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UK opens high-tech hub to screen air passengers

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 18:14

London: A new hi-tech `border targeting
centre` that will electronically check passenger data before
passengers arrive at British airports from India and elsewhere
has been opened in Manchester.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson last week unveiled the
National Border Targeting Centre (NBTC) which will replace the
smaller joint border operations units at Heathrow as the
operational hub.

Termed as Britain`s `latest weapon in the fight
against terrorists, known criminals and would-be illegal
migrants` the centre is a hi-tech hub where watch-list checks
on passengers entering and leaving Britain will be carried
Immigration officers will work with the Serious
Organised Crime Agency and the police to share intelligence
and issue alerts where a suspect is identified by the
electronic border checks.

It is expected that the new centre will enable the UK
Border Agency to meet its target of screening 100 per cent of
passenger movements in and out of the UK by air, sea or rail
by 2014.

Johnson said: "Thanks to our hi-tech e-Borders system
the UK now has one of the strongest borders in the world. It
means we can count people in and out of the UK and capture
known criminals, terror suspects and illegal migrants while
gathering evidence against smugglers and people traffickers."

"Already e-Borders has had a huge impact, helping us
catch more than 5,400 criminals including rapists and
murderers. This new centre will up the ante, increasing the
amount of data we can screen, so we can track all passenger
movements in and out of the UK by 2014," Johnson added.

More than 100 million passenger movements in and out
of the UK were checked against UK Border Agency and police
watch-lists last year.
The checks alerted the police about wanted UK and
foreign nationals flying into British airports, allowing
arrests to be made as soon as the individual landed or for
them to be returned on the next flight.

The national border targeting centre receives
information on passengers and crew and, over time, will check
an estimated 250 million passenger movements per year.

It will also process visa application data for
overseas posts by checking the applicant and sponsor details
against watch-lists.


First Published: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 18:14
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