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Home > Inspection of the UK Border Agency in Scotland and Northern Ireland: border operations. August 2010 – January 2011.

Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency. (2011) Inspection of the UK Border Agency in Scotland and Northern Ireland: border operations. August 2010 – January 2011. London: Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency.

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This inspection assessed the work of the UK Border Agency’s border operations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It forms part of a wider inspection which is comprised of three parts: the Agency’s border operations, the Common Travel Area and representation at first tier appeals in Scotland.

At the time of the inspection, Border Force was one year into a programme integrating the work of immigration and illicit commodity detection. The UK Border Agency’s Border Force officers in Scotland and Northern Ireland work to intercept and seize illicit commodities as well as identify those who do not have the right to enter the UK. I found that the focus of staff deployment at airports is concentrated on the Primary Checkpoint, potentially at the expense of illicit commodity detection. I believe a better balance should be found by the Agency to address these competing demands.

At the ports I inspected, I was surprised to find that the Agency had not made any seizures from freight containers for the 14 month period between the end of September 2009 and our inspection in November 2010. Additionally, there were very limited class A drugs seizures over a similar timeframe.

I was also concerned that the significant challenge of managing the risks presented by small airfields and harbours has not been met. I recommend that a multi–agency approach to the risk assessment of small ports is established both locally and nationally. This would also leverage the expertise of the police who have a well established role in assessing the risks posed by terrorism and organised crime.

Overall, I found that the Agency needs to improve its intelligence picture to better inform how it will address threats to the UK border in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 

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