Home Office terminates e-Borders data collection scheme
Home Office has terminated its e-Borders data collection scheme after facing years of problems, the head of the UK Border Force announced yesterday.
Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sir Charles Montgomery said the e-Borders scheme has been “terminated in its current form, and has been absorbed into a new Border Systems Procurement exercise that would help improve the operation of the Home Office’s Warnings Index that aims to check on dangerous individuals and other security programmes.”
Designed in 2003, the e-Borders scheme was meant to collect and update advance passenger information (API) on both inbound and outbound journeys to and from the UK and was launched by the ex prime minister Tony Blair.
It was expected to cost £536m from 2007 -15, however, the US firm Raytheon was fired by coalition government in 2010 for its “disappointing performance” and the contract was split into two with IBM and Secro to get the system in place at nine airports before 2012 London Olympics.
The programme was set to collect data on at least 95% of passenger movements by December 2010 but it only recorded 65% until last year and failed to meet its promises.
Last October, the chief inspector of borders and immigration, John Vine, had said: “The programme needed a major rethink as airports across the country were not meeting those with terrorist alerts against them on arrival and not one person had been stopped boarding a plane to the UK.”
Initially planned to help stop criminals and terror suspects entering the UK the scheme failed to check on a third of passengers due to legal difficulties in collecting API on European flights as well as through trains and sea routes.
The UK Border Force now plans to implement a new system of exit checks on people leaving the UK replacing the e-Borders scheme by 2015 elections.