Home affairs - Minutes of EvidenceHC 604

Oral Evidence

Taken before the Home Affairs Committee

on Tuesday 18 September 2012

Members present:

Keith Vaz (Chair)

Mr James Clappison

Michael Ellis

Dr Julian Huppert

Alun Michael

Mark Reckless

Mr David Winnick


Examination of Witness

Witness: Brian Moore QPM, Director General, UK Border Force, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair: I call the Committee to order and refer all those present to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, where the interests of all members of this Committee are noted. I welcome the head of the UK Border Force, Brian Moore, for our examination, which we are doing on a four-monthly basis, of the UKBA and the UK Border Force. Mr Moore, welcome. On 22 May you told this Committee that it was your intention to apply for the permanent post as head of the UK Border Force, following your appointment by the Home Secretary to the position on a temporary basis. Many of us were surprised to note the fact that you had not applied for this post. Are you able to tell the Committee what changed your mind?

Brian Moore: You will see at question 246 of that session of 22 May that I said that I had not, in fact, given the process more than a minute’s thought and that I was absolutely focused on delivering a safe and secure Olympic Games, and so on.

Chair: Yes, we did.

Brian Moore: So I did not give the Committee a categorical assurance that I would be applying. I have considered my position around this and I have decided that I would not apply for the post of head of the Border Force, and I have not done so.

Q2 Chair: Can you tell us why? You refer to the question. It is quite clear we understand what your intention is, because I was making the point that what the Border Force needed was stability. In question 244 I did say, "This must be a bit of a problem not knowing what is going to happen. Do you have an intention of applying for this job? Is that right?" and you replied, "I am intending to apply". So the Committee, which was looking for stability, and presumably the Government was looking for stability, took that answer to mean you would apply. We know you have decided not to apply. Could you tell the Committee why? We are just interested to know why. It could be personal reasons; it could be you do not like the job; you did not like the furnishings in the office; but I think we would like to have a reason as to why the head of the UK Border Force, who was appointed after a major crisis at the agency, has decided not to proceed with an application. That is all. We are very happy to accept, in the same spirit that we accepted your answer last time, the reasons why you are not applying. It is a reasonable question for a public official charged with such an important job.

Brian Moore: Yes. Firstly, I did not in any way intend to mislead you or this Committee.

Chair: No, of course not; I am not saying you did.

Brian Moore: Thank you. For a range of personal and professional reasons, I have decided not to apply for the post. I will not be able to say anything further about that, Mr Vaz.

Q3 Chair: I have seen in the Sunday Times the advertisement for your successor. We have been asking Ministers when this job was going to be advertised. It is a £140,000, London-based job, with some national and international travel, which is presumably what you have been doing. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, 4 October. Obviously, there will then be interviews by head-hunters. Were you aware of the process? We are concerned that you may be leaving the post before a permanent person has been appointed. Your post was for how long when you were appointed by the Home Secretary? When she phoned you and offered you the job, because she made this clear to the House, how long were you given the job for?

Brian Moore: I think there are three issues there. I have played no part in the selection process. I have not seen that advert. There is an interim person taking over tomorrow morning called Tony Smith, a very senior director with a 40-year career in immigration work, who will be running the Border Force from hereon in until a substantive appointment is made. I was not contacted by the Home Secretary directly-I was contacted by the Home Office-and my secondment ran from 1 March to 31 August. I have stayed on slightly longer because of appearances before the Public Accounts Committee and this Committee, Mr Vaz.

Q4 Chair: Is this your last day in your job?

Brian Moore: That is correct.

Q5 Chair: So you can feel free to help the Committee in respect of issues concerned with the Border Force. We would like you to speak freely about these matters since you do not have to go back to the office tomorrow.

Brian Moore: I always try to help the Committee to the best of my ability, Mr Vaz.

Q6 Chair: Excellent. Mr Smythe will take over your job. What is his position at the moment at the Home Office? We have not been notified of this.

Brian Moore: Mr Smith.

Chair: Mr Smith?

