UK Borders too busy for fingerprinting: Immigration minister

August 9, 2013 - 

Responding to heavy criticisms by the UK’s chief inspector of borders and immigration, the minister in charge of immigration, Mark Harper, has said that border officials are too busy to fingerprint people trying to enter the UK illegally.

Reported in the Daily Mail, one of Vine’s key criticisms was that border staff do not take fingerprints from all those caught trying to enter Britain from France.

‘It would be useful but equally it consumes a large amount of time for our officers to do that when they could be using that time to carry out other tasks to secure the border and it’s a balance, and the decision that was taken in 2010 was to work very closely with our French colleagues for them to process people trying to enter the United Kingdom illegally,’ Harper said on BBC Radio.

‘But as I’ve said we’ve accepted that it would be appropriate to review our approach and that review will be completed by the end of the year.’

Much of the chief inspector’s report was blacked-out and redacted, and this too, has been controversial.

There are currently many active biometric projects and objectives in Europe and according to a recent Steria survey, more than half of Europeans support biometric systems for ID documents or ePassports.

From the same survey: 81 percent of French citizens favour the application of biometrics for ID documents, compared to 74 percent of Danish respondents and 68 percent of the survey’s British respondents. Across Europe, 69 percent were also in favour of using biometrics as a form of access control for secure areas. In this case, the French respondents proved again to be the most supportive, with 77 percent, followed by the Danes at 75 percent and the Brits at 69 percent.

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj