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Refugees have been admitted to UK ‘without proper checks’ as Border Force is 'too overwhelmed’, terror watchdog says

18 April 2024, 21:26 | Updated: 19 April 2024, 01:18

Terror watchdog's Jonathan Hall KC admits some refugees have been let into UK 'without full' checks.

By Jenny Medlicott

Refugees have been admitted to the UK without the proper checks because Border Force was ‘too overwhelmed’, the UK’s terror watchdog has told LBC.

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Jonathan Hall KC, who is the UK’s independent reviewer of terror legislation, said that he will recommend live facial recognition is introduced at Western Jet Foil in a report he’s due to publish in the upcoming weeks.

Western Jet Foil is a short-term holding facility for refugees who are picked up from rescue boats in Dover.

Mr Hall said AI facial recognition would be used to check the faces of refugees who have junked their passports against a database of suspicious people and potential terrorists.

Asked why this tech hasn’t been used in the UK previously, Mr Hall said that it’s because the border has been ‘overwhelmed’ on an unprecedented level.

He said: “Well, my impression was that it was a really, really complex evolving situation. They just did not anticipate the surges of people who came.

“So it was just too many, it was overwhelmed. They were overwhelmed.”

Read more: UK’s terror watchdog hits out at WhatsApp over lowering of age limit as he says more kids are being radicalised online

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's husband Peter Murrell charged in connection with embezzlement of funds from SNP

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent.
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent. Picture: Alamy

Mr Hall also admitted that previously the system has been so overwhelmed refugees were released without being properly checked.

He continued: “At one stage they were so overwhelmed that people had to be released before all the checks had been done at one stage. They released people without checking them.”

Last month, provisional Home Office figures showed that 338 people arrived in seven boats on Tuesday, taking the total for the year to date to 4,644.

This exceeds the previous record-high figure of 4,548 for January to March 2022 and has already surpassed the 3,793 arrivals in the first quarter of last year.

The number of crossings recorded so far this year is 23% higher than the total at this point in 2023 (3,770) and 12% higher than the same time in 2022 (4,162), analysis of government data shows.

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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