Brian Moore: Mr Smith, yes. He has been the director responsible jointly between the UK Border Agency and Border Force for delivering the Olympic plan, which hopefully you would agree has been a very successful operation for the Border Force and the UKBA. Tony was our operational commander in terms of planning, preparation and executing the day-to-day running of the operation on behalf of both organisations throughout the Olympics. He is a very experienced colleague.

Q7 Chair: What will happen to you? Are you going back to your force in Wiltshire, or are you retiring from public life?

Brian Moore: I am not going back to Wiltshire. I will be retiring from the police service, and I will be pursuing such other opportunities that may arise.

Q8 Chair: Thank you. Let us go on to the Olympics and talk about the way in which the Olympics operated. On behalf of the Committee, I would like to congratulate you, as head of the UK Border Force, for the way in which you delivered the Olympics. You have tried to shift some of the praise on to Mr Smith, but you were the head of the force. If it had gone wrong, we certainly would have been very cross with you, but we were very pleased with the way in which it was delivered. You must be very satisfied that at the end of the day there were no problems of any kind that spoilt the operation of the UK Border Force. Do you share that delight at the success of the Olympic operation?

Brian Moore: I am pleased that the Olympics went as well as they did from a Border Force perspective, and I will be pleased to pass on this Committee’s congratulations to the men and women of the Border Force and the other departments that supported us.

Q9 Chair: Could you then deal with a couple of the points that came up during the Olympics? Admittedly, they are newspaper reports, but you might want to comment on this in view of what you told this Committee about training. You will recall, since you have looked at your evidence from the last time you appeared before the Committee, we were concerned about the length of time given for training those who were coming in at short notice to deal with the Olympics. I think that you said in answer to me, "Our contingency staff receive two periods of training, which actually amounts to two weeks and one day". You compared that to the full three-week period that I had referred to in my question.

Brian Moore: Yes.

Chair: Do you feel that that was adequate for the work that they were given?

Brian Moore: Yes, I do feel that was adequate for the tasks that they were required to do.

Q10 Chair: But you have seen these newspaper reports in which the concern was that in many cases people were sent back to their home ports. Having arrived at a particular airport to deal with issues, they were then sent back because they were not required. There was also concern about a number of breaches of security. I will not go down the list. Do you still feel that the training that was given was adequate, bearing in mind the problems that did occur? Admittedly they were minor problems, but there were concerns about people being let in who perhaps should not have been let in. None of these crossed your desk?

Brian Moore: Of course, as the head of the Border Force, I was concerned about every aspect of the Olympics. The training that was provided to our staff, for the reasons you described earlier, was adequate because we delivered a very secure, safe, fast, friendly Olympics for people arriving in this country. I have carefully audited to make sure that no individual of counter-terrorist, security, exclusion order, deportation order, travel ban, no-fly check, people with paedophile conditions attached to any sentence entered the United Kingdom, according to our audit processes, which are very significant, during this period. There was no breach of security involving any high-calibre, highly dangerous individual of the kind that would worry you and me and, of course, our public. Our audit processes assure me that that did not happen. I remain and maintain that our training for these staff was adequate.

Q11 Chair: Let us just deal with the figures. Before the Olympics you took on additional people, which we will call the contingency figure, or the contingency squad, who came in there to open all the kiosks to make sure people could get in, and that is why you met all your targets. Is the contingency figure still there? Do you still have the contingency operating, or have they now dissipated?

Brian Moore: So we can be very accurate about this, the contingency staff, in fact, were established in June 2011 because of the threats and, indeed, actual strike action by members of unions in Border Force. It is a contingency force, as I gave evidence last time, that had been in place for a year prior to the Olympics.

Q12 Chair: Yes, but numbers went down. They were not actually put in place until the Olympic period began. That is right, isn’t it?

Brian Moore: No, we began using contingency staff from the beginning.

Q13 Chair: What numbers are you talking about, Mr Moore?

Brian Moore: The numbers increased week on week.

Q14 Chair: Yes, but can you just give us some figures?

Brian Moore: I would say from 100 to 200 from May through to at the peak of the Olympics up to 750, even on occasion on very, very high peak days as high as 8001.

