Government strengthens UK border technology systems

More than 99% of foreign nationals from outside the EU will be tracked in and out of Britain by 2010 using the e-Borders system, says the Home Office.

More than 99% of foreign nationals from outside the EU will be tracked in and out of Britain by 2010 using the e-Borders system, says the Home Office.

The Government said its electronic border system will see every passenger being counted in and out of Britain and checked against immigration and security watch-lists by 2014.

Already, the £1.2bn e-Borders system has screened 50m passengers travelling to Britain, leading to more than 2,000 arrests, including murderers, drug dealers and sex offenders.

The e-Borders update comes as the Home Office publishes 'A Strong New Force at the Border', its strategy for ensuring the UK has secure borders.

From this month, the UK Border Agency is trialling new technology at Manchester Airport which balances high security with faster processing times at immigration control.

New facial recognition gates will use scanning equipment to compare the faces of UK and EU passengers to their biometric passports. If successful these gates could be rolled-out across the country.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, "Our hi-tech electronic borders system will allow us to count all foreign nationals in and out of the UK, while checking them against watch-lists.

"These checks make up just one part of Britain's triple ring of security, alongside fingerprint visas for three-quarters of the world's population, and the roll-out of ID cards for foreign nationals, locking people to one identity."

The strategy also lays down plans for "no fly" lists, with passengers flagged up by e-Borders subsequently barred from flying with airlines into the UK.

The UK Border Agency confirmed that its new hi-tech centre for e-Borders will be based in Manchester, and by 2010, staff there will monitor almost every foreign passenger travelling in and out of Britain.

The new centre will create up to 250 jobs for the north west of England. The UK Border Agency is signing an agreement with Manchester Airport Group to work more closely to strengthen Britain's borders and improve the experience of legitimate passengers.

Travel sector may have to redevelop systems for e-Border requirements >>

Home Office to roll out biometric technology to UK borders >>

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