The independent chief inspector of borders and immigration has called for a new IT system to be procured after he found that the current e-borders system is inadequately operating on technology build in a 2004 pilot.
John Vine’s comments come after releasing his damning report into the e-borders programme, which found that hundreds of thousands of customs records have been deleted from the system – equating to three quarters of all data leads on potential drug and tobacco smuggling cases.
“What we need to do is re-evaluate this project, we need to set new targets,” Vine said in a video on the Independent’s website.
“We need to procure new IT to enable border force to be more efficient and more effective in entering the country in the first place, but certainly stopping them at ports and dealing with them for the offences revealed.”
E-borders was hoped to enable the government to track almost all non-European Union nationals arriving in the UK and check passengers against security watch lists.
The government is currently locked into a binding arbitration process with Raytheon, which was contracted to develop upon IBM’s original 2004 pilot, after the Home Office cancelled the £750 million deal in 2010.
Up until being removed from the e-borders contract, Raytheon had been paid £188 million out of its £742 million contract.
The report states: “The e-border programme has yet to deliver many of the anticipated benefits originally set out in 2007.
“The Home Office should now define clearly what the aims of the e-borders programme are ahead of the new procurement exercise, and be transparent about what e-borders will deliver and by when.”