Home Office boasts of its border control technology

Cutting edge technology will allow the UK Border Agency to track almost all non-European Union nationals arriving in the UK by 2010, the Home Office has claimed.

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Cutting edge technology will allow the Border Agency to track almost all non-European Union nationals arriving in the UK by 2010, the Home Office has claimed.

New systems will also count and check every passenger against security watch-lists by 2014.

The systems for the e-Borders programme are projected to cost £650 million and are being delivered by the Trusted Borders consortium - led by Raytheon and including Accenture, Detica, Serco, QinetiQ, Steria, Capgemini and DAON.

The Home Office said the new systems have screened 50 million travellers entering the country since the programme’s introduction in November last year. Some 2,000 were arrested and some of these have subsequently been convicted of crimes including murder, drug trafficking and sex offences.

The programme remains controversial, in part because of its heavy reliance on extensive databases of citizen information, and its interaction with the £4.7 billion ID cards scheme, which the Conservative Party have already threatened to axe, if it forms the next government.

In June, the government came under heavy fire from MPs for its insistence on creating more large databases, and was urged to prove their worth before embarking on more projects.

New automated e-border gate technology will be trialled at Manchester Airport this month, with the aim of tightening security and also improving the speed of checks.

Facial recognition gates will compare the faces of passengers from the UK and European Economic Area to their biometric passports. A new 250-strong hi-tech centre for border monitoring will also be based in Manchester.

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