UK border chief axed passport controls: Top civil servant faces sack over decision that left Britain open to terrorists and criminals

UK border chief axed passport controls: Top civil servant faces sack over decision that left Britain open to terrorists and criminals
Three senior officials suspended

Fears hundreds of thousands entered UK without crucial vetting

Staff told not to bother checking fingerprints against Home Office ‘Warnings Index’
By James Slack

Last updated at 1:19 AM on 5th November 2011

Comments (359)

Vital border checks for criminals and terrorists were secretly abandoned over the summer.

In a major new immigration fiasco, three senior officials – including the £135,000-a-year head of the UK Border Force – have been suspended.

There are fears that hundreds of thousands of travellers waltzed into Britain without crucial vetting.

Trouble ahead: Brodie Clark, head of the UK Border Force, has been suspended over serious passport blunders
Unknown to ministers, guards were allegedly told not to bother checking biometric chips on passports of citizens from outside the EU to ensure they are not fraudsters.

More worryingly, staff were also instructed not to bother checking their fingerprints or other personal details against the Home Office’s so-called Warnings Index.

More…Bungling border officials lose 124,000 asylum seekers and migrants (that’s the population of Cambridge)
Stowaway illegal immigrant who committed 20 offences is awarded £17,000 compensation after being ‘unlawfully’ jailed for four months

This contains the names of terror suspects and illegal immigrants who must be refused entry to the UK to keep the public safe.

The nightmare scenario is that a banned fanatic slipped through the net while the lax regime was in place between July and the start of this month.

It is understood the decisions were taken to keep queues at busy ports and airports to a minimum and avoid complaints by holidaymakers and tourists.

Questions to be asked: Carole Upshall, director of the Border Force South and European Operation, has also been suspended on the orders of Theresa May
The Home Secretary is said to be furious.

Border Force head Brodie Clark was suspended on Thursday after allegedly confirming that he had authorised abandoning specific checks at ports including Heathrow and Calais.

Two more top officials, Graeme Kyle, the director of the UK Border Agency at Heathrow, and Carole Upshall, director of the Border Force South and European Operation, have also been suspended on the orders of Theresa May.

She has ordered an investigation by David Wood, a former Met Police officer, to establish the scale of the scandal.

A second probe will take place into the role and activity of UKBA officials working for Mr Clark – who was once placed on gardening leave by a previous home secretary, John Reid, in an unrelated scandal concerning foreign criminals.

A senior source said criminal charges could be brought against anyone found to have put Britain’s borders at risk.

Mistake: Clark was suspended on Thursday after he abandoned checks at ports including Heathrow and Calais
The revelations come after MPs revealed how the UK Border Agency – dubbed ‘not fit for purpose by Dr Reid – had ‘lost track’ of 124,000 asylum seekers and illegal immigrants.

The latest row centres on the range of checks which UKBA officials are supposed to conduct against travellers as they arrive in the UK.

These checks are a mixture of regular measures applied to all passengers, plus additional ‘risk-based measures’ applied on the discretion of UKBA officers.

Illegal immigrant awarded £17,000 compensation
An illegal immigrant who committed 20 offences has been awarded £17,000 for being falsely imprisoned for four months.

Joseph Mjemer, 28, was given damages at the High Court for ‘loss of liberty’ while officials tried to establish where he came from so they could deport him.

His crimes included fraud and dangerous driving.
The regular measures include checking the passenger’s passport and biometric chip. This establishes if the picture inside the passport is the same as that electronically stored by the Home Office.

It is considered vital to avoid fraud and illegal immigration, and biometric chips are now fitted as standard.

In addition, passports are also checked against the Warnings Index, which contains the names of excluded foreign nationals and individuals of concern.

For non-EU ‘visa nationals’, other measures such as the verification of fingerprints are mandatory. Further risk-based measures include secondary interviews.

In July, ministers gave approval to pilot a system that would allow officials to apply a ‘risk-based approach’ to a limited number of passenger checks.

Officials say this meant that in limited circumstances EU nationals would have their biometric chip checked upon the discretion of a UKBA official instead of automatically.

In addition, EU-national children travelling with their families or in school groups would, in limited circumstances, be run against the Warnings Index upon the discretion of a UKBA official instead of automatically.

