Clause 20

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 15th March 2007.

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Photo of David Davies David Davies Conservative, Monmouth 10:15 am, 15th March 2007

My colleague on the Front Bench spoke at length, and eloquently and powerfully, in favour of a border security force. I do not wish to reiterate all his points. Obviously, we all agree on the problems with maintaining border controls at the moment—hence the Bill before us.

I visited Cardiff airport recently, at the invitation of customs, to see how they do things. I noticed that there were various organisations with different powers all trying to do essentially the same job—to manage immigration. I have to say that the system seemed to work fairly well in Cardiff, although, obviously, when a politician visits anywhere—[Interruption.] Yes. As we all know, unless we are all completely naive—I am sure that no Member is—when we go on visits, we tend to see what people want us to see and hear what they want us to hear.

I felt, however, that things in Cardiff were working quite well because it is a small airport with a relatively small number of people, all of whom have got to know each other and, therefore, can call upon each other for help when required. Quite often such help is required because an immigration officer with one set of powers sometimes has to ask somebody from passport control, for example, who has other powers, to intervene because they cannot do the same things. I picked up another message: the good working practices that I saw in Cardiff are not present at larger airports, such as Heathrow, or larger ports, where a greater volume of personnel cannot get to know each other in the same way. People do not know each other or who to call when they have a problem. The whole system, therefore, is rather disjointed.