It came as no real surprise to me that 3 days after announcing that the UK might face another terrorist outrage like the London bombings on the 7th of July 2005 it turns out that the UKBA chief had ordered his staff not to check biometric chips on passports of citizens from outside the EU against the Home Office’s so-called Warnings Index. He may face the sack, but the potential damage is done.
Vital border checks for criminals and terrorists were secretly abandoned over the summer.
In a major new immigration fiasco, three senior officials – including the £135,000-a-year head of the UK Border Force – have been suspended.
There are fears that hundreds of thousands of travellers waltzed into Britain without crucial vetting.
Unknown to ministers, guards were allegedly told not to bother checking biometric chips on passports of citizens from outside the EU to ensure they are not fraudsters.
More worryingly, staff were also instructed not to bother checking their fingerprints or other personal details against the Home Office’s so-called Warnings Index.
This contains the names of terror suspects and illegal immigrants who must be refused entry to the UK to keep the public safe. The nightmare scenario is that a banned fanatic slipped through the net while the lax regime was in place between July and the start of this month.
It is understood the decisions were taken to keep queues at busy ports and airports to a minimum and avoid complaints by holidaymakers and tourists.
There you have it, this is the same agency who is perfectly happy to crush your car or resell it if they think that you are breaking their arbitrary rules on alcohol/cigarette purchases, yet turned a blind eye to terrorist suspects possibly entering the UK. Perhaps there was simply no money to be made off them…
Not that they have a great record of getting competent staff anyway…
Andrew Waldron, 38, was sentenced to four-and-a-half years at Birmingham Crown Court on Friday. It is the third time he has been convicted of deception offences in nine years.
But the fraudster still managed to become head of an investigation unit at the UK Border Agency after lying about his qualifications and hiding his previous criminal convictions.
Still, the daft thing is, is that “staff were instructed” Instructed by whom?
I would love to know what idiot thought that plan up and why the idiots receiving the instruction went ahead with it anyway without complaining to a higher authority or even going to the press. I mean come on! Did it not occur to anyone the risk they were putting the people of the UK too?
Then again this was the Agency that ‘lost track’ of 124,000 asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.
No doubt they are also the people whom the public service union leaders think have overwhelming public support when they voted for strike action.
The UK Border Agency – dubbed ‘not fit for purpose by Dr Reid the former home secretary under the Labour government, seems nothing has changed at all really.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Not fit for purpose indeed.