Ministers insisted all other passengers would continue to have their passport and biometric chip checked and would be checked against the Warnings Index

Easy entry: Heathrow passport control – the border agency has lost track of 124,000 asylum seekers

Shameful: Passport checks were also not carried out as effectively as they should have been at Calais
But instead, Mr Clark is alleged to have authorised UKBA officials to abandon biometric checks on non-EU nationals, the verification of the fingerprints of non-EU nationals, and Warnings Index checks.
Officials have been instructed to refuse any offer of resignation made by

Mr Clark, which would trigger a discretionary payment to him. Instead, he is likely to be fired if allegations of wrongdoing are proved.

Asked about his suspension last night, Mr Clark said: ‘Who told you that?’ He declined to comment further.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Head of UKBA Border Force Brodie Clark has been suspended.’


Pfft, words fail me at this point! Time to go….clear out the staff that cannot do their jobs right, that leave our country wide open and have caused a lot of this ‘mayhem’. I said years ago we should adopt the Australian policies of allowing people into this country…..those with qualifications who can work to the benefit of this country, those with money behind them so as not to be on benefits, not able to bring ALL of the family and it’s hangers on or cousins marrying cousins etc. It’s about time we said a big fat NO until new policies were brought in before Britain collapses altogether, which won’t be long! What a stupid, stupid man!
– Von, Leeds, 5/11/2011 9:26
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“A senior source said criminal charges could be brought against anyone found to have put Britain’s borders at risk.”—————So why haven’t Tony Blair and the rest of them been arrested?
– Andie, London, 5/11/2011 9:26
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I am sure that all the border control agency staff are British, but I am puzzled by their accents and difficulty in speaking in their mother tongue. I do sometimes feel like a stranger in my own land. – Mike, Thailand+++++++++++++++++++++Nothing is more important than border control it really is another arm of our defence forces and not just any old job. It should therefore ONLY employ people BORN in the UK who would therefore have a good command of English and no temptation to have sympathies to newcomers. Obviously the heads of department should be closely vetted for their loyalties and be under the control of Ministers NOT civil servants who think they control policy.
– Get me out of here, UK, 5/11/2011 9:25
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Great move 😐
– me, somewhere, 5/11/2011 9:24
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Just seen Keith vaz on the televisionon on this subject. The hypocrisy from a man whos party let just about let anyone into this country is astounding.
– Ripped Hunk, herts, 5/11/2011 9:23
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I look forward to the day when all these traitors can be punished for their crimes against this once great country!.
– Vladtepes,, West Country, 5/11/2011 9:23
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he’s just an overpaid puppet who does what his political masters tell him. sack him and remove all the phoney jobs but the real criminals are in downing street.
– nononsenseman, windsor, 5/11/2011 9:22
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No doubt that if he is sacked it will be with a pay off to make the average persons eyes water
– beachboy , calahonda spain, 5/11/2011 9:22
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How many future deaths of his country folk has this recklass fool caused I wonder?
– jtr, manchester, 5/11/2011 9:17
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Once again we see high paid civil servants doing a woefully incompetent job. If this is true, they should all be prosecuted and jailed for aiding terrorism. Is it any wonder the country is in the mess that it’s in with people like this running things?
– Keith Jones, Wigan, UK, 5/11/2011 9:14
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If ever there was a need for ID Cards now is the time. To hell with human rights, what about the British public’s rights?
– Tommy Cullen, South Shields, UK., 5/11/2011 9:14
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– Al, Manila Philippines, 5/11/2011 9:14
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This beleaguered country of our seems to be awash with cavalier traitors.
– Annie , Hampshire, 5/11/2011 9:13
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What’s new ,that’s how we are over run with fraudsters who play on human rights and get to stay here being kept by the british tax payer. Absolutely ludicrous, sack the bl—y lot of them, the countrys on it’s knees.
– Little Waster, Newcastle, 5/11/2011 9:09
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My partner works for UKBA. She checks passports. I regularly listen to her frustrations about her senior management. It’s my opinion that Mr Clark and those that do his bidding are totally disinterested in protecting the border, if they were then this would never have happened as even a complete fool would realise that this practise lowers our guard. My partner made a point of ignoring the instruction to relax checks as she believed it to be wrong, she cares about her job and about the security of the UK. She would do a far better job than Mr Clark. Staff at UKBA are demoralised right now. The PCS and ISU unions are dealing with many complaints of unfairness bought about mainly by a bullish and arrogant management – I can say this, I’ve seen some of the emails they’ve sent out to staff. I hope that this story doesnt demoralise those on the frontline even further and I hope that Mr Clark goes, making way for someone who cares about the UK and the staff who protect it.
– Overjoyed, Heathrow, Middlesex, 5/11/2011 9:09
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There is a reason for these checks!! We do not want all these criminals in our country! Oh well they can go and make friends with the other 124000+ illegal people in this country now….
– Sarah, UK, 5/11/2011 9:09
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they should be dismissed instantly, as a danger to the public
– jb, costa del sol, 5/11/2011 9:08
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Border guards told not to guard the border, I don’t believe the bosses would have done this without being told to by government, I can understand why most of the government wasn’t in the know, but this is all part of the plan started under Labour and continued by the Conservatives, I would bet that the heads of the UK Border Force will leave with a handsome amount of money and honours, because they have done the job asked of them by the government.
– Peter, Northamptonshire, 5/11/2011 9:08

