UK Border Force

Home Office written question – answered on 17th March 2020.

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Photo of Antony Higginbotham Antony Higginbotham Conservative, Burnley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to strengthen the UK Border Force.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Since 2018, Border Force staffing has increased from 7,700 to over 8,700 to boost wider operational resilience. This includes a brand-new Readiness Task Force (RTF) of c. 300 multi-functional officers, available to deploy across the UK at short notice in response to emerging issues and peaks in demand.

The Government is developing a new global border and immigration system that makes better use of data, biometrics, analytics and automation to improve both security and fluidity across the border

We intend to introduce a requirement for visitors and transit passengers who do not currently need a visa to come to the UK to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), as an additional security measure. This will enable the Government to conduct security checks on passengers and make more informed decisions on information obtained at an earlier stage, as to whether individuals should be allowed to travel to and enter the UK.

We are also investing in new technology, including ePassport gates and other modern detection technology to improve security and prevent illegal entry.

As previously announced, we intend to phase out the acceptance of EEA and Swiss national identity cards to enter the UK in the future. National identity cards are often the most insecure and forged documents detected at the border and are not compatible with the ePassport gates. By making better use of digital technology and automation, Border Force will be able to provide an improved service whilst maintaining security.

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