Holding facilities too being improved
17th December 2009: Even as the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency said the civil penalty powers were not being fully used fully to deter illegal entry, its Chief Executive claimed they had issued over 12,000 penalty notices with a value of over £12 million since December 2002.
Chief Executive Lin Homer also claimed the Border Agency was improving the “holding facilities at Calais and speeding up the processing of people held there”.
Homer was responding on the Border Agency’s behalf to media coverage of comments made by Chief Inspector John Vine in his first annual report. He had commented on his disappointment that the civil penalty powers created by Parliament, as a powerful tool to deter illegal entry were not being fully used.
Lin Homer said: ‘I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has noted the hard work and commitment of staff in the UK Border Agency, and the difficult job they perform. Independent oversight of our work is vital to ensure continuous improvement.
‘We are improving the holding facilities at Calais and speeding up the processing of people held there.
`Drivers and hauliers are fined when they have not taken adequate steps to prevent illegals from smuggling themselves on to their vehicles. Since December 2002 we have issued over 12,000 penalty notices with a value of over £12 million.
`We actively pursue outstanding debt. Since April 2009 we have detained 86 vehicles in cases where fines have not been paid. Eighty three have been released following payment raising in excess of £250,000.
‘Nonetheless we will look at the Inspector’s comments and challenge ourselves as to whether we can do more in this area.’