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UK Border Force

Volume 553: debated on Monday 19 November 2012

The morale and professionalism of the staff in the Border Force is obviously vital to the defence of our border security. They performed very well during the Olympic and Paralympic games, and I think that the country was very proud of that. The Home Office has just conducted its annual staff survey, and we will use the results to work with our staff to continue to improve the performance of the Border Force.

The number of cases in which people have been refused the right to remain in the UK but the UK Border Agency does not know whether they have left has shot up by 8% in the last quarter. Is the Minister overseeing a new low in the UK Border Agency, and when will he get to grips with that increasing figure?

I think that the hon. Gentleman has got his UK Border Agency and his Border Force muddled up. His question was about the Border Force. I have to say, on the basis of my limited time in this job and the visits that I have made to our border controls at Heathrow and Gatwick and the juxtaposed controls in Paris, that the staff whom I have met have been incredibly professional and very hard-working, and have delivered excellent border security. Long may they continue to do so.

Speaking as a member of the Home Affairs Committee, which has produced a number of reports on this subject, I wonder whether my hon. Friend agrees with me that, in fact, there has been a lot of progress with the Border Force and a great deal of improvement on the situation we inherited from the previous Government.

I do agree. I mentioned the Border Force’s performance during the Olympic and Paralympic games. There was some scepticism as to whether it would be able to continue that during the very busy September-October period for student arrivals, but I am pleased to say that it performed very well during that period; we did not see a resumption of queues at Heathrow, and it can be very proud of that level of performance.