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UK Border Agency Strategy

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

I am today publishing a new strategy entitled “Protecting our Border, Protecting the Public”. Copies will be available in the Vote Office and in the Libraries of both Houses.

Since its creation in 2008, the UK Border Agency has become one of the UK’s largest law enforcement bodies, operating across the UK and in 135 countries overseas. It stands at the forefront of efforts to protect the United Kingdom from overseas threats posed by dangerous people, goods and materials, while at the same time enforcing our immigration rules and facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and trade on which our economy depends.

This document both clarifies the extent of our law enforcement activities and sets out our vision as to how, over the next five years, we will develop our capability to protect the public from the harm caused by illegal immigration and smuggling. It also sets out how the agency will support the work of its criminal justice partners in tackling non-immigration crime committed by foreign nationals in the UK.

In support of the wider Government priority of tackling organised crime, the document identifies tackling organised immigration and smuggling crime as a key priority for the agency, with particular focus on the detection of class A drugs at the border and the targeting of groups that facilitate illegal entry or stay in the UK. The underlying themes of the strategy include encouraging compliance with our immigration rules, the benefits of disrupting criminal activity before it reaches our shores and greater targeting of the assets of criminal groups.

Tackling border and immigration crime and protecting the public is a responsibility that the UK Border Agency shares with law enforcement partners, such as the police and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency. The UK Border Agency has much to contribute, for example through the e-Borders programme; but success will be multi-agency. We already have strong partnership arrangements; our regional immigration crime teams for example, are comprised of both border agency and seconded police officers. We also have local immigration teams across the country that work alongside the police, HM Revenue and Customs, local authorities and other local partners to ensure compliance with, and enforce, our immigration laws.

This strategy explains our relationship with the wider law enforcement community and sets out how we will work more closely together to deter, disrupt, detect and deal with crime, in order to make the UK a hostile environment for criminals and a safer place for the public.