The work of the UK Border Agency (December 2011-March 2012) - Home Affairs Committee Contents

8  Intelligence

Key figures
  • 25,600 allegations about possible illegal immigrants or other immigration violations were received from the public between 9 December - 29 March
  • 98% of these were assessed within 48 hours
  • 16,000 allegations—more than 60%—contained sufficient information to justify further investigation
  • 900 allegations—4% of the total—resulted in an enforcement visit

Progress on the National Allegations Database

84. The Prime Minister called on the public to report suspected illegal immigrants to the Border Agency in a speech last October.[56] But, as our report on the Work of the UK Border Agency April-July 2011 highlights, the Agency has historically had an inconsistent approach to recording and following up on intelligence leads.[57]

85. The Border Agency is in the process of setting up a National Allegations Database to improve its performance in following up intelligence leads from the public. We welcome this development and will be monitoring the Agency's progress as this database becomes operational.

86. The Agency tells us that, as of the end of March, the design of the database has been agreed, funding secured and an assessment has been made of staffing and operational requirements needed. The Database is scheduled to be fully operational from July.[58] We are pleased to hear that the database will very soon be live. We note the fact that the Agency is having discussions over how feedback can be provided to those who report allegations when requested and appropriate, this will help to give the public confidence that genuine concerns are being investigated. We repeat our previous recommendation which is that people who make genuine complaints need to be told about the outcome.

87. The Agency gave us the following update of its enforcement activity throughout the period 9 December to 29 March:

  • 25,600 allegations were received from the public.
  • Approximately 98% of these received an initial assessment within 48 hours.
  • 16,000 allegations were judged to contain sufficient and genuine information to merit further investigation.
  • Only 900 of these were judged to contain sufficient information to justify an enforcement visit.[59]

88. Overall, only 4% of the intelligence reports received from the public resulted in an enforcement visit taking place. The Agency is performing well in assessing tip-offs from the public quickly but we are interested however in the low yield of actionable intelligence that results from these tip-offs. We will be asking the Agency to identify the main reasons for this. We understand it may be the result of the quality of the information reported to the Agency and we expect to hear from the Agency what its plan is to improve the quality of the information it receives when the database goes live.

  1. It is important for the public to know how many of the Agency's enforcement visits result in arrest and removal. We expect the Agency to provide a full breakdown of the outcomes of its enforcement visits over the period 1December 2011 to 31 March 2012 in its response to this report.

56   Prime Minister's Speech on Immigration to the Institute for Government, 10 October 2011, Back

57   Home Affairs Committee, Fifteenth Report of Session 2010-12, The Work of the UK Border Agency, April-July 2011, HC 1497, para 34-35 Back

58   Ev 53 Back

59   Ev 53. Note: 700 of these enforcement visits exposed 'illegal operations' and approximately 700 individuals were arrested. Back

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© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 23 July 2012