UK Border Force criticised after lorries heading to Dover 'not checked for illegal immigrants' at Calais
Lorries in Calais have not been checked for illegal immigrants before traveling to Dover, according to a damning report on the UK Border Force.
An influential group of MPs claims it is failing to properly protect national security and has failed to meet eight of 19 performance targets.
The Public Accounts Committee says poor planning and outdated IT systems mean freight has also gone unchecked for illicit goods.
It said the body tasked with securing Britain's air, sea and rail ports focused on carrying out checks on every single passenger coming into Britain - while illegal immigrants were able to sneak through.
Committee chairwoman Margaret Hodge said: "The Border Force prioritised passenger checks on arrival at the expense of other duties and weakened the security of our borders.
"The force neglected to examine freight for illicit goods, neglected to check lorries in Calais for concealed illegal entrants, and failed to check passengers coming into Britain on private planes or boats, potentially letting billionaire gangsters off the hook.
"The morale of staff is at rock bottom, threatening the prospect of achieving the increases in productivity and flexibility of workforce which the Border Force so sorely needs.
"Senior management must provide strong and stable leadership capable of providing a sense of purpose."
The Border Force is being criticised by a Commons committee
The PAC said Border Force needs to set out plans for how it will meet all of its obligations from now on.
Immigration minister Mark Harper insisted proper checks are carried out.
He added: "It will take time to transform Border Force and fix all the problems we inherited but I am confident that we are making the right changes.
"None of the issues raised in this report come as a surprise and they are already being actively addressed."
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