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4 responses to “UK border chief axed passport controls: Top civil servant faces sack over decision that left Britain open to terrorists and criminals



    UKBA seem confused as to where their priorities should lie; in August, driving back from France through the tunnel, there was a ridiculous 30minute queue of 99% UK cars, which they were meticulously detaining for about 5 minutes per car, asking stupid questions of obviously ordinary Brits coming back from holiday. In my case: “Where have you been sir”? Me: “Cahors”. UKBA:”Where’s that?” Me: “France”. UKBA:”Why were you there?” Me:”Holiday”. UKBA:”Where did you stay?” Me:”At a friend’s house” UKBA:”Why aren’t they travelling with you?” Me:”Because it’s their house and they’re still there.” UKBA:”Wouldn’t it make more sense if you travelled together?” Me:”Not if they’re still there” and so on… utterly inane and pointless. No wonder they had no time left to check foreigners….
    – Tony Tooth, Buckingham, 5/11/2011 8:13

  2. Well the merger between BIA and frontline Customs is a disaster.. from the moment it came from the lips of Gordon Brown too much time has been spent on branding and marketing the UKBA…disproprtionate cross training in what were specialist customs and immigration functions has resulted in job cuts and skill dilution UNIONS and operational staff warned of this at the time. Border control is a mess and success is down to luck than focus on operational objectives. Priority is queue busting apressure bought about by quite simply a lack of human resource. If we want tight borders then investment in staff is the key intel can only take you so far. The cost of illegal immigration on the uk far outweighs the 25 k annual basic salary of an officer. They also pay tax and national insurance on their salaries too thus contributing to the economy rather than draining it. Wake up and smell the coffee pubic servants at the coal face are a great benefit to the UK its the num nuts on over inflated salaries and bonuses for leadership failures that are the drain and who lack the balls to ask for more frontline resources. You wont ever achieve more for less when it comes to the border security of the UK. Lets not kid ourselves over this…its too serious a subject.

    • Politicians are NOT trying to save money but wrecking Britain, it’s cross party otherwise all hell would have broken loose when millions were being brought into an already over-crowded island.
      No jobs, so they bring in ever more un-qualified third worlders….makes sense to whom?
      Can’t recall which American said this but it holds true: “In politics if it happens, it was meant to be that way”

      The limit that can be handed out in benefits to the worlds scroungers is around £25.000……that must make the working population of low paid Brits really happy,

      The first duty of any Government is to protect this country and her peoples…that should NOT depend on the cost- sack some ministers- council officials- spin doctors- Quangoes that cost billions.
      What i see is these Traitors making Britain no better than what Eastern European countries were under Communism, it feels the same!!

      Britain used to count folk in and out…now it’s Come on in!

      The Cloward and Piven strategy has been in operation for years now in the UK….A population too interested in their own selfish whims…have handed the country over to a mob of TRAITORS!

      Watching those UK Border control films, it amazes me, how when these guys catch illegals they are set free on a promise to report to Lunatic house or the police, thats’ the last is heard from them unless later they commit some crime.

