30 October 2012

Mr Frank Field (Birkenhead, Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what purposes data collected from the e-Borders programme is currently being used.

Mr Harper : e-Borders data provides a comprehensive set of information on arriving, transiting or departing passengers and crew, which is matched against watch lists to identify known individuals of interest prior to travel. This has resulted in over 12,800 arrests in the UK since 2005 for crimes such as murder, rape and assault. There have been multiple seizures of large quantities of all classes of drugs, cigarettes and tobacco, as well as seizures of lost, stolen or forged passports; the identification of facilitators and the refusal of entry to the UK of immigration offenders.

In addition, e-Borders provides a repository of information about the travel history of all persons arriving in and departing the UK on international journeys (where those journeys are covered by e-Borders). Travel history data is used to monitor compliance with immigration rules, and to support criminal investigations. Data can be searched for particular travel-related behaviours which indicate potential criminal or terrorist behaviour. This assists in identifying individuals of possible interest who may not be known already to the law enforcement agencies as well as identifying networks of terrorists or crime groups.

e-Borders data is also used to close non-asylum migrant cases as part of the Voluntary Departures Programme and to identify voluntary departures of Failed Asylum Seekers (FAS). In addition, we are working with the Office of National Statistics to assess how e-Borders data could support improvements in migration and population statistics.