Home Secretary orders independent review of Border Force

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a wide-ranging, independent review of Border Force to assess its structure, powers, funding and priorities to ensure it can keep pace with rapidly evolving threats and continue to protect the border, maintain security and prevent illegal migration.

Feb 18, 2022
By Tony Thompson

The review comes as statistics show the number of drug seizures made by Border Force for all drug types has increased – up 79 per cent from 2019 to 2020 – for the third year running.

In the year ending March 2021 in England and Wales, there were 223,106 drug seizures, up 21 per cent on the previous year (183,646). Border Force was responsible for 11 per cent of all seizures. This is being driven by driven by an increase in intelligence-led approaches to head-off drugs and the proceeds of drugs as they cross the UK border.

The review will be carried out by Alexander Downer who previously served as Australian High Commissioner to the UK and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs. He is currently executive chair at the International School for Government, King’s College London.

The first of its kind since Border Force was set up, the review is expected to take several months to complete. It will ensure the Government is prepared for future challenges at the border, by identifying change and improvements needed across Border Force’s work on illegal migration, customs and national security to help keep the UK safe, secure and prosperous.

Ms Patel said: “Border Force officers work tirelessly to protect our borders at 140 sea and airports right across the UK. Since Border Force was set up in 2011, its remit has grown to meet the changing border threats we face, and in recent years has supported delivery of the Government’s Brexit commitments and Covid-19 measures.

“The public rightly expects this work to be carried out to the highest possible standard, which is why I have ordered this review of Border Force to identify ways in which it can keep improving its operations. I have appointed Alexander Downer to do this vital work and look forward to his findings and recommendations.”

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