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500,000 people entered UK without border checks in last five years

London , Tue, 21 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 21 (ANI): Over 500,000 people were allowed to enter Britain without adequate checks in the last five years, an official investigation has revealed.


John Vine, the independent inspector of the UK Border Agency, found that immigration staff at times acted potentially illegally by relaxing the supervision of travellers entering this country at least 15,000 times during 2007 to 2011.


Vine said that ministers, senior officials and border staff must all share the blame for potential security breaches.


"There is a whole range of culpability. Overall, I found poor communication, poor managerial oversight and a lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities," he told The BBC.


According to The Telegraph, Vine's report ahs left the UK Home Secretary Theresa May facing fresh questions about her grip on border security and the Coalition's failure to get a grip on problems she claimed had began under Labour.


Labour accused her of "hiding from her responsibilities" by blaming her staff after figures showed the number of times that restrictions were relaxed increased significantly after the Coalition came to power in May 2010.


According to the paper, May responded to the report by announcing that the UK Border Force would be split off from the UK Border Agency and made directly accountable to ministers.There is no getting away from the fact that UKBA, of which the Border Force is part, has been a troubled organisation since it was founded in 2008," the paper quoted her, as saying.


She also told MPs that the problems began under Labour, but Vine's report suggested that relaxations of border checks have been more frequent and widespread under the Coalition.


Vine also said that he had been "surprised" at the extent of the relaxations in checks his investigation had uncovered, which included some directly ordered by May and other ministers.


According to Vine's 84-page report, the biggest relaxation began in June 2007 and meant that European passport holders on Eurostar services from Disneyland Paris and other French resorts were not checked against a warning index.


Vine found Coalition ministers were unaware of the situation until November 2011, when the checks were reinstated. Around 500,000 people had entered the UK during that time. (ANI)


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