Abstracts, PublicNet: 15 September, 2016

In a new publication ‘The Border after Brexit’, the Adam Smith Institute in argues that the UK border needs to be secure so that we can trust who is coming in and decide whether they can be more open.

The authors claim that The Border Force seems to be in a state of complete disarray, missing potentially thousands of high-risk flights and making no record of having done so; queuing times at major airports are consistently below target during busy months; and the systems the Force is reliant on are riddled with errors and badly out of date – the anti-terror Warning Index is fourteen years past its use-by date.

The reason for this seems to be that, after the failure of one giant IT project to fix these problems, nobody in Whitehall wants to take responsibility for bringing the Force up to date. We believe that the problems with the initial IT project were that the Home Office tried to build the e-Borders system in-house – a little bit like them trying to design a new iPad from scratch instead of just buying them from Apple.

The paper argues that a technological solution, based on biometric scanning that is becoming the standard globally, is desirable, but the state should not try to make it itself. Instead, the state should let the private sector devise a solution, and pay it for successful results, not for inputs.

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