Latest Public Sector News

21.02.12

UK Border Force to be run independently from the UK Border Agency

Home Secretary Theresa May has told MPs that the UK Border Force is to be run independently from the UK Border Agency (UKBA). This follows revelations that hundreds of thousands of people were let into the country without appropriate checks last year.

May made a Commons Statement yesterday as the Government published a report into the relaxation of checks atUKairports and ports by John Vine, the independent chief inspector of the UKBA.

May told MPs that the report found that security checks were “suspended regularly and applied inconsistently” and border staff went “over and beyond” any reduction in checks approved by ministers.

The home secretary said the UK Border Force needed a “whole new management culture” and would be split from the UKBA from March, with Wiltshire Police chief constable Brian Moore appointed to run it.

Home Affairs Committee chairman, Labour’s Keith Vaz MP, welcomed the announcement, but urged the home secretary to carry out “root and branch” reform of the agencies. He said: “If you don’t reform these agencies properly, I warn you it will come back and bite you and other ministers in the future.”

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake called for the agency’s performance to be assessed regularly to ensure it would not “fall back into an ad-hoc, events-driven approach that was so prevalent under the previous government”.

May agreed, telling MPs the UK Border Force would be given a new operating mandate making it “absolutely clear the circumstances in which certain discretion may be applied”.

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