Tories pledge automated entrance and exit checks under border security plans

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Automated entrance and exit checks to identify individuals who have overstayed their visa will be introduced by the Conservatives under measures to strengthen border security after Brexit.

People will be counted in and out of the country as part of the proposals which would also make biometric passports a requirement and see the introduction of an American-style visa waiver scheme.

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 – enabling the Home Office to link forensic evidence from crime scenes to foreign nationals who have entered the country.

Other measures outlined by the party include plans to stop EU criminals at the border and to stop the use of European ID cards.

The party would also introduce the collection of pre-arrival goods data to stop smuggling by mandating declarations for consignments from the EU, which would level-up with the rest of the world.

Home Secretary Priti Patel (Aaron Chown/PA)

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.”