Home Affairs CommitteeLetter from Brian Moore, Director General, Border Force, to the Chair of the Committee, 20 June 2012

Thank you for your letter of 29 May 2012 in which you requested additional information following my recent evidence session on 22 May 2012. I am sorry that we missed the deadline that the Committee had set for a response. Please find responses to your questions below.

Questions 1–4: Staff Rostering & Deployment

The majority of Border Force officers work annualised hours working (AHW) which gives the flexibility to change, extend or curtail shifts with less than seven days’ notice. Minimum staffing levels are continually reviewed to ensure demand is met and changes are made when demand increases. In general, outline rosters are prepared and agreed a year in advance as part of the AHW (this is in line with the AHW contracts) and amendments are then made as necessary to refine requirements as traffic projections are finalised. Rosters are kept under regular review as flight and passenger information is provided to us by airlines. Under AHW shifts are generally confirmed 7 days before the start of a shift.

This is the point at which Border Force would be able to increase the total number of staff on duty. However, as I explained when I appeared before the Committee, Border Force has mobile teams who are multi-skilled and able to deal with immigration and customs work that can be flexibly deployed to deal with surges in passenger numbers.

Question 5: JBDC and NBTC Alerts

The National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC) opened in March 2010 and replaced the Joint Border Operations Centre (JBOC), which closed in May 2010. Therefore JBOC did not issue any alerts in past 6 months.

Between November 2011 and April 2012 the NBTC issued 27,759 alerts in relation to passenger movements, both inbound and outbound, across the UK Border.1 Any further detail about the figures would potentially be a security threat.

Question 6: Short Term Holding Facilities

As I outlined during my appearance, currently passengers refused entry to the UK at the Primary Control Point (eg under Schedule 2 of the 1971 Immigration Act) may be placed into short term holding facilities (STHF), and are under the jurisdiction of Border Force. In circumstances where the matter is more complicated, UKBA Returns Directorate is responsible for providing the service to man the STHF using contractor Detention Custody Officers.

This is the current situation, but this arrangement is under review following the separation of Border Force from UKBA. Going forward both Rob Whiteman and I want to ensure that the handoffs between the Border Agency and the Border Force are managed well and this is an area that we are reviewing.

Questions 7 & 8: Staff Numbers

Please find a table below showing the number of FTE employees employed by the Border Force at the end of March 2011 and March 2012; data on this is collected on a financial year basis.

March 2011

March 2012

Border Operations & Change

95

88

Central Services

207

195

Customs, National Operations & Performance

581

624

Heathrow

1,707

1,530

North region

1,068

1,023

Central region

1,292

1,214

South & Europe Region

2,840

2,659

TOTAL

7,790

7,333

There have been a number of changes in Border Force over the last two years. As a result the responsibilities of the groups detailed above may not be directly comparable year on year.

Question 9: Service Level Agreements

The percentage of EU/EEA passengers who have cleared immigration within the Border Force’s target processing time over the past year (April 2011 to April 2012) is 98.4%.

The percentage of non EEA passengers who have cleared immigration within the Border Force’s target processing time over the past year (April 2011 to April 2012) is 95.6%.

Data is collected on a financial year basis, so I am unable to provide you with information for May 2012.

Questions 10 & 11: e-Gates

You asked for the total number of EEA arrivals at ports with e-Gates between 1 December 2011—30 April 2012. Passenger arrival statistics are published by Home Office statisticians as National Statistics each quarter on total number of passengers rather than on a port by port basis. The total number of Passenger arrivals is broken down into three broad nationality groupings: British nationals; Other EEA nationals; and Non-EEA nationals. A breakdown of total arrivals for British Nationals and Other EEA Nationals is dependent on the availability of International Passenger Survey data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The table below sets out the published information taken from Immigration Statistics January—March 2012 and covers the most recent quarterly data up to March 2012.

Table ad.01.q:

PASSENGER ARRIVALS INCLUDING EEA AND SWISS NATIONALS

Number of journeys

2011 Q2

2011 Q3

2011 Q4

2012 Q1

Total (millions)

28.6

34.0

23.0

20.6

Non-EEA Nationals

3.8

4.2

2.7

2.4

EEA Nationals of which:

24.7

29.9

20.3

18.2

- British Citizens

17.0

21.3

13.3

-

- Other EEA and Swiss Nationals

7.7

8.6

7.0

-

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics January—March 2012.