Q15 Chair: What started as a contingency figure of 100 in May went up to between 700 and 800 at peak times during the Olympics?

Brian Moore: That is correct.

Q16 Chair: Are they still there, or have they now been reduced in numbers? The Committee was very concerned when the Minister came about the arrival of overseas students in September. We have had no reports of delays at Heathrow and other airports in the south, so you leave your job in a position where there are no complaints about targets not being hit. Does that mean the contingency is still there? If so, how many are we talking about?

Brian Moore: On average per day, 130 members of the contingency staff are deployed at Heathrow and a further, on average per day, 60 to 65 members of the contingency staff deploy to other ports around the country to meet, as you say, the large numbers of student arrivals that started last week and run through until October.

Q17 Chair: When will their role be completed, or are you saying they are like a standing army; they are there to be used whenever there is a problem at the Border Force? Will they now come to an end as a separate unit, or will they continue as a standing force to be deployed?

Brian Moore: They are not a separate unit. They are just part of the makeup of the staffing of the Home Office. They are ordinary colleagues from across different parts of the Home Office, so they are not a separate entity in that way. They have done a really good job, so I think we would be wise to have them in the background should we need them, should any particular issue arise for us. But we have started recruiting full-time members of the Border Force during the summer, and I anticipate a point later in this autumn where we will have sufficient of those people-new colleagues-in place and trained, so that they can take over some of the functions that the contingency force are now managing. The contingency staff will taper down as the new recruits rise in numbers, so that we can maintain a secure border with the kind of fast and fair service that we have become accustomed to.

Q18 Mr Clappison: How do you assess morale in the Border Force?

Brian Moore: I think before the Olympic period and during the difficult spring months the Border Force’s morale was patchy. However, I ran a whole series of staffing events during April and May. I saw the 4,500 colleagues personally, and they all filled out anonymous feedback questionnaires. I think the sense of direction that they got was quite a boost to morale. The majority of colleagues who participated in the Olympics have seen our great country at its absolute best, and I do not think anyone could not have been inspired by that experience. Staff are aware of that learning from the Olympics and further recruitment is going on as we speak, so things are in relatively good shape.

Q19 Mr Clappison: You have suggested, and you have just been talking about, more flexible working arrangements. How do you see this being achieved after your departure?

Brian Moore: I think it is an important part of the future efficiency of the Border Force that staff are engaged and deployed as flexibly as possible to make sure that our public are protected. Some really good work has gone on over the last 18 months to put our staff on to annualised hours, so across a year rather than across a week, we can call upon the hours we need according to the circumstances before us. About 62% of the Border Force migrated into that annualised hours pattern. About 20% of our Customs staff who came to us at the amalgamation were already on a form of that, so we are at about 80% now. With the new recruitments taking place, those 425 to 500 colleagues in total will join this annualised hours cohort, which will take us up to approaching 90% of the Border Force able to give us this greater flexibility2. The projection trajectory looks quite good.

Q20 Mr Clappison: Do you have any view on how private-sector contractors could be used in future?

Brian Moore: I have thought that, like any Government Department, we should be carefully exploring what extra skills and/or flexibilities alternative providers might be able to bring, of course provided that the security of our country is paramount, that Ministers and senior officials absolutely retain control of security. I think it is appropriate to be exploring those things in the future now that the Olympics are over.

Q21 Michael Ellis: Mr Moore, we have gone through the Olympics and the Paralympics. We have also had the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year, so it has been a very busy year and a very successful one so far. We have seen, as you have mentioned, Britain at its best this year. The Border Force has come in for a fair share of criticism, but certainly as far as the arrangements are concerned for the Olympics and Paralympics, it has done well, so you are to be congratulated for that. Can you say something about the turnaround that you achieved as far as queue times are concerned? There were reports earlier in the year about queue times being too long when coming in. We did not get reports of that during the very busy period of the Olympics, and I understand that Rio is looking at those arrangements with a view to emulating our experience. What lessons can be drawn from that experience in terms of keeping queue times reasonable?

