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Security at the UK’s borders: Southampton professor contributes to national policy debate

Published: 
19 March 2009

Frank Gregory, Professor of European Security at the University of Southampton, will present a high-profile policy brief on security issues at the UK’s borders at a symposium organised by one of the UK’s most influential think tanks tomorrow (Friday 20 March).

Professor Gregory will discuss the effectiveness of border controls, in particular at ports and airports, in relation to issues such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and counter terrorism. He also evaluates aspects of the in-country controls applied to these issues.

The symposium is organised by the Institute of Public Policy Research (ippr) and forms part of the ippr’s independent all-party Commission on National Security in the 21st Century.

Professor Gregory’s policy brief concludes that the UK National Security Strategy, UK border security strategy and establishment of the UK Border Agency indicate governmental awareness of the need for a much more integrated form of risk and threat management system at both traditional and overseas ‘borders’. Although his report says it is too early to assess the ‘value added’ contribution of these changes, Professor Gregory highlights the issues that need further consideration from policymakers.

These include the enhancement of data collection and data management systems relating to all aspects of people movements; ensuring that the eventual outcomes of the discussions about the nature and scope of the police presence at the borders in the context of the integration of other services, represented by the UK Border Agency, do provide for a genuine capability enhancement in policing terms; and provision of more appropriate performance indicators backed up by comprehensive and robust data collection systems for a better understanding of the risk management/harm reduction work of the border agencies with respect to counter-terrorism and the disruption of cross-border organised crime (with particular emphasis on the drug trafficking problem).

Professor Gregory’s brief, entitled UK Border Security: Issues, systems and recent reforms, is being used by the Commission on National Security in the 21st Century as part of an ongoing assessment of Britain’s security and how policy in this area should be shaped over the next decade and beyond. It will publish its final report in June 2009.

Professor Frank Gregory presents his findings on Friday 20 March at the Royal Society for the Arts in London.

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