This is only available at a national level and not by individual port. We expect the breakdown for the three broad nationality groupings up to Q1 2012 to be available in the next publication. The next publication of data will be 30th August 2012, albeit not in the format you have requested. When this information is made available I shall provide it to you.

The information that you requested about the eligible passengers using e-Gates is attached at Annex A.2 The tables set out the number of people who used the e-Gates and the number of referrals broken down by those ports where e-Gates are present. Management information about the number of passengers who do not use e-Gates is collected at those ports which operate the gates and this information is also included in Annex A. This information is not centrally collated for all other ports and to do so to respond to question 10b would be very resource intensive and would require staff to be diverted from their existing duties to collect and cleanse the data.

For the period 1 December 2011 until 30 March 2012 our records indicate that the e-Gates were unavailable for 1.17% of their maximum potential availability.3

Question 12: Governance

Border Force is an operational command within the Home Office. At present Border Force has a senior management team and, as discussed at my appearance before the Committee on 22 May, I am seeking to introduce a Board structure and to put in place further independent oversight of the Border Force. I will write to you once all arrangements are in place.

Question 13: Customs Seizures

The Committee asked for a breakdown of the monthly seizure figures for the past year (31 May 2011 until 31 May 2012); The Home Office already publishes statistics on drug seizures on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/police-research/hosb1711/hosb1711-tabs?view=Binary

For ease of reference I attach the breakdown at Annex B. These show total Home Office seizures, which are broken down by police and UKBA (which includes Border Force for the periods covered in your letter); the border drug seizures are a sub-set of these published statistics. However from August this year, our plan it to start publishing our own set of seizure data (we are working towards publishing our own set of seizure data as agreed with Home Office Statisticians). We are also seeking to publish other seizure data.

Question 14: Drugs Data

The Committee asked for data on the amount of drugs estimated to be smuggled into the UK for the same time period (31 May 2011–31 May 2012). The Border Force automated management information systems were still being rolled-out in April 2011 and had not achieved national coverage. Consequently, reliable data on this is not available. I am therefore unable to provide you with sufficiently accurate data to be shared with the Committee at this stage.

As you know the Border Force is committed to maintaining border security. By deploying staff flexibly we are continuing to target drugs and illegal weapons while carrying out our immigration work as rigorously and efficiently as possible. We target all high and medium Class A routes as directed by available intelligence and national tasking and routinely risk test new connecting services. Class A drugs continue to be a priority and we target all high and medium Class A routes based on intelligence and we routinely risk test new connecting services.

Question 15: Queue Times

Please find below a breakdown (month by month) of queue times for both Non-EEA and EEA for the past year (31 May 2011 until 31 May 2012). I want to stress to the Committee that this is internal management information and sourced from operational management systems. I want to reiterate again that Border Force met its SLA last year for both UK/EEA and non EEA passengers as set out in our response to Question 9.

Month

Maximum queue time (Hrs:Mins)

June 2011

02:35

July 2011

02:55

August 2011

02:14

September 2011

02:50

October 2011

01:59

November 2011

01:55

December 2011

02:30

January 2012

01:58

February 2012

02:15

March 2012

02:53

April 2012

02:30

May 2012

02:18

The queues are measured every hour of the week that it is possible to do so. The measurement is taken by handing a card to waiting passengers in both the EEA and the Non-EEA queues. The time the card was given to the passenger is noted on the card. When the passenger arrives at the desk they hand the card to the IO who notes on the card the time they received it. The Border Force is working with BAA and others to consider how we measure queues and possible improvements to this process.

Question 16: Carrying Firearms During the Olympics

Foreign nationals coming to the UK for the Olympics will be allowed access to firearms in the two circumstances:

(i)Games competitors in shooting competitions whose firearms are covered by section 5 of the Firearms Act will not be able to carry their weapons but will have access to them once they are in secure Olympics practice facilities. Their weapons are being imported under secure transport arrangements controlled by Registered Firearms Dealers. Those whose weapons are covered by sections 1 or 2 will be able to bring their weapons with them as long as they have applied for and been given British Visitor Permits (BVP) issued by the Home Office Firearms Licensing section.

(ii)Armed Personal Protection Officers for VIPs may be allowed to carry firearms on the authority of the Home Secretary, who will take advice from the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. The Home Office will not publicise the details of any such authorities granted for the carriage of firearms for security reasons, whether granted in relation to the Olympics, or for any other visit to the UK.