Brian Moore: It is about tactics; there are no magic solutions. Of course, having the right number of resources trained to undertake the functions, and we have discussed some of that; making sure that they are, not surprisingly, on duty when the peaks of traffic flow are approaching; making sure that the data that we rely upon about any fluctuations in arriving passenger traffic is known early and managers take responsibility for moving resources very quickly to meet those demands. Command and control-the new Heathrow command and control room that I told you about when last here-has shown itself to be a very helpful asset during this Olympic period. Increased supervision on the ground, making sure there are enough managers and supervisors, where necessary, harrying people to get to the checkpoints quickly to make sure that passenger traffic is dealt with promptly. There are a range of tactics that we have learnt from, and going forward I think there is the issue of modelling passenger traffic. We receive a lot of passenger data. Our models are working hard to give us a robust future-facing model, so that we can predict and can plan well into the future to make sure our staff are deployed well in advance and sensibly.

Q22 Michael Ellis: Are you getting co-operation from the airlines? We have taken evidence in this Committee before from the airlines. Are you getting co-operation from the airlines if they are changing arrival times and the varying numbers that come in? The peaks and flows, the ebbs and troughs of traffic can have a serious effect on queues. If you were not expecting, for example, a backlog, a quiet time can become a very busy time if flights have been delayed for weather reasons or things of that sort and you do not have enough staff to deal with an influx of passengers. Are you happy with the co-operation of the airlines as far as that is concerned?

Brian Moore: Since I have been in it, I have seen improvements in the working relationships with the ports and the carriers. We now need to make that a data feed, rather than an issue of personal relationships. As ever, the people working, joined at the hip on the ground so to speak, work together well. We just need to make this more systematic, and where possible and where it is appropriate to do so have that in a data system feed so there is one picture of what is going on known at the same time to all the agencies who play a part in security, but also getting people through the border promptly where it is appropriate to do so.

Q23 Alun Michael: We had an international drugs conference here in Parliament last week, hosted by the Committee. At that conference, the Portuguese Minister for Health challenged us to deal with the UK’s part in the growing European market for legal highs. Can you tell us what the Border Agency is doing to monitor and control the export of legal highs?

Brian Moore: The Border Agency, did you say, sir?

Alun Michael: Sorry, the Border Force.

Brian Moore: The Border Force role is largely about the importation. We are a border coming this way, if you will.

Q24 Alun Michael: The point that the Minister was making was that borders go in two directions. Obviously, control of materials going out is what he was asking about, so that is why I am asking you about it. Are you saying the force does nothing to control?

<?oasys [pc10p0] ?>Brian Moore: No, I would never say that. I was just trying to understand who you were talking about and what direction. Principally, inland investigations will be led by the responsible police force or the Serious Organised Crime Agency or inland investigation activity-

Q25 Alun Michael: Yes, but I was asking about the Border Force’s role, because that is what you are responsible for.

Brian Moore: Indeed. Where we acquire intelligence about the exportation of material from the United Kingdom, of course we will work with other agencies to prevent that happening. We are really an end-user market for drugs-our production of drugs is not quite on the scale of importations-and we are largely directed towards importation, but where we come across intelligence we will, of course, deal with it properly.

Q26 Alun Michael: I understand that if something came from a police force or from another agency you would respond to that information.

Brian Moore: Yes.

Alun Michael: It does suggest that the Portuguese Minister was asking a good question. Is this something that you will suggest to your successors they should look at with some urgency?

Brian Moore: Of course. The Border Force is as keen to make sure that we are not exporting problems as well as importing them.

Q27 Alun Michael: You are accepting-are you?-that his question is a legitimate one because you do not have any focus on that at the moment.

Brian Moore: I was not at this conference, so I can’t say exactly what he said.

Q28 Alun Michael: Well, it is very simple. He was identifying the fact that the source of a lot of legal highs is the UK and it is regarded by Portugal and other European countries as being a problem that we ought to be doing something to address. That is why the question-is this a priority for the Border Force?

