UK politician proposes new biometric entry and exit system to prevent threats from EU
The limited data UK’s Border Force has on people travelling to the UK from the European Union with a biometric passport prior to their arrival represents a grave terrorist risk for the country, according to an editorial by Home Secretary Priti Patel in The Telegraph. To address this risk, the incumbent Conservative Party candidate has announced the party’s policy proposal to put its own biometric entry and exit scheme into place.
Patel composed the editorial on the heels of a terrorist attack committed by an individual who did not come directly from the continent, but rather from the UK justice system.
The European Union’s requirement that EEA ID cards, which are easy to forge and can be purchased in Albania, be accepted at borders is a security threat, Patel writes. Further, EU rules do not grant member countries the ability to automatically block people convicted of a criminal offense. The Home Secretary claims that a proposed requirement for EU citizens to acquire an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will improve the UK’s ability to identify those who pose a threat, and block their entry. The UK’s Office for National Statistics, however, has declared its collection of immigration statistics “experimental,” which Patel says means it does not know how many people are in the country or who they are.
“We are going to end this farce and introduce automated and accurate entrance and exit checks with all visitors required to have biometric passports,” Patel writes. “We will know how many people are in the country and who is overstaying their visa. We will be able to count in and count out.”
In the future, biometric data would also be included in all ETAs to provide an additional layer of security, though details are not provided. The new system will use a points system Patel compares to Australia’s.
The inclusion of biometrics with entry requirements would also enable the UK to compare them against forensic evidence from crime scenes, inews.co.uk reports.
The policy proposal also includes a new system of pre-arrival data for good to reduce smuggling. The BBC reports shadow home secretary Diane Abbott says Conservative claims that the border will be strengthened are “groundless,” as the country will lose access to EU databases with critical information about certain travellers.
The EU set the specifications for its biometric Entry/Exit System (EES) in March.