UK border official: ePassports for children raises trafficking risk


Senior UK officials have said that ePassports and automated borders do not provide enough security to deal with children entering the country.

David Bolt, chief inspector of borders and immigrations, yesterday spoke to MPs at the Commons’ home affair select committee and questioned whether there is a significant number of Border Force police at ePassport gates.

“The issue is whether the e-gates are dealing sufficiently with those more vulnerable arrivals, particularly the safeguarding aspects around children and maybe victims of modern slavery, who might be going through those gates,” he said.

He also questioned: “Whether the level of coverage of those gates is sufficient to give assurance that those risks are being managed”.

Bolt’s comments follows Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s admission last month the Home Office did not have an estimate for the number of illegal migrants in the UK.

A Home Office scheme launched in March last year allows children aged 12 to 17 holding EU passports to use the ePassport gates.

Previous to this initiative, you had to be at least 18 to use these electronic gates.

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