Brian Moore: Any intelligence about the flow of drugs across our border in either direction will be important to us, and we will take appropriate steps to manage that. What I am saying is the majority of the flow of drugs is into the United Kingdom, so not surprisingly most of our effort is geared towards preventing drugs coming in. But where intelligence is available to us and other law enforcement organisations we will deal with it.

Q29 Alun Michael: A final question on this point: are you sure that that is the case? The implication that we were given was that flow from the UK is significant and that we ought to be doing more about it.

Brian Moore: I will happily look further. I was not at the conference, so I do not know what this informed speaker said. He and others are always right to challenge our country. We want to be as strong in law enforcement terms as we possibly can. I will happily find out-

Q30 Alun Michael: So you will make sure that a fresh look is taken at it and we are given some further information after that?

Brian Moore: Yes, sir.

Q31 Alun Michael: In the report on border checks, the Chief Inspector found that there were-and I use his words-significant discrepancies between records of suspensions in border checks between ports and the central records. What changes have you put in place to make sure that there cannot be such discrepancies now or in the future?

Brian Moore: Every six hours, every port must report to me at the centre that all security checks have been complied with, and where for whatever reasons occasionally it has not been possible to do that, we get a report from the port into the centre. Every day, we report to Ministers that checks have been maintained, or in any small numbers of cases where it has not been possible for whatever reason, that Ministers are aware. We have tightened up greatly. Staff are briefed at the start of every tour of duty, when they come on duty, about these things. We have tightened up very considerably.

Q32 Alun Michael: Are you satisfied that that is a system that is not only happening as a matter of routine but is effectively ensuring that you are getting the full facts?

Brian Moore: I am. Of course, the independent Chief Inspector remains very active in this area. He undertook a snap inspection at Heathrow in April and reported in July that he found that 100% of checks had been carried out.

Q33 Chair: Are you aware of the pilot that was introduced in July this year, a pilot of measures to deal with children arriving in the United Kingdom as part of an accompanied and organised school group during the summer? You are aware of that?

Brian Moore: Yes, sir, I was.

Q34 Chair: That represents, of course, a return to the situation that we had to some extent under Brodie Clark, because discretion was given to immigration officers that they would allow in children from the EEA. That is right, isn’t it?

Brian Moore: I cannot say what Mr Clark did or did not do. I have not been party to any of that history.

Q35 Chair: No, I understand that, but you must know why you were appointed in the first place. You must have read the report of the Committee and read John Vine’s report. I would be amazed if you took the job without reading the reports. In the reports, it is very clear that the reason why Brodie Clark left was because of this relaxation, but this has now been restored in July of this year and the immigration officials were given discretion to allow in children from EEA countries. That is right, isn’t it?

Brian Moore: I do not think the two situations can be compared.

Q36 Chair: How is it different? No, first of all, is it in the discretion of the immigration officer to allow in children from EEA countries who are on an organised visit, for example, without their passports being swiped?

Brian Moore: That is correct.

Q37 Chair: It is correct?

Brian Moore: It is correct, but-

Q38 Chair: So it is a relaxation? It is going back to a risk-based system?

Brian Moore: I do not think it is going back to anything that took place before, Mr Vaz.

Q39 Chair: It is going forward to what then?

Brian Moore: It is going forward to a place where the things that Ministers have always said are being complied with. One, there is a robust evidence base that any change in the security steps being taken in respect of individuals is based upon strong evidence that people pose no harm; and two, any pilot is thoroughly evaluated.

Q40 Chair: But that is exactly what this Committee has said. In our recommendations, if you have read our report, this is the situation, as it was previously, that those who came on organised visits were allowed to come in on the discretion of the immigration officer if they came from an EEA country. This is no different to what happened before. It is very much back to the future. You must accept this.

Brian Moore: I am not sure I do.

Q41 Chair: It is different from 100% checks, isn’t it? If you are allowing in children on an organised visit from an EEA country in the discretion of an immigration officer who does not swipe a passport, irrespective of everything this Committee and Parliament has said about children coming in without being checked, that is not 100% checks, is it? It is either a yes or a no.

