Former top cop leads border agency inquiry

Undated UK Border Agency handout photo of Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, John Vine, who will investigate claims that UK border force guards quietly dropped certain passport checks to cope with staff shortages at busy times. and will make a statement to parliament on Monday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday November 5, 2011. See PA story POLITICS Border. Photo credit should read: James Newell/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated UK Border Agency handout photo of Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, John Vine, who will investigate claims that UK border force guards quietly dropped certain passport checks to cope with staff shortages at busy times. and will make a statement to parliament on Monday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday November 5, 2011. See PA story POLITICS Border. Photo credit should read: James Newell/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
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A FORMER Calderdale police chief who headed an investigation into the troubled UK Border Agency (UKBA) has found hundreds of thousands of people were let into the UK without being checked against a Home Office watch list.

John Vine, who used to be divisional commander for Calderdale Police and is now the independent chief inspector of the agency, found confusion, poor record-keeping and ambiguous instructions were rife in the agency and border force staff were acting without ministerial approval.

He also discovered 500,000 Eurostar passengers boarded trains in France and arrived in the UK without being checked against the warnings index of suspected terrorists and those with adverse immigration histories.

And border security checks had been suspended regularly and applied inconsistently since at least 2007.

One scheme at London’s Heathrow let students from supposedly low-risk countries in, even when they did not have the necessary entry clearance in a move which was both “potentially discriminatory and unlawful”.

Home Secretary Theresa May has said the agency will be split into two following the report’s findings.

She said: “The Vine report reveals a border force that suspended important checks without permission; that spent millions on new technologies but chose not to use them; that was led by managers who did not communicate with staff; and that sent reports to ministers that were inaccurate, unbalanced and excluded key information,”

The border force “needs a whole new management culture”, Mrs May said.

From next month, “the UK border force will be split from UKBA and will become a separate operational command, with its own ethos of law enforcement, led by its own director general, and accountable directly to ministers”.