Tory election promise to strengthen border security

2 December 2019, 07:45 | Updated: 2 December 2019, 09:12

The Conservatives have promised to strengthen the UK border
The Conservatives have promised to strengthen the UK border. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

People will be counted in and out of the country as part Conservative plans to strengthen the UK's borders post-Brexit, the party has announced.

Tory plans would also make biometric passports a requirement and see the introduction of an American-style visa waiver scheme.

Labour has said Tory claims to be strengthening the border are "groundless."

Pledging to improve border security the Conservatives have also said they would bring in automated entry and exit checks to identify individuals who have overstayed their visa.

The party hopes the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) would provide an enhanced ability to screen arrivals against watchlists and block those deemed to be a threat from entering the UK.

As the technology becomes available, the party hopes to mandate a biometrics requirement for all ETAs to provide another security layer - which would help police link foreign nationals to crime scenes in the UK.

The party have also said they would stop the use of European ID cards, which the Conservative Party says are "notoriously easy to fake" which is "exploited by criminals and terrorists."

Banning criminals form the EU is another key pledge of the party, which they say would not be possible until the UK has left the bloc.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "When people voted to leave in 2016, they were voting to take back control of our borders.

"After Brexit we will introduce an Australian-style points based immigration system and take steps to strengthen our border and improve the security of the UK.

"The consequence of EU law limiting our border capability is brought home to me every day. It is a sad fact that drugs and guns reach our streets from Europe, fuelling violence and addiction.

"People traffickers don't think twice about risking people's lives for profit. And most shockingly of all we know that terrorists have been able to enter the country by exploiting free movement.

"I am committed to doing everything we can to secure the border and protect the UK."

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: "Tory claims to be strengthening the border through their sell-out Brexit deal are groundless.

"By quitting the entire system of EU security and justice, we will no longer have real-time access to a host of critical databases or access to the European Arrest Warrant.

"This will undermine the ability of our police and border agencies to apprehend terrorists and organised criminals, and could even make us a safe haven for fugitives fleeing the justice systems in the EU."

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