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back to article UK Border Force chief walks in passport checks row

Pressure mounted on Theresa May this morning after the UK Border Force chief Brodie Clark left the agency, claiming the Home Secretary was wrong to claim that he had relaxed passport checks without ministerial consent. The row, ignited over the weekend, led to urgent questions being asked in the House of Commons on Monday and a …

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Silver badge

Well...

If there were 'regular queues over 3 hours (non-EU) at Heathrow' then *someone* needs to resign/be sacked!

I think 15 minutes max should be the target with cash payments (£1/minute) for anyone delayed beyond that.

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‘First Division’ Association

surely that should be the Diadora League? - are keen to emphasise how much Brodie is suffering as a result of all this publicity. Well, if he can’t take a little bit of heat, he’s clearly unfit for such a high profile position. No doubt he will be handing back his 6-figure salary and pension.

What’s that I hear - no, he won’t? He's going to keep all his benefits and join the boards of several firms in the biometrics industry? Well, I never!

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder if he will emigrate

He might need his biometric passport.

If not here, at least overseas.

<< I'm not Anonymous. That is in fact a photo of me. Honest it is, officer. My name is Guy Fawkes.

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"A pilot, sanctioned by May, commenced in July to target what she described as "high-risk passengers" entering UK ports."

I could be wrong, but that statement sounds an awful lot like it authorises profiling. I thought it had been decided that profiling was racist (by the modern definition) and therefore not acceptable?

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WTF?

in place since 2008/09...

So, have the border controls been rubbish since 2008/09? That would put it right back in the Gordon Brown era. No surprises there, then.

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FAIL

May is a a serial incompetent and needs to go

She was a complete wash out at the recent exhibitions of displeasure, described by Cameron as 'riots', where the Plod failed to react and now she is blaming staff for things she should take ministerial responsibility for.

Heathrow is one of the worlds most mismanaged airports, a total disgrace as a 'gateway' to Britain, and one of the bright spots was, in my experience, immigration. The only thing that functioned. If the UK wants to operate the 'brain dead' model they only have to look at the U.S. immigration model.

Far better that individual immigration officers exercise discretion such as with the under 5's and the elderly. I have three passports and using two of them subjects me to the full immigration treatment. The third passport is a UK issue. I find British immigration polite and efficient.

So out with May and put a bright spark in her seat.

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FAIL

Someone's lying

There should be a clear paper trail of instructions from the Home Secretary all the way down to Bob the passport guy. This would clearly pinpoint who made the call (and maybe why) and firings could follow.

If the paper trail doesn't exist, then firings can start even earlier! Whoever failed to clearly instruct their subordinates is obviously not fit for role. And if this was a case of government policy by soundbite, then it's the Home Sec who should leave.

Also, "these policies have been around since 2008/2009"?! Does that mean various nutbags have been getting in unhindered for years?

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I can't speak for anybody else...

...but in spite of living quite close to both a major airport and a ferry terminal I haven't been blown up by a terrorist (from outside the EC) more often than usual, offered a trafficked underage prostitute or personal slave (from outside the EC) more oten than usual, or had a shanty-town full of illegal immigrants spring up on my doorstep more often than usual recently.

What was that about Security Theatre again...?

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Anonymous Coward

Silly

The daft thing is, through her complete ignorance of employment law, Theresa May has effectively gifted him a constructive dismissal claim.

By publicly saying it was all his fault while he was on suspension, she prejudiced any investigation into him, and she did so in the full knowledge that, as a Civil Servant, he could not criticise her publicly.

She has made it irrelevent whether he was right or wrong, and has done so through her own stupidity.

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Stop

Why are we paying?

The original story says that BAA and the airlines were complaining about the queues at immigration. The implication is there are queues because there are insufficient passport officers, and the head-count can't be increased because of public spending constraints.

I should have thought there is a simple answer that will eliminate the queues at no cost to the taxpayer. Tell BAA and the airlines to pay for passport checks. They can then have as many immigration officers as they want.

Since the transport business makes money from dumping large numbers of travellers at entry ports, why should the taxpayer cover the cost of screening out the undesirables?

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Paris Hilton

Hold on a minute...

So if he didn't implement or authorise the changes and May didn't authorise or implement 'em, who did?

Paris because she's as clueless as those two.

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FAIL

Apparently he admitted to his (civil service) boss that "he exceeded his authority". In a minuted meeting.

I think that is a fairly epic way to fail.

You can imagine why he is trying to fight that now.

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Big Brother

With all this talk of biometric passports

How do I as an ordinary citizen verify that the biometric details on a new passport really are mine?

Big Brother - because there is no Kafka icon.

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Anonymous Coward

Buy a cheap(ish) RFID dongle, download some free software and read them?

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Mushroom

If it is a new RFiD passport, cheaper than buying an RFID reader as suggested above, simply give it 20seconds on high in your microwave. Then you can be reasonably sure that it does not have the details of someone else on the chip.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so simple

Anonymous for obvious reasons, this story is not so simple as it seems. Deals are being made all the time to let some through and some not. Has been going on as long as there have been controls. Difference now is that the media got wind of this situation and are blowing it all out of proportion.

Many countries are not happy to have their 'sports' officials biometric data on our systems for example and in return refuse ours to access their unless we lift it for them.

If anyone has to go it is TM in my opinion. Absolutely useless that woman.

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3 hours?? Come on!

"This summer saw queues of over three hours (non-EU) on a regular basis at Heathrow"

That reminds me of Moscow in the USSR days.

This cannot be good for the UK, it cannot be good for the UK Economy full stop.

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Easy

Go to your nearest Identity and Passport Service regional office and use the public bio reader.

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Passports/Applicationinformation/DG_174159

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Anonymous Coward

How hard can it be

link ends up at http://www.direct.gov.uk/error/404.html

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Silver badge

Hmmmm ...

... in principle this was the right thing to do: stop treating everyone that comes into the country as a criminal, and concentrate on the iffy ones. This makes sense. Remember that this did not apply to people with EU (including British) passports - they/we were dealt with in the frustrating, but relatively quick* channels. However long you think you have had to wait, the folks with a non-EU passport would rejoice if they were dealt with so promptly. It would be easy for a three hour queue to build for those people. They are treated more like cattle than even we those with EU passports are - separate queues, dealt with after all the "domestics" have cleared, and so on. By any definition of reasonable, it is quite right that someone issued an instruction to use discretion. It is not only humane, but it is efficient.

So, in typical British style, instead of two people saying "Yes, we did the right thing", and then arguing about who should get the credit, we get these utter wastes of oxygen playing the blame-game. In the case of May, I suppose it isn't surprising - another female Home Secretary determined to prove that she can be even more incompetent than a male** - but Brodie should have done a better job of defending this very sensible policy. That way, he might have gained some sympathy from some of the public.

* OK, it is still too slow, but bear with me.

** Yes, politically incorrect, but true nonetheless - go on prove me wrong if you can!

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Easy

"How do I as an ordinary citizen verify that the biometric details on a new passport really are mine?

Big Brother - because there is no Kafka icon"

Answer: Use the E-Passport Readers at Manchester or Heathrow Airports when you enter the UK.

Unless you've had a Steve Austin Bionic Eye Transplant or a face transplant with Mr. Blobby, you can be prettty sure it's you. Assuming it opens the magic gate and lets you into the UK :-))

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