Supplementary memorandum from UK Border
Agency, Home Office
During my oral evidence to the Committee on
9 March in relation to the above NAO report I undertook to write
to you with regards to what the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is doing
to help counter terrorism at the border.
Programme Cyclamen is a joint initiative between
UKBA and the Home Office. It forms a key element of the UK's Counter-Terrorism
Strategy CONTEST (PROTECT) and represents a major step towards
reducing the threat to the UK from a terrorist attack. Its purpose
is to detect and deter the importation of radioactive or nuclear
materials by terrorists or criminals.
Programme Cyclamen consists of both fixed and
mobile capabilities, operated by Border Force officers. A number
of fixed portals have already been installed at major sea and
airports, known as Early Capability sites, and are operating successfully.
This is complemented by a fleet of Mobile Radiation Detection
SERCO, the system provider, are installing the
strategic fixed capability detection portals at 40 plus selected
points of entry throughout the UK. The current date for roll out
is August 2009.
Cyclamen screens a significant volume of sea
and rail traffic including containers, freight, vehicles and passengers
that pass through the portals. If there is an alarm, trained Border
Force officers will use handheld devices to further investigate
the source of the radioactivity and the type of radiation present.
The MRDUs are deployed on a risk and intelligence-led
basis throughout the UK. The Police also have access to the MRDUs
through the Border Force, for inland VIP or public events, again
on a risk basis. In such cases the MRDU would be deployed with
a Border Force crew, working in collaboration with the Police.
All of the detection equipment used is entirely
passive. It does not emit any radiation and is safe for objects
and people subject to screening.
24 March 2009