Destinations

Head of UK Border Control to step down following the Olympics

Jul 11, 2012 3:19 am

Skift Take

Brian Moore’s security background caused him to focus on borders strictly as a security issue rather than a savvy combination of strict controls and good will that border and customs officials must exhibit.

— Jason Clampet

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Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: David Millward

Brian Moore, the head of the Border Force, is to step down from his post at the end of September after being heavily criticised over lengthy delays at immigration desks.

Earlier this year Mr Moore, who was appointed as interim chief of the Force had told MPs that he intended to apply for the post full-time.

But, amid a barrage of criticism Mr Moore, who was on secondment from Wiltshire Police which was paying his £133,000 annual salary, has had a change of heart and decided to “pursue other options in his policing career.”

His departure was confirmed by Damian Green, the immigration minister, when he appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee.

“He has decided to do what he was brought in to do, be the interim head on secondment,” Mr Green told MPs.

Mr Moore had come under fire over the amount of time passengers faced clearing immigration formalities, especially at Heathrow.

He also was criticised for appearing to accept lengthy queues, insisting that his first priority was to protect Britain’s borders.

Mr Moore was also criticised by staff, who questioned his priorities when, against a backdrop of meltdown at a number of ports, he imposed new appearance standards on officials manning immigration desks.

Meanwhile Mr Green, who endured an uncomfortable session in front of the Committee, said all immigration desks will be manned at peak times during the Olympics to avoid competitors and officials being engulfed in the chaos which has beset Heathrow in recent months.

More than 500 trained staff have been taken on to bolster those at the airport already with Heathrow bracing itself for more than 100,000 arrivals a day – nearly a third more than usual.

However, he ruled out easing controls to cut delays.

“Everyone agrees the border must be secure, we don’t want border-based checks which don’t leave the border as secure as it should be”

MPs also heard that the Border Force will run fresh trials of a fast track immigration system after the Olympics for passengers from “low-risk” countries such as the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

An early trial had not been “particularly successful”, Mr Green added. “The pilot did not work particularly well because it involved moving people around the terminal to different queues.

“We intend to return to it,” Mr Green said. “Let’s get the Olympics out of the way.”

Should the trial be successful Mr Green hoped that reciprocal arrangements could be put in place which would see similar concessions offered to British passengers.

Meanwhile the UK Border Agency, which is responsible for enforcing immigration controls within Britain, is to bring in a private firm to track down up to 150,000 missing migrants who have been refused permission to remain in Britain.

The total could be rising by 100 a day as visas expire, Mr Green added.

It is unknown how many of those who have been refused permission to remain in Britain have left.

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