Brian Moore: I think we need to disassemble that what was taking place last year is not the same as is going on now.

Q42 Chair: But you said you did not know what was happening last year anyway. You could not tell the Committee.

Brian Moore: I am saying I do not believe that what was happening last year is the same as is happening now. I do not know Mr Clark. I do not know what was in his mind, and I do not know what-

Q43 Chair: No, we are not asking you to look into Mr Clark’s mind. I think the Committee and others have done that very adequately. I am asking what the result of your decision in July has been. You have reintroduced a pilot, which means that there are not 100% checks any more. It is either a yes or a no.

Brian Moore: We have introduced a pilot, just so that we are absolutely clear, that Border Force staff will check the accompanying adults-do all the checks that they are supposed to in respect of the accompanying adults-but in respect of the children, it will not be necessary to open the biometric chip on their passport and run that through our computer systems. That is what is happening on a piloted basis, and so far it has speeded up the throughput.

Q44 Chair: Absolutely, because that is exactly what the Committee recommended; that is what Mr Clark was doing. The point is if you do not swipe a passport on arrival, you cannot check it against a warning index.

Brian Moore: That is correct.

Q45 Chair: There could be children who are coming in who may be on a warning index, at risk or whatever, from an EU country and they are being allowed in because of your pilot.

Brian Moore: Well, no, because-

Q46 Chair: How would you find out, then?

Brian Moore: Because as well there is a randomised control. This is about the evaluation of the pilot. I will not go into detail, but there are some randomised checks being done at the same time to make sure that the evidence base is remaining constant. Of course, to get to this point, we have searched hundreds and hundreds of thousands of the records of children3.

Chair: Of course.

Brian Moore: I think that if you are suggesting that there may be some detriment to children, there is no evidence of that.

Q47 Chair: Mr Moore, I accept there are randomised checks, but what the Home Secretary was talking about was 100% checks. What you are saying is that children coming from EEA countries are able to enter the United Kingdom without their passports being swiped, so they are not checked against a warning index, but there is a randomised check to make sure that there is no problem.

Brian Moore: In part, we have-

Q48 Chair: Is that a yes or a no, not "in part"?

Brian Moore: It is never quite that straightforward, Mr Vaz. The evidence-

Q49 Chair: Would you accept there is a difference between 100% and less than 100%? It is not 100% checks?

Brian Moore: What I am saying is that there have been hundreds of thousands of records checked of children to work out-

Chair: I think we are not going to make much progress. If you cannot accept that if you are not checking children’s passports it is not 100% checks, then I think we have a problem of communication here. This is certainly what the Committee recommended, but I am surprised that you are not being very specific about this, as we have asked you to be.

Q50 Mark Reckless: Mr Moore, the Chief Inspector in his report prior to your appointment said, "There is nothing I have discovered which could not have been identified and addressed by senior managers exercising proper oversight". How have you improved management at the Border Force since that statement was made?

Brian Moore: As I have indicated earlier, I saw all members of the Border Force to set out what is expected and required of them going forward. I have separately met the 110 senior officers in the Border Force and made it exactly clear that one of our high priorities is that they must be very effective managers. There is a process under way to make sure that their training, selection-all the things that give them real managerial grip-are being addressed and that they maintain the very high standards that I, and I am sure those who follow me, will want to see maintained in the Border Force.

Q51 Mark Reckless: Could I ask specifically about Graeme Kyle, who was one of the senior managers involved with Heathrow. There was some criticism, obviously, of Brodie Clark made, but also about the operational management at Heathrow. Is he still in that position, and are you happy with how things are now managed in that area?

Brian Moore: I do not know Mr Kyle, but I can say he is not in the Border Force. He is not at Heathrow. We have a new team at Heathrow that has been in place since last November. As you have seen, they have done a very good job in delivering a strong Olympics at Heathrow.

Q52 Mark Reckless: The Chief Inspector, and I believe also this Committee, have recommended that the lines of responsibility between the Border Force, the Border Agency and the Home Office be clarified. Has that now happened? Is there sufficiently clear distinction between the force, the agency and the Home Office?

