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”.