as this to take place, are addressed immediately.”

The Home Affairs Select Committee report came only days after another damning report from the chief inspector of borders and immigration into the Government’s e-borders scheme. It claimed the £1.2 billion e-border scheme is failing stop criminals or terrorists from entering the UK.

The scheme, set up by the Home Office ten years ago, was meant to improve immigration controls by collecting passenger information for all scheduled inbound and outbound passengers, in advance of travel.

According to the report, the programme has not delivered its planned increases in passenger data collection, with only 65 per cent of passenger movements being covered.

The chief inspector admitted concerns that 49,000 alerts relating to potential drug and tobacco smuggling were deleted from the system without being read over a ten month period and e-borders high profile alerts were not being used to intercept high risk individuals anywhere other than at Heathrow.

John Vine CBE QPM

John Vine CBE QPM

Independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, John Vine CBE QPM, said: “Despite being in development for over a decade, and costing over half a billion pounds, the e-borders programme has yet to deliver many of the anticipated benefits originally set out in 2007.

“I was surprised that the use of e-Borders information to “export the border,” by preventing the arrival of a passenger because they had either been deported or excluded from the UK previously, was not happening.”

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