e-Borders is a system by which air carriers and operators of vessels submit passenger and crew details electronically prior to travel from and to the UK.
As a result of the screening system, which was introduced in 2005, there are now an average of 52 arrests per week at ports and airports across the country for a range of crimes, immigration and customs offences.
380 million passengers have been processed through the system during the last six years, which has resulted in over 10,000 arrests for murder and rape, seizures of Class A drugs and the refusal of entry to the UK for immigration offenders and ‘over-stayers’.
Commenting on the statistic, immigration minister Damian Green said: “The Government is doing more than ever before to protect the UK’s border. By checking passenger and crew information before travel, law enforcement agencies can apprehend those trying to evade justice.”
The minister continued: “From 2013 the new dedicated Border Policing Command, which is being established as part of the National Crime Agency, will further strengthen security at the border, providing leadership and co-ordination based on a single national threat assessment and strategy.”
122 carriers on over 3,000 routes provide passenger data to e-Borders. The UK’s National Border Targeting Centre screens the passenger and crew data and generates alerts as a result of intelligence and targeting.
Suspects wanted by the UK Border Agency, the police service, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and HM Revenue and Customs can then be apprehended before entering or departing the country.
Bringing offenders to justice
Adding his own views on this latest announcement from the Home Office, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for e-Borders John Donlon said: “ACPO has worked with the UK Border Agency to deliver and operate e-Borders. Police officers have been able to identify those wanted for offences before they leave or when they return to the UK, bringing offenders to justice and supporting counter-terrorist and serious crime investigations.”
Donlon went on to state: “e-Borders will develop in the future and operational opportunities will increase. Inevitably, as more routes are covered the number of arrests will grow. The police service will continue to play a major role in this work which undoubtedly helps to keep our communities safe.”
The e-Borders system now screens over 90% of flights from outside the EU and up to 55% of all journeys to and from the UK.
New capability has recently been added to the system that will enable the capture of advance passenger information from all types of transport.
The Government is extending the number of routes and carriers covered by the e-Borders system and will re-introduce exit checks by 2015.
Recent success stories for the authorities
A British national returning from Addis Ababa with a conviction for drug trafficking generated an alert which led to his interception (he was found in possession of 28.7 kg of cannabis and jailed for five years in March this year)
The arrest of a man en route for Cairo who was wanted for a rape (committed 14 years ago)
A man wanted for a £5.7 million theft was arrested on arrival from Dubai
A man arrested for a £50 million-plus fraud arrested on arrival from Dubai
a fraudster arrested at port leaving for a £37,500 holiday which he had booked on fraudulent credit cards
Last year, 126.7 million passengers were processed through e-Borders resulting in 2,700 arrests in the last year for murder and rape, seizures of Class A drugs and the refusal of entry to the UK for immigration offenders and ‘over-stayers’.
11 murderers, 22 rapists, five sex offenders, 316 violent criminals, 126 drug offences and 374 theft and burglary offences were part of the mix.