e-border only for ‘air and sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland’

Slugger’s Pete Baker brings us important news on the e-borders scheme. Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman Owen Paterson has pinned down a key detail that was glossed over when the e-borders team responded to my Freedom of Information request earlier this month:

Photo of Owen Paterson                Owen Paterson
(North Shropshire, Conservative) | Hansard source

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the implications are of an e-borders system circumscribing Great Britain
for travel between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland; and what
documents will be required under the proposed e-border system for
travel between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Photo of Liam Byrne                Liam Byrne
(Minister of State, Home Office) | Hansard source

The police service already screens passengers
travelling between Northern Ireland and the mainland and there are no
plans to introduce passport controls for those travelling on domestic

Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act
2006 introduced a new power that will allow the police to capture
passenger, crew and service information on air and sea journeys within
the United Kingdom.
The intention is that the power will be brought into force by secondary
legislation in 2008. The specific police requirements under this power,
which will include details of the routes affected and data required,
are still under discussion within Government. Once the proposals have
been finalised they will be subject to a 12-week public consultation.

It is expected that this police power will only apply to air and sea routes between Great Britain
and Northern Ireland. Passengers will not be required to use passports,
but may be required to produce one of several types of documentation,
including passports, when travelling, to enable the carrier to the meet
the requirements of a police request. (Via TheyWorkForYou.com)







2 responses to “e-border only for ‘air and sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland’”

  1. WorldbyStorm avatar

    How Tom does this work between the RoI and the North? Or indeed the RoI and Britain?

  2. Tom Griffin avatar

    Hi WBS,
    I’ve set out the relevant part of the FOI response below. It sounds to me as if there will effectively be passport controls between Britain and Ireland but not North and South, unless those regular intelligence-led operations turn out to be very frequent indeed:
    Passenger, service and crew information on all air and sea routes to and from the UK will be checked against watchlists, enabling us to risk assess individuals in advance of travel. In the case of British and Irish passengers travelling between the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain by air and sea, passenger information will be required to conduct customs and policing checks but not immigration checks. e-borders data will not be collected on land travel between the Republic and Northern Ireland. Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 introduced a new police power to capture passenger information on domestic air and sea journeys. Paragraph 8B below provides further information about this power.
    In each instance, what specific items of information will be collected about travellers, what forms of identification will be acceptable, and what biographical, biometric and physical checks will be made? What is the rationale for the given level of security in each case?
    Passenger, crew and service data (both passport data (Advanced Passenger Information- API) and booking data(Passenger Names Records- PNR) will be collected on those travelling from the Republic of Ireland to the UK by air and sea. The planned data fields are listed at Annex A. Although it is not currently mandatory to carry passports/national ID cards for travel within the CTA (Common Travel Area), for their own purposes the air and sea carriers require evidence of identity, which is normally photographic ID. It is not yet clear how passport data will be collected by HMG on CTA routes. It is possible that passports will need to be carried by CTA nationals in future to provide information to e-borders. Analysis suggests that passports are already carried by most passengers as tokens of identity on CTA routes. Differing levels of scrutiny are necessary for passengers travelling to and within the UK.
    What arrangements will be applied to travellers entering the Republic of Ireland, who may travel on to the United Kingdom via the land border or otherwise?
    There are no fixed controls on either side of the land border and we have no intention of introducing such controls in the future. The Border and Immigration Agency, UK police and the Garda National Immigration Bureau work collaboratively and run regular intelligence-led operations to counter potential risks to all intra-CTA borders. These joint operations have successfully detected non-CTA nationals attempting to cross the border illegally in both directions. As set out in the ‘Securing the UK Border’ strategy, March 2007, the Border and Immigration Agency are looking at ways to strengthen the CTA including examining whether such activity can be intensified.

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