      Channel4 before the election did a programme titled WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU….across the board 25% will be cut from every single service….that old folk would die in their homes due to cuts in health-care…it left nothing out..yet we hear the LIBLABCONS saying we’d not have done that or this,,YES THEY WOULD! civil servants behind the scenes tell them what they will do- tweaked a little by each leader to suit their electorate…it maybe still available at to watch again.

      Democracy is an illusion…thats’ what folk need to realise, 80 million plus were in the UK 2007 yet all the liars repeat- We must not allow the population to hit 70 million….Andrew Green of Migration Watch too is a Govt puppet he knows the true population figures- as does TESCO- ASDA – MORRISONS- ETC They know how much food they sell………..either for 63 million or 80 million…..Government allows them to do has they wish….the price- Keep your gobs shut!

      the link was working, removed shortly after this was sent to various people…what made me search and find this, was hearing the BBC Farming today programme mention at 5;30 am that our population was 77 million plus that was in 2007…by the way- the BNP was sent a copy- they did nothing- BNP Placemen…..

      Facts on a plate: our population is at least 77 million
      Independent on Sunday, The, Oct 28, 2007 by city eye

      It is the satatistic that dare not speak its name, though eventually it must. It has huge ramifications for the civil and political life of this country, the health of the equity markets and, most immediately, the residential property market. So don’t forget you read it here first: the population of the UK is presently somewhere between 77 and 80 million.
      The 2001 census, already hopelessly out of date and easy to avoid for those who find filling in forms a trifle inelegant, numbered us at a little under 59 million. But as statistics go, that one’s most definitely a damned lie.
      My sources for the above statement are good, but scared of admitting the truth for fear of incurring the wrath of Whitehall. It’s like the best way of monitoring illegal drug consumption: forget the pious statements from ministers – the foolproof method is to sample our water and the effluent in it. That’s easily the best way of monitoring what the nation has been consuming.
      Consumption – that’s the thing. Based on what we eat, one big supermarket chain reckons there are 80 million people living in the UK. The demand for food is a reliable indicator; as Sir Richard Branson says, you can have all the money in the world but you can only eat onelunch and one dinner.
      The supermarket in question was privately lobbying the Competition Commission to let it grow its market share. The argu- ment, reasonably enough, was that the market was far bigger than the regulator realised, so expanding the network was fair.
      I have a second, respectable, source. A major, non-commercial agricultural institution reckons there are 77 million of us in the UK. Again, its reckoning is based on what we eat.
      That faint background noise you’re hearing as you read this is the sound of everyone slithering off the record. Why? In political terms, standing behind these figures would be to toss a hand grenade into a vat of gasoline. People would be hounded out of a job for scaremongering.
      The Office for National Statistics’ figures, published last week, predict a population of 75 million by 2051. It’s an honest estimate but horribly wide of the mark because number counting doesn’t work effectively. If you want to know how many there are of us, ask a food firm.
      If the true numbers were revealed, the Little Englanders and xenophobes would come out in force about the evils of immigration. But that’s what made America great in the 19th century, and it’s a driving force of our economy right now. It’s also anti- inflationary.
      David Buik, a money manager with broker BGC Partners, was talking of “one million Eastern Europeans unaccounted for in London” on television last week. I suspect he’s right if somewhat conservative in his estimate. How many do you see working in the construction industry and waiting at tables?
      And when I say “anti-inflationary”, I mean they are getting rotten wages. Dignified by the term “cheap labour”, the hidden hordes will do well for the services sector, among others. People are assets – to maintain and to be maintained – so we are wealthier as a nation.
      All of which is reflected in strong economic demand and markets see-sawing between optimism over what we all see on the streets (that 77 million figure feels right to me) and the possibility of something nasty if the Bank of England credit-crunch prognosis is correct (to echo last week, I think next spring will be unpleasant).
      As for housing, property magnates and chief executives of housing associations alike say the expanding population means serious demand for the foreseeable future, credit crunch or no. Next week, I’ll look at the detail of this argument.
      martin@ Removed his email address Cent!
      Copyright c 2007 Independent Newspapers UK Limited. All rights owned or operated by The Independent.
      Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

      • A major, non-commercial agricultural institution reckons there are 77 million of us in the UK. Again, its reckoning is based on what we eat.

        That is where the guy was from that spoke on the BBC farming today programme… grow food they need real population figures not ficticious ones…..Ministers are PAID LIARS!

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