Aside from the Olympics, there will also be instances where foreign nationals may carry or have access to firearms in the same way as outlined above—for example, sportsmen carrying hunting rifles for which they hold a BVP.

I hope that this information will be of use to you and the Committee.

Brian Moore,
Director General
Border Force

June 2012

Annex A:

E-GATE USE

Dec-11

Jan-12

Feb-12

Mar-12

Apr-12

Stansted Successful user

22,360

26,098

23,504

36,915

32,640

Stansted Referrals*

4,934

5,405

4,271

6,734

3,395

Stansted Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

130,670

139,810

136,122

151,764

Not available

Manchester T1 Successful users

27,532

30,147

30,786

38,473

36,209

Manchester T1 Referrals*

2,428

2,707

2,397

2,903

2,925

Manchester T1 Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

67,992

67,892

75,348

86,751

Not available

Manchester T2 Successful users

13,746

17,248

16,472

15,905

15,413

Manchester T2 Referrals*

1,180

1,296

1,283

1,153

1,299

Manchester T2 Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

69,595

73,178

67,956

75,891

Not available

Luton Successful users

3,081

2,392

494

828

2,092

Luton Referrals*

337

262

151

100

201

Luton Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

74,169

84,587

81,187

97,548

Not available

Gatwick North Successful users

55,336

52,226

57,163

61,796

73,513

Gatwick North Referrals*

3,824

2,774

2,339

3,219

2,741

Gatwick North Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

112,926

132,708

128,226

166,051

Not available

Gatwick South Successful users

54,519

48,215

56,276

65,255

70,144

Gatwick South Referrals*

4,611

4,415

3,994

3,941

3,825

Gatwick South Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

110,729

138,912

121,362

144,315

Not available

East Midlands Airport Successful users

8,699

10,247

10,850

15,358

22,842

East Midlands Airport Referrals*

319

389

343

409

900

East Midlands Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

22,149

21,166

23,198

28,626

Not available

Cardiff Successful users

1,770

1,906

2,049

2,141

3,160

Cardiff Referrals*

66

71

91

177

215

Cardiff Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

4,419

4,403

5,982

9,138

Not available

Bristol Successful users

5,115

8,073

13,741

11,272

12,844

Bristol Referrals*

156

268

395

271

326

Bristol Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

39,684

42,992

41,205

53,865

Not available

Birmingham Successful users

14,977

18,842

20,906

27,036

33,654

Birmingham Referrals*

524

620

770

822

1411

Birmingham Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

50,116

53,145

51,824

60,368

Not available

Heathrow T1 Successful users

33,870

42,299

37,736

43,814

44,618

Heathrow T1 Referrals*

9,256

12,132

11,011

11,850

9847

Heathrow T1 Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

56,047

59,578

55,500

64,008

Not available

Heathrow T3 Successful users

49,039

60,024

63,998

72,099

74,689

Heathrow T3 Referrals*

6,959

8,735

8,439

8,135

5433

Heathrow T3 Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

128,346

132,138

115,725

138,442

Not available

Heathrow T4 Successful user

34,403

37,613

39,508

41,428

46,550

Heathrow T4 Referrals*

7,687

7,130

7,471

6,473

3966

Heathrow T4 Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

67,143

70,936

64,031

73,082

Not available

Heathrow T5 Successful users

63,105

66,905

71,548

89,556

89,900

Heathrow T5 Referrals*

12,060

14,430

15,150

10,868

7482

Heathrow T5 Eligible passengers who did not use the gate

117,305

115,181

112,097

128,003

Not available

* There can be several reasons why passengers can be referred from e-Gates to a Border Force officer including that they fail the facial recognition stage of the process; their travel document fails to pass the document examination stage; or that they require subsequent checks by Border Force.

Annex B

1 The above data is sourced from operational management systems and is not fully assured under National Statistics protocols. Figures provided from internal management information do not constitute part of National Statistics and should be treated as provisional.

2 The attached data is sourced from operational management systems and is not fully assured under National Statistics protocols. Figures provided from internal management information do not constitute part of National Statistics and should be treated as provisional.

3 The above data is sourced from operational management systems and is not fully assured under National Statistics protocols. Figures provided from internal management information do not constitute part of National Statistics and should be treated as provisional.

Prepared 20th July 2012