New standards for UK border checks to be set out, says Damian Green

 

Clear minimum standards for border checks will be brought in after last year's row exposed staff cutting corners and acting without ministerial approval, the Immigration Minister said today.

Damian Green said the correct level of checks "for every type of passenger and all types of goods" would be set out, with guidance making clear that these could be strengthened in high-risk cases, and setting out the circumstances where they could be suspended.

But he also blamed the failures which saw hundreds of thousands of people let into the UK without proper checks last summer on the previous Labour government.

Coalition Government ministers simply inherited a legacy that "left a lot to be desired", he said.

"We inherited a Border Force that failed to conduct all the checks it should have done - mothballing expensive new technologies and cutting corners to manage queues or other pressures," he said.

"A Border Force where communications between staff and managers were unclear, and where our policy towards key checks was ambiguous or non-existent.

"This was completely unacceptable.

"That's why, when we discovered that there had been an unauthorised suspension of passenger checks at some ports last summer, action had to be taken. And action was taken."

Mr Green said they were "much bigger problems than anyone could have imagined", adding they were "problems kept hidden from ministers in successive governments".

Speaking at a border security conference at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) in Whitehall, central London, Mr Green said a "new framework of border security checks" would be brought in, with "clarity about the minimum standard of checks and the circumstances where checks can be suspended".

"The first step in the process to ensuring the Border Force becomes a fully effective law enforcement organisation is to introduce a new operating mandate for the controls it operates at the border," he said.

"The mandate will make sure that we have more control over operations at the border by clearly setting out the correct level of checks for every type of passenger and all types of goods that cross the UK border. In both directions."

Wiltshire Police chief constable Brian Moore was appointed as the new head of the Border Force when it was split from the troubled UK Border Agency (UKBA) at the start of the month after an official investigation found confusion, poor record-keeping and ambiguous instructions were rife.

The move will bring "a genuine law enforcement culture to the Border Force for the first time", Mr Green said.

"We're strengthening our border because for too long it was not strong enough."

Shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant said: "Damian Green has a cheek.

"The truth is that the experiment he and the Home Secretary engaged in last year led to a significant downgrade in the controls at our borders.

"Far from him discovering the weakness in the UKBA, it was Labour's campaign that exposed the scandal of the Government's incompetence.

"Indeed, the instructions from the minister and the Home Secretary were so ambiguous that people in UKBA had no clear idea what was expected of them."

He went on: "Green and May have been in post for two years now.

"It's time they took responsibility for what has happened on their watch."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Sport
Manny Pacquiao lands a blow on Chris Algieri
Pacquiao retains WBO welterweight title – and says he wants Mayweather next
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
News
i100
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin