Systemic failures in Britain’s border controls

Inquiry reveals ‘systemic failures’ in border controls

Martin Bentham, Home Affairs Editor
20 Feb 2012

Major flaws in Britain’s border controls were revealed today as an official probe into the secret relaxation of security checks was published by a government watchdog.

The investigation by John Vine, the independent chief inspector of the UK Border Agency, was ordered after the sacking of immigration chief Brodie Clark by Home Secretary Theresa May.

She accused him of easing checks without authorisation in a move which critics claimed risked allowing potential terrorists and criminals to enter the country.

Mr Clark hit back by insisting that he had acted with official sanction in a spat which led to speculation that Mrs May could be forced from her job.

Mr Vine’s probe, which was published after a Commons statement by the Home Secretary, pinned the main blame, however, on systemic failures within the Border Agency over a prolonged period.

He also found that problems began before the current government took power, as well as continuing until the dismissal of Mr Clark last year.

Mr Vine launched his investigation after it emerged the UK’s border checks were being relaxed at ports and airports without ministerial approval.

Mr Clark quit his 40-year career in the Home Office in November after being blamed by Mrs May and has begun a constructive dismissal case against her.

Downing Street said David Cameron had been briefed on the report’s findings.

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