Brian Moore: Yes. I say that there has been. For the last six months, a transition programme has been under way to make sure that there is absolute clarity between the roles between the UK Border Agency and the Border Force. There is a specific team jointly working for both, overseen by a senior independent colleague of both agencies, to make sure the transition progress is progressing well. Most areas are now addressed, but of course, it does take some months. We anticipate that we will not need the transition process by the end of this calendar year and that sufficient will have been done for the two organisations to fully understand it. Both agencies are under the purview of the same performance regime in the Home Office, the same Permanent Under-Secretary and, of course, the same Minister, so the process is progressing reasonably.

Q53 Mark Reckless: In May, you told us that you hoped to have a new management board up and running by September. Has that happened?

Brian Moore: I said September or possibly slightly later. The first board will meet on 2 October.

Mark Reckless: Okay, we will not quibble over those two dates. Thank you.

Q54 Chair: It is only 48 hours, so we will accept that you intended to do this and it was done.

Brian Moore: Thank you.

Q55 Chair: Can I ask one final question about what the Minister told this Committee about fast-track lanes for citizens from old Commonwealth countries after the Olympics? Is there any further work going on on this, or was that just something that was an idea that was floated?

Brian Moore: No, it is an idea that officials are now discussing with the various port operators. We will be giving our views back to Ministers very shortly for them to consider whether or how they wish to progress with some of the ideas that the officials and port operators have been working on.

Q56 Chair: So it is still being pursued?

Brian Moore: As an idea, it is being pursued.

Q57 Chair: Is it being pursued on the basis of British citizens having the same facilities at, for example, countries of the old Commonwealth, or is it just one way?

Brian Moore: No, I think the concept would embrace in particular high-value business people from various countries.

Q58 Chair: The very rich, the super rich?

Brian Moore: Well, no, just people who are valued by the economy, valued by the airlines, to demonstrate that Britain is open for business. It will be quite a broad concept in terms of the kinds of people who may be eligible.

Q59 Chair: No, I understand that the types of people are very important. I did not realise it was economics-based. Would it mean that we, our British super-rich people who wish to go to one of these old Commonwealth countries, are going to be able to get a separate line to get into those countries, or is it just because of Heathrow?

Brian Moore: It is not just because of Heathrow. A number of these arrangements operate around the world already, so the United Kingdom is not out of step.

Q60 Chair: We could have lanes in Australia just for British?

Brian Moore: I believe there are such lanes elsewhere in the world. I do not have a detailed list with me here and now, but these facilities do exist elsewhere.

Chair: For British citizens alone?

Brian Moore: For, again, high-value citizens as they are considered by-

Q61 Chair: So not just British citizens?

Brian Moore: Not just British citizens.

Q62 Chair: Are you talking about first-class fast-track?

Brian Moore: There are a range of these different schemes operated by different carriers in different places, but generally it relates to people who are considered to be valuable passengers and/or valuable to the economy.

Q63 Chair: Mr Moore, you have done this job for a few months. Did you enjoy it? Is it what you expected?

Brian Moore: I found the Border Force is an organisation with considerable potential, and we have seen good evidence of that during the Olympics. We have talked with this Committee before about there is work to get the terms and conditions of the staff right. We want to increase our ability to access and use intelligence to protect our country, and we want to make sure that the Border Force is as efficient as possible. So it is an organisation with good potential, but of course, there are still challenges ahead for it.

Q64 Chair: But did you enjoy the job?

Brian Moore: I always enjoy the job, provided it entails keeping our public safe.

Mr Winnick: No politician could say otherwise.

Chair: Mr Moore, thank you very much for giving evidence twice to this Committee in the short time you have been head of the Border Force. We wish you the best of luck for the future, whatever it will be. We will be looking with interest to see where you are going.

Brian Moore: Thank you, Mr Vaz.

[1] Note by witness: This is a weekly figure and translates to around 600 per day.


[2] Note by witness: Correct figure is 85%.

[3] Note by witness: It is in fact hundreds of records.

Prepared 23rd October 2012