Frontline immigration staff becoming 'box-tickers'

 

Frontline immigration staff are becoming little more than “box-tickers and rules followers” as a result of the Government's passport-checking policy, according to the former head of the UK Border Force.

Brodie Clark said full passport checks introduced by the Home Secretary last autumn are causing lengthy delays at London's major airports and undermining security.

Writing in The Times he described Theresa May's decision to suspend risk-based border controls as a “kneejerk reaction” and said it would be reinstated.

Mr Clarke argued there has been “a crisis in confidence among border staff” since he resigned from his position last November after allowing certain passenger checks to be relaxed without seeking ministerial approval.

He wrote: “The early journey we took into a more risk-based approach to checking passengers arriving in Britain has been shelved.

“Instead, we are back to the laborious and less effective policy of checking every passenger to a similar level, regardless of whether a particular individual is ever likely to pose a threat.

“It means that sticking to the process becomes the measure of success, not results from checking.

“It means that we give committed frontline immigration staff little opportunity to use their well-developed instincts and experience - they become little more than box-tickers and rules followers.”

He added: “The pressures of long queues reduces the effectiveness of border staff - put simply it leads to mistakes.”

Mr Clark, who was speaking for the first time since receiving compensation after settling a constructive dismissal case against the Home Office, said the full check policy was meaning staff were being moved away from “vital security work” and instead doing “low-value, low return passenger checking”.

He argued that the Government should have the “sense and the confidence to focus on who might be a risk”.

Mr Clark said that technological advances in border controls, such as the introduction of electronic checking, has improved efficiency and security meaning officials no longer needed to rely on the “old fashioned Civil Service approach of putting process before results”.

“It short changes the British public and is a shameful failure to harness the potential of staff, experience and technology,” he added.

Mr Clark called on a three-pronged approach to be taken to patrolling Britain's borders that focused on the use of technology, the effective use of frontline staff and an approach based on risk.

“Only by doing all three do we stand any chance on continuing the progress against criminality and terrorism, particularly when resources are being reduced and the number of goods arriving in the UK is dramatically increasing,” he said.

Mr Brodie also warned that the Government's plan to introduce a separate border force could threaten security in the run-up to the Olympics.

“The Home Secretary's plans for a separate Border Force outside the UKBA will inevitably take watchful eyes off the security ball as new structures are put in place,” he wrote.

Mr Brodie added in his article: “The political kneejerk reaction that suspended risk-based border controls has undoubtedly made it difficult to reinstate this sensible policy. But nothing is surer - it will be reintroduced.”

PA

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week