UK e-Borders scheme: 'Catalogue of chaos' as 649,000 border alerts about possible drug and tobacco smuggling deleted
Home Secretary, Theresa May, accused of presiding over a 'catalogue of chaos' at ports and airports
Nearly 650,000 warnings of potential drug and tobacco smuggling were deleted from a computer system monitoring millions of people entering and leaving Britain, an inspection of the country's frontier controls has discovered.
Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was accused of presiding over a “catalogue of chaos” at ports and airports following the disclosure by John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.
Mr Vine said the e-Borders system under which advanced information about visitors to Britain is checked against watch-lists of terrorists and criminals, was still not delivering many of its promised benefits despite being launched six years ago. He said only 65 per cent of new arrivals were covered because of complications under European Union law.
He said 649,000 separate pieces of information about possible drug and tobacco smuggling had been deleted over a ten-month period without being read, undermining efforts to seize illicit goods and arrest smugglers.
They were wiped out because of “poor data quality and the prioritisation of immigration over customs work”.
Mr Vine added: “These deletions had a significant impact on the ability of staff at the border to seize prohibited and restricted goods and deal with those responsible.”
Although he said the e-Borders programme had led to the arrest of thousands of suspects, he also warned that staff in locations other than Heathrow Airport had not acted on alerts about “high-risk individuals.”
Mark Harper, the Immigration minister, said the performance of Border Force was improving significantly and excessive queues had almost vanished in airport arrival halls.
He said: “The security of the border is now at the heart of everything Border Force does. Passengers travelling to Britain are checked across a variety of databases before departure and upon arrival.”
But Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said: “It is an outrage that drug smugglers have been able to get away with it because basic information was never acted on.”
She said: “Theresa May needs to sort out the catalogue of chaos at border control. She needs to stop drug smuggling information being deleted and get the proper border controls in place.”
- 1 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 4 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...